In February this year, Tamworth Regional Council applied to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a Special Rate Variation (SRV) designed to attract new events to the region. This morning IPART advised Council that its application has been unsuccessful.
Tamworth Region Mayor, Col Murray said while Council was unsuccessful with its application, it will continue to host the fantastic events already on offer and will review how it will consider new events into the future.
“The Tamworth region has a reputation for hosting outstanding events and having world-class facilities, and the benefits of this are significant, not just for local businesses but the entire Tamworth community on financial, physical and social levels.”
While this is not the decision Council was hoping for, Cr. Murray says the Council has to accept the reasons provided by IPART and further work will now be undertaken will review how Council will consider new event proposals into the future.
IPART said that the rate increase was a reasonable amount to propose to business ratepayers yet due to Council’s current financial stability there is not a strong enough need for an increased rate to attract new events.
While Council demonstrates strong financial stability, the funds available are allocated for the purposes of delivering and maintaining the existing services and facilities in the region.
IPART also acknowledged that while Council did conduct a process for community engagement and feedback, it was not demonstrated that all business ratepayers had been directly consulted and that the community was not made fully aware of the proposed process.
In November 2018, Council consulted the business community through a series of breakfast seminars and the use of an online engagement portal, providing the chance for feedback on the proposed SRV.
“The conversations about the implementation of an events levy were robust, but the overall consensus from the engaged business community was supportive as the benefits it could deliver far outweighed the costs,” said Cr. Murray.
The Tamworth Event Impact Assessment Model is currently in use as a guide to ensure that all events supported by Council are of fair and equitable benefit to the community in terms of delivering a strong return on investment.
Whilst this result will impact Councils ability to seek new events, Council will review how it will consider new events into the future to deliver physical, social and economic benefits to the entire region.