Funding for indigenous drawcard

Emily AceSouth Western Times

A record funding pool of $1 million for regional events could open the way for an iconic indigenous event in the South West.

The pool, which is part of the 2018-19 Regional Events Scheme, has $150,000 set aside for events which deliver authentic Aboriginal experiences.

WA Indigenous Tourism Operators Council southern region business development manager Angelique Fransen said it was “a great opportunity” to target specific events.

“Hopefully we can get an iconic event happening in the South West which we can build on as an annual event,” she said.

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“It’s not just about targeting and educating international tourists, but the everyday Australian family to be able to come and enjoy a day of festivities which showcase the local Noongar Aboriginal culture.”

Ms Fransen said WAITOC would support indigenous operators wanting to host indigenous events in the region, especially because there were no specific Aboriginal events showcasing culture.

“Hopefully it will kick start smaller events which haven’t been able to get up in the past without that support,” she said.

The scheme is supported by Tourism WA and Royalties for Regions and is open to events held between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the State Government was committed to growing Aboriginal Tourism in the State.

“It’s fantastic to see funding specifically set aside to support more regional Aboriginal events in WA,” he said.

“Aboriginal tourism helps protect and preserve traditional culture and encourages communities to become economically viable by providing employment and income.”

Troy Bennell from Ngalang Wongi Aboriginal Cultural Tours said the opportunity could help to get people “out on country” as well as train up children to become tour guides.

Event holders can request funding from $5000 to $50,000, with applications closing on December 12.

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