Albury Council to back Murray Regional Tourism for another three years

ALBURY Council will re-commit its support for the Murray Regional Tourism body as pressure builds on the NSW Government to follow suit.

Andrew Cottrill

Andrew Cottrill

The council's planning and development committee this week recommended council fund MRT for a further three years for a total of almost $140,000.

Originally established in 2010, MRT was the first NSW-Victorian cross-border tourism body created along the Murray River with member backing by councils on both sides of the river and the two state governments.

The Victorian government has guaranteed its contribution of $340,000 until 2019-20, but the NSW government hasn't made the call yet.

Mid-way through last year it announced the creation of six “destination networks” including Riverina-Murray with a commitment to spend  $43 million over four years in a “major overhaul” in the way regional areas attract tourists.

Mayor Kevin Mack was part of a recent delegation to see NSW Tourism Minister Adam Marshall in a bid to have the state sign-up again.

“We get great value out of this proposition,” he said.

“It is a cross-border model that in terms of the Murray River has no rival.

“We've been supporting this model for a number of years.

“If the funding doesn't arrive from Adam Marshall's office we need to continue to support this model and do whatever it takes to make it happen.

“The smaller councils down the river are my concern, but I think we get a lot of bang for buck from this proposition and I have no hesitation in recommending this particular report.”

Thirteen councils between Albury and Mildura are part of MRT.

Contributions are based on a flat fee for participating councils plus a payment of three cents per domestic visitor night stay.

The latter figure is calculated based on a three-year average of the national visitor survey.

Mildura pays the most with Albury proposed to more than double the contribution of Wodonga.

Albury economic development team leader Andrew Cottrill said MRT had united the Murray region's tourism industry.

“In the last six-and-a-half years the MRT has had a positive impact,” he said.

“It has overcome many historic issues including fragmentation, poor resourcing, heavy reliance on volunteers and duplication of resources and effort.”