“Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash was poorly advised when he restricted the Government’s Major Events Fund to events with over 5000 attendees. He could support far more events for the same money,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The numbers just don’t look right. The Minister defended the restriction saying, ‘We had to draw the line somewhere, what we said, the events that we are covering, there's about between 200 and 250 of them, are of regional significance.’
“The fund applies to events between December 17 and April 3, that’s 107 days. By Nash’s figures, that’s two major events every day for over three months.
“ACT has advice from event booking agencies that there are unlikely to be more than 75 qualifying events.
“The money is about right, but the events won’t be there. If $200 million has been set aside to underwrite 90 per cent of 200-250 events and they average, say, 10,000 attendees, that’s around a million dollars per event, or $100 per attendee.
“The problem is there are only a third of the events Nash is counting on. What he should do is lower the threshold to allow more events, such as to events with more than 500 people. We are happy to hear the Minister’s calculation on how far the fund could go catering to smaller events, what we do know is his current numbers don’t add up.
“Funding only large events is also a public health mistake. More people travelling from one place to one event is the wrong way to go. If there was to be a restriction on public health grounds, the fund should be restricted to smaller events. However, ACT says they can and should do both.”