Victoria’s regional events given bushfire recovery boost

The Andrews Government will launch a special events booster fund to help kickstart the recovery of regions affected by the summer’s devastating bushfires.

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula said that the dedicated Bushfire Recovery round of Regional Events Fund would deliver up to $300,000 to help organisers to attract more people to events.

Events in 15 local government areas will be eligible for funding: Ararat, Alpine, Ballarat, East Gippsland, Glenelg, Golden Plains, Indigo, Mansfield, Northern Grampians, Pyrenees, Southern Grampians, Towong, Wangaratta, Wellington and Wodonga.

Applications for up to $20,000 will require the support of either a local council or regional tourism board.

Visit Victoria will manage the program and applications will open this month, with a fast-tracked application process. An ordinary round of the Regional Events Fund open to all local councils will also commence soon.

Visit Victoria will also spend up to $2 million on marketing in coming months to support regional communities.

“Events provide a tremendous boost for local communities and we want to give organisers every opportunity to draw a bumper crowd to their town,” Pakula said.

“There are so many options – in a couple of weeks we’ve got the Riverboats Music Festival in Echuca and a week later it’s the Paynesville Music Festival on the Gippsland Lakes.”

“March offerings include the Lost Trades Fair in Bendigo and ChillOut in Daylesford. North, south, east and west – there’s an event for everyone in regional Victoria.”

Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes said the bushfires have had a massive impact on tourism across the state.

“We can all play a role by looking out for the next opportunity to head out into regional Victoria,” Symes said.

“The visitor economy supports tens of thousands of jobs in regional Victoria and we’re backing the tourism industry so that it can recover as quickly as possible.”