Beef Australia 2021 was hailed as a huge success with record crowds, but organisers have been left with an estimated $800,000 financial loss.
- Despite being hailed as a huge success with a record turn-out, the organisers of Beef Australia 2021 experienced an estimated $800,000 in losses
- Beef Australia’s chair said that additional COVID requirements played a major role in the event suffering a loss
- Beef Australia is confident it will remain in a strong financial position moving into 2024
The debt was revealed in a letter to the Rockhampton Regional Council from Beef Australia treasurer Richard Brosnan who asked the council to waive an outstanding invoice for $71,273.66.
Beef Australia chair Bryce Camm blamed the losses for the three-year event cycle on COVID requirements.
“The financial result for Beef Australia was really a result of the extra planning and measures that we had to put in place to ensure that we delivered a COVID-safe event,” Mr Camm said.
Beef 2021 attracted more than 115,000 people over the seven-day event in May, which was a 15 per cent crowd increase from 2018.
Mr Camm said it wasn’t the first time the event had made a loss and Beef Australia remained in a strong financial position going forward.
“The event from time to time has made a loss. Over the last couple of events some solid returns were made by the event,” he said.
“Beef is a not-for-profit. It’s always pertinent that it has enough reserves that it will always get to the next event.
“But the organisation is in a very solid financial position headed into 2024.”
The council has not yet committed to waiving its bill but it pledged its support for the world-famous event.
“The matter was discussed during the closed council session where it was resolved that council will meet with the Beef Australia Board to discuss the request to waive the invoice for additional charges and council’s continued support for Beef Australia events,” the council said in a statement.
Mr Camm said $600,000 of Beef Australia’s losses were the result of an investment in infrastructure for future events.
“It’s also important to clarify in the financial position that was reported to council includes two bits of major infrastructure,” he said.
“So, Beef Australia paid for the new wash-down facilities that we built at the Rockhampton showgrounds that was to the tune of almost $300,000 worth of infrastructure.
“This year we also started the build on our own cattle-handling facilities in terms of the stalling to house all of those cattle in the sites that we had at Beef [Week], so another $300,000 worth of investment in the infrastructure around housing those cattle.”
‘A huge success for the beef industry’
In spite of the losses, Beef Australia events had significant economic benefits for Rockhampton and Queensland.
“It was to the tune of $96 million that the event returned for Rockhampton and $50-odd million for the State of Queensland,” Mr Camm said.
“Its mantra is to promote and celebrate and educate people around the Australian beef industry, both here domestically and globally, and it’s also a great showcase and celebration of the Capricorn and Greater Rockhampton region.”
Figures released earlier this year by Beef Australia estimated the event had a $94 million direct and incremental impact on the greater Rockhampton Region and $76.1 million value-added economic impacts for the state.
The federal government contributed $3.9 million towards the event, while the Queensland government committed $1 million.
However, Mr Camm said hosting an international event in a regional centre was still a costly exercise.