Council major events focus

A LOCAL tourism body has welcomed a Wellington Shire Council move towards having a major events team.

Council will undertake a business case study to employ staff to attract major events and support the existing events organiser, to see if it is viable to allocate funding in the 2013-14 budget.

Council already has a community assistance grant program which provides financial assistance for event organisers.

The program allocates $110,000 annually for community events which contribute to the community wellbeing but have little direct economic benefit, and to events which do have economic benefits for the region.

If it did decide to employ dedicated major events staff, council would need to allocate about $80,000 in its annual budget and consider providing a dedicated sponsorship budget outside the community assistance grant program.

Wellington Regional Tourism board member Ann Andrew said there were many economic and social benefits to having a co-ordinated approach to events from council.

“Somebody within the shire who’s responsible for events would be so valuable, whereas now various departments get involved and there’s just no co-ordination,” she said.

While events such as the Maffra Mardi Gras and Tarra Festival in Yarram only tended to attract local people, Cr Patrick McIvor said there needed to be a greater focus on attracting major events.

“With (the major events team) we are adding a new focus, which is not just on community wellbeing, it is attracting these special events and bringing people in from out of town,” he said.

“We need resourcing through this (program) to attract events and promote our region and facilities.”

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.