Something Fishy about MCEC?
Is there something fishy going on at the Melbourne Exibition & Convention Centre regarding allocation of major event space?
It seems the MECC management (controlled by Victorian Minister for Major Events & Tourism, Louise Ashe) recently told one of its major long term clients, Australian Gifts & Homewares Association (AGHA) that after 2015 it was no longer going to continue with their long standing sharing of the event space with Reed Gift Fairs for the August Gift Fairs and that it was going to rent the entire space to Reed each year in the future.
The Reed Gift Fair and the Home and Giving fair together are the biggest trade event in Australa and contribute significantly to Victoria’s major events and tourism economy.
According to AGHA, MECC management are now saying “it has not made any decision in relation to the gift fairs after 2015, but both MCET and Reed are fighting against our reasonable request for access to documents that may shed light on their discussions. Our preliminary discovery application in the Supreme Court of Victoria against both MCET and Reed has been adjourned to consider legal argument and is not expected to resume until the end of July.”
GHA General Manager Omer Soker says” This is a non-partisan campaign focused on an issue of great importance to our members, the industry as a whole and the people of Victoria. If the MCEC believes that it is time to change the way that the gift fairs have operated for the last 15 years, then we are prepared to meet the challenge. An open, competitive and transparent bidding process will ensure that the best outcome for Victorian taxpayers will be achieved.
We are not asking for a handout – just a fair go.
The AGHA is confident we can win a fair and open competitive bid, even if we are up against a bigger, more powerful, multinational competitor. As a not-for-profit organisation, we can reinvest more revenues into the fair directly for the benefit of exhibitors and buyers, as well as the MCEC and the Victorian and national economy. ”
So why indeed would the Victorian minister want to crush a long standing association of small business wholesalers in favor of a foreign Company?