New delivery model proposed for Taste of Tasmania

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Delivery of Tasmania’s largest celebration of local produce will be overhauled to secure its long-term future.

The City of Hobart will take steps to transition the Taste of Tasmania to a new ownership model, providing greater scope to grow the iconic festival beyond Hobart’s boundaries.

Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said the City of Hobart had delivered the event for more than three decades, developing it to a point where it had outgrown the City’s resources.

“The Taste of Tasmania generates huge economic and social benefits to Tasmania – not just Hobart – worth around $47 million a year to the state,” Cr Reynolds said.

“Putting on an event of the size and scope of the Taste takes a large amount of resources and funding, which in turn rests on Hobart’s ratepayers.”

The 2020-21 festival was cancelled due to the pandemic, and a combination of financial and commercial constraints, compounded by ongoing uncertainties around COVID, have led to tonight’s decision not to proceed with the 2021-22 festival.

“If the festival was to go ahead this year, it would not be able to meet the high expectations of our community, sponsors, visitors and stakeholders and that could damage the long-term sustainability of the event,” Cr Reynolds said.

“The Taste of Tasmania’s reputation is too important to risk. Instead, this forced hiatus has given us an opportunity to stop, take stock of what has been successfully built over many years, and take the necessary steps towards a more sustainable future for the festival.”

Feedback received from key stakeholders supports a shift towards a new ownership and delivery model in order to explore the event’s full potential.

“It was acknowledged that the festival had grown to such a high level of state significance that is was no longer reasonable for City of Hobart ratepayers to underwrite the event,” Cr Reynolds said.

“The City was already taking steps to reduce its financial commitment – on the basis of increased investment by the state government – in recognition of the state-wide value and the fact that it was Hobart ratepayers carrying most of the load.

“With this in mind, now is the appropriate time for a new approach, beyond what can be delivered under the City of Hobart’s exclusive ownership.”

A 12-month transition plan will developed to identify the best way forward that honours the importance of the event in Hobart’s cultural landscape.

“We are confident this is the best outcome for all involved – including our community,” Cr Reynolds said. “We will be communicating with businesses and stakeholders to make this transition a smooth one.

“The Taste of Tasmania is an iconic event and we want only the best for its future.”

A New Year’s Eve fireworks display and a waterfront summer activation program are expected to go ahead this year, with further report to Council in the coming months.

RESOLUTION OF COUNCIL:

That:

  1. The Council resolve that it no longer needs to own nor deliver the Taste of Tasmania.
  2. The Chief Executive Officer develop a transition plan to divest the City of the exclusive ownership and delivery of the Taste of Tasmania.
  3. A further report be provided to the Council with the transition plan outcome and proposal for the future of the Taste of Tasmania, by the end of the 2021-22 financial year.
  4. A further report be provided to Council on the proposal for a 2021-22 waterfront summer season activation program that includes Christmas and New Year programming.
  5. The new State Government be requested to honour the commitment of the previous government to support the consideration of further options around the Taste of Tasmania event.

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