Bun-Geo tourism funding under review

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury Geographe Tourism Partnership tourism marketing and development manager Anissa Williams and Juicebox creative director Joel Pember unveil the BunGEO branding last year.
Camera IconBunbury Geographe Tourism Partnership tourism marketing and development manager Anissa Williams and Juicebox creative director Joel Pember unveil the BunGEO branding last year. Credit: South Western Times

Bunbury City Council will reconsider its financial contribution to the Bunbury Geographe Tourism Partnership as it compares its support against other local shires.

The partnership — also known as BunGeo — is a promotional and marketing campaign for the region.

Chief executive Mal Osborne told the council last week that staff were considering a review of its Memorandum of Understanding on the initiative.

“Part of that conversation is about seeking an increased contribution by the other local governments, which would free up some of the $165,000 the city’s currently putting in to be able to be diverted to a Bunbury-specific promotion,” Mr Osborne said.

Harvey, Dardanup and Capel shire councils each contribute $10,000 while Donnybrook-Balingup and Collie shire councils put in $5000 and Boyup Brook Shire Council provides $2000.

Mayor Gary Brennan said the partnership was “really” important to the council, but it was a balancing act.

“There’s possibly going to be a rebalancing of investment by the city so that we do invest a bit more in city-focused events and activities, but we still value strongly that association with the Bunbury Geographe region,” Mr Brennan said.

“The city does pay considerable more than the other local governments and that’s fine up to a point ... there needs to be more balancing of the city’s investment compared to the other local governments and they’re aware of that.”

Mayor Gary Brennan says the tourism partnership is “really” important to the council, but that it was a balancing act.
Camera IconMayor Gary Brennan says the tourism partnership is “really” important to the council, but that it was a balancing act. Credit: Kate Fielding / South Western Times

The issue also prompted questions around surrounding shires’ contributions to the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre, which the council pays $445,773 annually to.

“The neighbouring local governments contribute what they can, of course we’d like to have them support BREC more than they do at the moment but again it’s there decision, it’s what they can afford,” Mr Brennan said.

Capel shire president Murray Scott said he did not think the tourism initiative should be run by local governments, but rather the tourism body and local businesses.

Cr Scott also said people who visited the entertainment centre were spending money in the city.

“People spend money in town, they go out to tea and utilise the facilities in there, then go to the movies ... they’re paying their way through, so I don’t think we should be putting more money in,” he said.

Harvey shire president Tania Jackson said its previous contribution had been in line with other local governments and it was generally about “ability to pay”.

“I think we’ve looked towards an equitable way to achieve that balance,” Cr Jackson said.

She said the council contributed a “reasonable amount” to BREC and it was something it had to balance in its budget alongside the regional funding.

Dardanup shire president Mick Bennett said the tourism partnership was a great initiative and the council was waiting to hear back about what was needed from it.

“At this point, we haven’t been asked to contribute again, we put in money for the first three years, but we’re tying to find out what’s next,” Cr Bennett said.

“I think it’s a great initiative and we need to get going with it.”

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