10 January, 2023, Mayor Cr Grace La Vella - The Advertiser
Published on 10 January 2023
Further to my comments in the Friday 6 January edition of The Maryborough Advertiser, in relation to tourism. The tourism dollar is vital to this Shire and more importantly now given the new State Government rate cap has been announced for 2023/2024 financial year at 3.5% - doubling the current rate cap of 1.75% last financial year whilst the inflation is at 7%. Very easy to do the math on those figures. As stated by our CEO, this will cause some challenges for us when putting together the 2023-24 Council Budget.
So, what do we have and what can we do to supplement the dire financial shortfall? This takes my mind to tourism, which is clearly on the rise in rural Victoria, I believe we need to capitalise here whilst the iron is hot.
Our current tourism crop is the Railway Station, we have a national standard (dare I say International) “state of the art” Art Gallery about to be re-opened; for our young people the newly opened Skate & Scooter Park of national competition level; we have a brilliant 360 degree viewpoint at the top of our currently closed Memorial Tower; an Aerodrome the envy of many local government municipalities - an underutilised treasure with capability to fly in potential visitors with dollars in their pockets to boost our economy; there is so much more we could capitalise on. However, two or three main attractions will not put us in the continuum of “let’s go there for the week or weekend” category. We need a suite of tourism products to power our social and economic development.
We also need a yearlong calendar of events to attract visitors; Energy Breakthrough is a major well renowned event of huge significance; Maryborough Open Garden weekend hit the best ever list on Open Gardens Victoria last year, there are many smaller threads dotted throughout our datebook, again, this will not put us on the map as the enticing place to eat, sleep, work and play.
We live in a Shire the envy of a great many others because of our unique infrastructure all within walking distance being four major supermarkets, all the main fast-food eateries, amazing restaurants, coffee shops and of course a compact, easily assessable retail precinct catering for all requirements one needs to sustain oneself over a long or short period of time. Spectacular parks and gardens, a stunning lake in the centre of town to stroll around and not forgetting our tranquil and beautifully groomed Phillips Gardens also in the centre of town.
This brings me to attractors to our Shire, the lure, the ambience, the welcome.
On trips either within Australia or overseas I have been drawn by the skilful wall art, covering plain and sometimes ugly dead walls attracting a visual mystique to small and large towns notwithstanding cities. Wall art is one point of difference we can develop to tell our story. There is so much artistic and entrepreneurial talent in this Shire, again, understated, underestimated and/or undiscovered.
Two hours from a capital city, two hours from the NSW border, two hours from SA border (as the crow flys) and a little further to our eastern seaboard. You as a community have the power to make your ideas a reality.
We need to emerge from the shadows and showcase Central Goldfields Shire as the “Pumping Heart of Victoria”.
I welcome your thoughts firstname.lastname@example.org