The advertising campaign designed to bring new residents to NSW regional cities has gone back to the drawing board after Wagga and other councils pulled their funding.
The remaining 'Evocities' member councils, Albury, Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange and Tamworth, met in Sydney on Thursday and by Friday afternoon had announced they would not proceed with the next 12-month plan.
Armidale has pulled out of Evocites and Wagga councillors voted for a 12-month hold on the $80,000 it would have otherwise contributed pending a review of the TV, radio and online ad campaign's effectiveness.
Wagga council general manager Peter Thompson told The Daily Advertiser that the city's 12-month hiatus from Evocities would continue.
"Wagga City Council has been involved in the Evocities program since its inception and was one of the originators of the promotion.
"We are pleased that the member cities are looking at doing work on the Evocities concept over the next 12 months.
"Wagga council has made a decision that it will sit out the next 12 months to concentrate on other initiatives that are promoting the Wagga area, particularly our economic activity and our lifestyle as an attractive place to be.
"Key among those are the Special Activation Precinct and the Digital Hub initiatives of the state government and some other programs that were will be announcing in the coming months."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Evocities' latest campaign involved running TV and radio ads in Sydney with the hope of reaching 300,000 people to promote the lifestyle benefits of moving to a regional city.
Member councils have contributed a total of $2.65 million to fund Evocities since it launched in 2010.
Albury City mayor and Evocities chairman Kevin Mack said the steering committee had agreed not to proceed with the proposed formal memorandum of understanding but would "remain committed to exploring a future collaborative model to attract new residents".
"During the transition period the Evocities and Evojobs (online) platforms will continue to be available for our communities and for potential relocators," Cr Mack said.
"We will keep responding to enquiries in addition to maintaining engagement with the thousands of potential relocators who are currently engaged with the program.
"Over 150,000 people, most currently living in Sydney, have visited the websites so far this 2018-19 year, and over the past five years 2366 people have registered their interest in moving to an Evocity.
"There are 3500 registered users on the Evojobs database alone and over 300 new job seekers are registering every month."
Cr Mack said Evocities' performance figures were "a very strong indicator that this platform does deliver".
"It is a very healthy and viable product and we are looking forward to discussing future opportunities with our stakeholders," he said.
"Even with very conservative figures, the benefits to industry and the community, and the boost it provides our local economies is impressive and undeniable
Cr Mack said regional relocation and skills attraction "remain priorities for our cities and we are keen to continue exploring the opportunity of expanding".
Mr Thompson said Wagga council was still "100 per cent committed to marketing the region to metropolitan Sydney dweller" but was looking "at getting the best return for our spend".
"If (Evocities) come up with a different model then we would definitely look at that" he said.
Mr Thompson said Wagga council maintained regular contact with the Evocities members through the Regional Cities NSW organisation.
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