Up to $95,000 will be invested into far north coast events through the NSW government’s 2017 Flagship Event Fund, while funding to support the region’s ailing infrastructure has been promised ‘at a later stage.’
NSW minister for tourism and major events Adam Marshall and parliamentary secretary for northern NSW Ben Franklin (both National MPs) made the announcement Monday morning at the Poinciana Cafe in Mullumbimby, along with organisers of The Byron Spirit Festival.
The Echo asked Mr Marshall if there were plans to also include infrastructure funding for councils who struggle under the weight of high visitor numbers and a low ratepayer base.
He replied that he was aware of the issue that faces Byron Shire Council.
‘All regions face different tourism issues,’ he said, ‘and we are working on a package for this.
‘Some regions require improved auditoriums for example, whereas councils such as Byron Shire obviously need road infrastructure.’
The Byron Spirit Festival, Ballina Prawn Festival and Sample Food Festival will all benefit from the Flagship Event Fund, says the minister, as ‘part of our renewed commitment to boost regional economies through tourism and major events.’
He said the Byron Spirit Festival and Ballina Prawn Festival will receive an annual grant of $20,000 with the Sample Food Festival receiving triennial funding of $27,500.
‘These events join the Australian Longboard Surfing Festival in Kingscliff, which continues its triennial funding in 2017, as key flagship events for the region.
‘Events play a fundamental role in attracting new and returning visitors to our regional towns, bringing with them additional business to restaurants and cafes, local tourism operators, attractions and accommodation providers.’
Mr Franklin said the fund, which is managed by Destination NSW, provides grants to support marketing activities that drive overnight visitation to regional NSW.
‘The north coast has so much on offer. Events such as the Byron Spirit Festival, Ballina Prawn Festival and Sample Food Festival are a celebration of our community,’ Mr Franklin said.
‘I’m really excited that this funding will assist in promoting and growing these iconic events and benefit our tourism sector.
Disgusting that residents have to pay more rates to support Tourism which only benefits the few!!!
The State government needs to put money into the ailing infrastructure of Byron Shire.
Perhaps Byron Residents who’s cars have been damaged by bad roads should resort to a class action against the government .After all its our tax money they are spending in this irresponsible fashion.
This council is a disgrace. Any money at all should go to fixing roads. Even stand down all administrative jobs until there is money in the bank to do so. Or merge.
Destination NSW (NSW Governmebt )and Ben Franklin are to blame not Council. We need more community support to ensure that events come with funding for police, rangers, infrastructure.
I will be raising this at a upcoming meeting with Council. These events make Destination NSW look good in the short term.
Police are not attending local people because they are so stretched.
It does not matter how ethical the event it needs resources and consideration on the impact