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Defying convention, BCEC reopens to boost state's economy

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From August, the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre will back hosting major events, subject to strict crowd control.

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Having closed in April, the BCEC was at one stage considered, along with the exhibition grounds and buildings near hospitals, a potential COVID-19 treatment facility.

But with Queensland so far managing COVID-19 better than other states, Treasurer Cameron Dick said BCEC would instead play a role in the state’s economic recovery.

“While the pandemic continues to accelerate globally, with more than 50,000 cases overnight in the US, and more than 9 trillion dollars forecast to be wiped off global economy this year, government remains resolutely focused on doing whatever we can to get Queenslanders back to work,” Dick said in a statement.

“The BCEC has 207 permanent staff, and up to 550 casual staff who are hired for events, so it’s really pleasing to know that over coming weeks and months, we’ll be seeing workers and visitors return to this job-generating venue.”

Dick said the BCEC had prepared a site-specific COVID Safe Plan approved by Queensland Health.

“The sheer size of the venue enables the physical distancing requirements that are currently required as part of the mitigation measures against COVID-19,” he said.

BCEC General Manager Bob O’Keeffe AM said there were already hundreds of bookings for events in the coming months.

The first event on the BCEC website is the Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium. Originally planned as a two-day event, the symposium split into a virtual one-day event in May and a physical event on September 10.

In 2018-19, the BCEC was estimated to have provided a $300 million boost to Queensland’s economy through 1158 events attended by 816,953 visitors.

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