Consultants not needed: Councillors
Saturday, 27th September, 2014
By Andrew Robertson
Councillors have voted down a plan to spend tens of thousands for a consultant to come up with a new major event idea for Broken Hill.
A report to Council said communities that hosted major events benefitted through an influx of visitors and increase in destination awareness.
It cited well-known events such as the Tamworth Country Music Festival and Deni Ute Muster, as well as Broken Hill’s sole major event the St Pat’s Races.
It recommended Council pay an events specialist up to $30,000 to “define a creative idea and business rationale”.
But a councillor told Wednesday’s ordinary meeting that Council’s recent track record with consultants was less than impressive.
Cr Peter Black said the film studio precinct project “has gone nowhere” and the For Real tourist campaign “has been a stunning failure”. Both initiatives had input from consultants.
Residents had every right to ask why Council has employed “so many consultants over so many years”, according to Cr Bob Algate.
“Surely some of these things can be done in-house and if they can’t be done in-house I think the community should be asking why they can’t be done in-house,” he said.
“Why do we have to outsource everything? There’s been hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars leave the town for purposes like this, often with no tangible result.”
But Mayor Wincen Cuy said sometimes the expertise and inspiration needed for a project didn’t exist in the city.
“The facts are if there was a brilliant idea out there about an event, where is it? Why haven’t we got it now?
“If we had all the answers we would have ten events running already (but) we don’t, we have one major one and it’s been there for nearly 50 years.”
Cr Christine Adams also supported the proposal but another suggested it was time Council helped grow existing events like the South’s fringe festival or Carols by Candlelight.
“We shouldn’t be looking outside the city; we should be putting our support as a council behind local events that do take place,” Cr Jim Richards said.
The report recommended the second stage of the proposal, which involved the production of the event, go ahead only if funding was able to be secured from government or other means.
Cr Darriea Turley said Council should support the proposal as long as it did not have to contribute any funding.
Councillors agreed to defer the matter so that other avenues to finance the plan could be identified.