Competition for events funding likely to be fierce

The Central Coast Food & Wine Festival, in pre-COVID days

Business NSW Central Coast has welcomed the announcement of the State Government’s $200M Recovery Package for Regional NSW designed to support events, shows and festivals.

Regional Manager, Paula Martin, said the region was home to more than 1000 artists and performers who have seen their industry on its knees during pandemic lockdowns.

“It is vital we reinvigorate this industry to offer young aspiring performers and artists a careers pathway as well as provide our community with events to look forward to,” Martin said.

“As restrictions ease thanks to the collective efforts of our community to get vaccinated, we can now focus on investment strategies to bring structured events to the region including encouraging businesses to have their business events on the Central Coast.

“The Coast is in a prime position to be the most attractive destination for events, tourism experiences and festivals outside of Sydney.

“No other region offers the combination of beautiful waterways, beaches, bushland options and accessibility by road and rail the way the Central Coast does.

“We need to remember that regional competition is going to be fierce so getting on the front foot will be key.”

Martin said a focus on Gosford city and waterfront as part of the plan to attract large events was important.

“A thriving region has a vibrant city at its centre but the lockdowns have severely impacted our city and it needs a refresh,” she said.

“We have planned our city many times and we know what needs to be done.

“It’s time to get serious and accelerate investment into our city so we don’t fall behind and become an attractive investment option for business.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, Paul Toole, said the package would deliver long term support and certainty for businesses as the state reopens, tourism rebounds and investors eye new opportunities.

“The package includes $25M to help regional councils stage events such as festivals that help drive tourism and allow locals to reconnect,” he said.

“Immediate financial support will also be provided for country shows to be held in 2021-2022.

“Country shows have been disrupted by drought, bushfire, floods and COVID-19 and (a $5M investment) will help agricultural show societies come back bigger and better than ever, in the lead up to the 2022 Royal Easter Show.”

Toole said successful projects in round one of the Regional Job Creation Fund would be announced in coming weeks.

“This package has laid the foundations for a strong recovery for regional NSW and I look forward to making further funding announcements in the coming weeks.

The newly announced package includes: $30M for the Regional Job Creation Fund Round Two; a $50M Regional Events Package, including a $20M Regional Events Acceleration Fund Round Two, a $5M Country Shows support package and a $25M Reconnecting Regional NSW Community Events Package; and $40M for priority infrastructure projects.

Further announcements will be made with respect to the remaining $80M.

Terry Collins