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Rethinking Regional Events – The Role of Local Government in the Regional Events

Cr Gary Rush, Bathurst Regional Council

Local government plays a huge role in supporting events in regional Australia. But - think local government and think events? Maybe you picture a lack lustre civic scene and an impossibly complex policy manual teeming with rules? Not in Bathurst! Taking a lead role in the establishment and management of a number of significant signature events, Bathurst Regional Council is taking an innovative and entrepreneurial approach – and reaping the benefits.

  • Council has a dedicated Events Team of 5 full timeand 2 specialist contractorswho are contracted to design a yearlong calendar of events
  • This is supported by a budget allocation to ensure delivery of approved activities, approved by council which ensures implementation of planned activities
  • We will show how we developedopportunities provided by the 2015 Bicentenary year and the proclamation of Bathurst as Australia’s first inland settlement and how this presented a platform to showcase the heritage, diversity and vibrancy of the city and surrounds
  • We will show examples of a range of new (and legacy) eventssuch as Winter Festival, NRL deal, B2B cycling
  • We will touch on the council’s role and strategic decision making to ensure investment in productive infrastructure – 2nd circuit / Velocity Park; BMX park
  • Successful examples and key learnings – recognising the opportunity to improve collaboration between event owners/managers and industry to leverage visitor spend and to develop events to fill these gaps. (Event visitors spent around $2.3 billion in NSW in the year ending June 2015. Source: National and International Visitor Surveys, YE June 2015; TRA)
  • The next steps? A focus on maximizing the city’s geographic location, working with the local aboriginal community and a continued recognition of the importance of the region’s heritage.