Eurobodalla Shire Council favours guns and shooting over a culturally creative nature-based people’s festival

The Animal Justice Party said today it was astonished that Eurobodalla Shire Council had opted for a festival based on guns over the AJP’s innovative proposal promoting the region’s growing sustainable and creative businesses.

Professor Steve Garlick, President of the AJP, said that the organisation’s proposal would have brought a significant economic boost to the Shire.

“The AJP works with any communities wanting to achieve better outcomes for animals and nature. The Narooma proposal would have created up to 47 jobs and had a net regional benefit of around $4m as it ties in with a range of existing structural elements and cultural and business activities” he said.

Professor Garlick said that the jobs and financial benefit could be sustained if the proposal was linked to enterprise training initiatives currently being discussed with the regional TAFE. Details of the economic impact of the proposed festival are attached. “Our proposal aimed to showcase the many initiatives and businesses within the region that promote community well-being,” he said. “Called Coast and Nature– A Narooma Festival, it would have been of immense benefit to all the sustainable recreational, cultural, health and food production businesses and the creative initiatives developing in this region.

“In a two day festival it would have presented Narooma and surrounds as the go-to place for these activities and made a positive contribution to the local economy. “The AJP proposed a collaborative, safe, economically smart and environmental and animal friendly event, building local capacity based on sound academic and practical evidence. This is in contrast to what we believe could be a potentially divisive proposal, based on old economic thinking and of limited benefit to the local community.

“If places such as Narooma and the surrounding region are to take advantage of the new creative and sustainable initiatives developing in the area, decision makers need to respond with vision and courage, rather than just continuing more of the same. “Additionally a range of local organisations should have the chance to use public facilities in the region at key times of the year.”

The unusual early timing for Expressions of Interest and then a tender call by the ESC to use the Narooma Sports and Recreation Centre for a festival beginning in 2018 for five years had offered a unique opportunity for the AJP to plan and work collaboratively with the local community to develop an exciting proposal that would have achieved something special for the region.

Professor Garlick said that it was hard to fathom why Council had opted for a narrowly based event promoting gun use and hunting whose time had arguably passed. The contrast between the two proposals was stark. Councillors supporting the decision needed to justify their decision to the community in a transparent way and show how the economic benefits from the Hunters and Shooters proposal were better than the AJP concept he said.

For information:

Geoff Pryor: 0428930196, Steve Garlick 0428880564 22 March 2016

The Animal Justice Party respects the wellbeing of all and aims to restore the balance between the human, natural and animal worlds acknowledging that they are all interconnected.


Attachment

The Estimated Economic Impact of the proposed ‘Coast and Nature – A Narooma Festival’ on the Eurobodalla Shire, NSW – Summary

Introduction

The extent of the net economic benefit that might flow from any new regional activity is dependent on its relative complementarity and interdependency with the character and structure profile of the existing community, including its implicit values. Where a new activity conflicts with or stands aside from community character and values any net regional benefit that results will be muted.

Changes in demography, industry employment, income earning capability and culture in the Eurobodalla Shire over recent decades reflect a community and economy driven by visitor tourism; retirement; services provision; and nature-based, craft, and alternative life-style activities. It is against this profile that the impact of the proposed “Coast and Nature” festival at Narooma should be judged if it is to be seen as being of worthwhile community-wide benefit.

Demography, economic structure and growth

Demographically the region has one of the fastest rates of population growth in the state, driven predominantly by in-migration and its attractiveness as a place to visit. The nature of the in-migration reflects a profile that is biased toward older ages with time on their hands wanting to contribute to the local community where they can. The unemployment rate, particularly among young people, is higher than the NSW average.

Structurally, the economy comprises home-based, micro and small business enterprises predicated on visitor tourism, recreation, house building, personal services, health services, retailing, accommodation, restaurants, nature, craft and marine resources. The region is ostensibly a rapidly growing service economy, particularly in health and community services with visitor expenditure a significant element of this. Household expenditure is a key element for these types of industries.

Links to Canberra via the Kings Highway ensure a growing visitor base attracted by the physical and cultural character of the region. Amongst the endogenous population in the region, household income for consumption is relatively low because of the significant proportion of fixed income due to retirees and the unemployed.

Nevertheless, for a region like Eurobodalla, household final demand, as opposed to intermediate expenditure by industry, has the largest determining influence.

To maximise the regional benefit of a cultural event of the kind proposed by ‘Coast and Nature’, it must embrace and build on these demographic, economic structure and income realities.

Measuring the economic impact of the festival

The proposal to have a ‘Coast and Nature – A Narooma Festival’ has estimated there could be 3500 visitors to the event over its two days. It is estimated that 1500 of these will be overnight visitors spending an average $200 a day at the festival and a further $400 in total on accommodation, meals and transport. Local residents are also assumed to spend on average $200 per day for each of the two days of the festival. This, predominantly household, expenditure will have both a direct and multiplied impact on the employment, income and output value for the whole of the Eurobodalla region. The direct effect will be $2.0m, comprising $1.2m from overnight staying visitors and $0.8m from local residents.

This knowledge is important so as to build strategic extensions to the cultural event to ensure the benefits are actually realised for the region, rather than simply being unattainable numbers. To assist with modelling these regional economic impacts we have used the input-output tables for Eurobodalla produced by Care (2006). These tables were initially produced for Eurobodalla for 2001, then subsequently updated for 2005 and 2010 (refer Table 14.12, Care 2006). Based on these tables and the table at Attachment two (Care 2006) and utilising the data for the industry sector “Other Services” to reflect as close as possible the activity that would occur in the festival, we have used an estimated total output multiplier of 2.0.

This would make the economic output impact of the festival for the Eurobodalla region at an estimated $4.0m. Based on typical output/ employment ratios for the Eurobodalla region ($85,000 at current prices) we might expect there to be around 24 direct jobs generated by the festival and 47 direct and indirect jobs generated in the region during the festival. Given the likely expenditure in running the festival, this works out at a cost of only slightly more than $1000/ job. Such a figure demonstrates that a festival that is complementary and interdependent with the structural characteristics and values of the region (volunteerism, visitors and local community goodwill), jobs can be generated via such a festival at a very low cost.

The issue is how to ensure the multiplied output and jobs generated through the short period of the festival can be sustained in the region over a longer period. With long term planning and strategic links made to enterprise training, such as through the VET sector (refer Garlick, S., et al 2007), most of the jobs generated could become sustainable in the region.

Summary

The proposal for a Coast and Nature – A Narooma Festival has all the possibilities of having a net benefit to the Eurobodalla region of up to 47 jobs and $4m in output value by being integrated across a range of current structural and cultural characteristics of the region. These jobs and this output value can be sustainable if the proposal is linked to enterprise training initiatives as being contemplated in discussions with the regional TAFE

Professor Steve Garlick PhD March 2016

References

  • Animal Justice Party (AJP). 2016. Expression of Interest for a ‘Coast and Nature – A Narooma Festival’
  • Care. 2006.The Estimated Economic Impact of Batemans Marine Park on Commercial Activities. A Report for the NSW Marine Parks Authority.
  • Garlick, S., Taylor, M. and Plummer, P.2007. An Enterprising Approach to Regional Growth: Implications for policy and the role of vocational education and training, NCVER, Adelaide, August 2007. [isbn: 978 1 921170 690].

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