The Andrews Labor Government recognises that the Stawell Gift holds special meaning for many Victorians.
On 22 February 2019, the Government announced that it would provide an additional $138,000 to restore prize money levels and retain broadcast arrangements for the 2019 Gift.
The Government publicly indicated that future funding support would be conditional on significant changes being made to the commercial, governance and non-racing elements of the event, and the Government, Stawell Athletic Club (SAC) and Northern Grampians Shire Council signed a memorandum of understanding to that effect.
The SAC acknowledged that the operating model for the Gift required major reform and agreed to participate in an independent review.
In May 2019, following the running of the 2019 Gift, the Government engaged Matthew Mahon from Royce Communications to undertake the review. The review recommended an operating model that delivered key elements of the MoU, including:
- The event being held in Stawell over the Easter long weekend
- Retention of a live free-to-air broadcast
- Prizemoney being held at similar levels
- SAC retaining event-day management and Gift intellectual property rights.
The recommended operating model proposed a committee of management including representatives from the SAC, the council, Victorian Athletic League, Grampians Tourism and independent members with expertise in event management and marketing.
The purpose of the new committee was to improve the event experience for participants, visitors and viewers by leveraging the TV broadcast, the tourism offerings in the region and the entertainment offerings at the carnival.
On 20 November 2019, the Government offered $280,000 to support the 2020 Gift and implement the new operating model.
The SAC has subsequently notified the Government that it had resolved not to accept the review recommendations and as a result, the associated offer of funding from the Government.
The Government thanks the SAC and council for participating in the review and respects the decision of the SAC.
The Government is proud of its support for the Stawell Gift, including providing more than $700,000 towards the event since December 2014.
It remains open to the Stawell Athletics Club to accept the review recommendations and associated funding support. The Government will continue to work with the Victorian Athletic League to support professional running in Victoria.