THE Victorian government has announced a funding injection for the Wangaratta Jazz Festival after the event was mentioned in the report that played a large part in Wangaratta Council’s downfall.
Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy announced yesterday the festival would receive three years of funding from Arts Victoria, starting with $113,100 next year.
The government last week announced the council would be axed in the wake of municipal inspector Peter Stephenson’s final report tabled in State Parliament.
It included the recommendation to suspend or sack the council.
Mr Stephenson had mentioned the festival — which this year will be on November 1-4 — was struggling to attract sponsorship as a result of the “council dysfunction”.
“The highly publicised council dysfunction, including attacks by councillors on business groups, has caused a loss of business confidence in the municipality,” Mr Stephenson said in his report.
“Projects impacted include sponsorship for the internationally recognised Wangaratta Jazz Festival and a failed bid to hold the Ovens and Murray football grand final in Wangaratta.
“Both of these are important regional events and create opportunities for local businesses.”
Last year the state government gave the festival $130,000.
Mr McCurdy said he had been campaigning for support for the festival since last year’s event.
“This critical support provides a level of funding certainty so that the festival can focus on presenting great music, plan for the future and contribute to the vibrant culture of our region,” he said.
Wangaratta mayor Rozi Parisotto contacted Mr McCurdy yesterday raising concerns about the timing of the announcement.
The unsuccessful grand final bid was another example of the council failing to provide leadership contained in Mr Stephenson’s report.
Wangaratta Magpies, of which Cr Col McLouan is president, made a solo bid for the grand final this year to be held at Norm Minns Oval.
In August, Cr Don Joyce expressed concern the two Wangaratta football clubs and council hadn’t made a joint bid for the grand final, as a united approach had worked well for the Essendon and Richmond game this year.