Pictured: Some, but not all, of the industry heavyweights at the inaugural ACETA convention
The inaugural ACETA Convention in Wangaratta was described by one industry stalwart as “the best industry event I’ve attended worldwide, ever”. From Friday 4 May to Sunday 6 May, the most influential and prescient members of the commercial and entertainment technology sectors laid aside their competitive differences and enjoyed a packed programme of motivational, practical, and educational seminars. By unanimous vote, the Convention will run again, same time, same venue, in 2019.
Convention organisers Julie Hinton and Deborah Sloss, the ACETA Board, and President Frank Hinton should be immensely proud of what they achieved. Running a peak body is an essential but thankless task with little reward, but the transformative nature of this Convention on its participants is testament to the quality of the event.
The atmosphere was collegial and inspiring – like most small to medium businesses, we spend a lot of time working ‘in’ our business instead of ‘on’ our business, and the flow and location of the Convention took us out of all of that. As knowledge and experience was shared, the burden of the common challenges we all face was lifted a little. A common reaction was “I thought it was just me that had these issues, and that I was doing something wrong.”
The main takeaway from the Convention is that ACETA has tremendous power to address the problems that every sector of the industry faces, but needs you to put your hand in your pocket and become a member. It’s not enough to think that the Board and the current members have ‘got it covered’, and are ‘doing a great job’. They are, but the true power of ACETA to transform this industry will only come to be once every responsible production company, distributor, manufacturer, and service provider joins up.
Production companies – want to stop local councils from hiring Barry the Backyarder who undercuts you by 50% every year on Carols in the Park? Join ACETA and they’ll lobby local government to only hire ACETA accredited companies.
Distributors – sick of getting undercut by grey importers bringing in containers of cheap non-compliant product? Join ACETA and they’ll lobby federal government to stop containers at the wharf if they can’t produce compliance documentation. There’s already major institutional customers who preference ACETA members in their supply chain – you don’t want to be left out.
Want to protect this entire industry and your livelihood? Join ACETA. We are collectively one bad day away from a tragedy and the kind of government scrutiny and over-regulation that could ruin us all. If, god forbid, there’s a serious accident and we’re involved, investigators and government will treat us more favourably if we have standards and certification in place, and we can show that we are working towards making sure the entire industry is doing the right thing.
Only ACETA can get that done. If we don’t have a strong peak body with majority membership that is also enforcing standards, we could be shut down overnight. And look at the EU stage lighting situation right now – their strong peak bodies are fighting that ridiculous legislation with all of their power, and will win. What’s going to happen when some MP gets the same hare-brained idea here? Will you be supporting the peak body that stops it, or will you have sat idly by because ‘someone else will handle it’.