Tourism takes hit from bud­get cuts

Pilbara News - - News - ■ Peter de Krui­jff

Tourism ap­peared to be the loser in this year’s City of Kar­ratha bud­get as the or­gan­i­sa­tion made $753,396 in cuts af­ter a rates dis­pute with the State Gov­ern­ment.

A se­ries of draft rates ap­pli­ca­tions were knocked back by the Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment for be­ing un­fair to those rated for Tran­sient Work­force Ac­com­mo­da­tion, mean­ing the City had to look else­where to make up the short­fall.

The cuts in­cluded scrap­ping $50,000 for a 50-year an­niver­sary of Dampier next year with the City de­cid­ing to post­pone seven years since the town was not gazetted un­til 1972.

A $72,000 ini­tia­tive to de­velop Sam’s Is­land near Dampier lost $50,000 also, the ma­jor event’s scheme took a $50,000 hit as did the $650,000 bud­geted for the Kar­ratha and Roe­bourne visi­tors cen­tres.

The big­gest sav­ing came from re­duced in­sur­ance premi­ums of $301,712. Four new po­si­tions at the City were de­ferred, sav­ing $171,684. The City would not com­ment on what these po­si­tions were.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said they were com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing the tourism in­dus­try in the re­gion.

“Coun­cil has in­creased the over­all amount of fund­ing for tourism this year through a range of projects in­clud­ing new walk­ing trails, an over­haul of tourism sig­nage and the re­vamp­ing of tourism look­outs within the City,” he said.

“As part of this pack­age, the same fund­ing has been bud­geted for visi­tor cen­tres as was ex­pended last fi­nan­cial year.

“While coun­cil is cur­rently in a strong fi­nan­cial po­si­tion, it is vi­tal we con­tinue to im­prove our ca­pac­ity to fund fu­ture oper­a­tions and re­new in­fra­struc­ture by way of ad­di­tional pro­duc­tiv­ity gains and sav­ings, pur­su­ing grants, work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tively with other or­gan­i­sa­tions and care­fully man­ag­ing in­come and ex­pen­di­ture through the an­nual bud­get process.”

The to­tal bud­get ex­pen­di­ture for 2015-16 is $126 mil­lion and in­cludes $46 mil­lion for park and recre­ation fa­cil­i­ties, $13.6 mil­lion to fin­ish the air­port ter­mi­nal up­grade, $10 mil­lion on the Wick­ham and Dampier hubs as well as the ef­flu­ent re­use scheme, $16.1 mil­lion on roads and drainage, and $22.3 mil­lion on events and com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties.

Pic­ture: Shire of Roe­bourne

Peter Long

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