Ticket sales on a high

Laura Hurley | Bendigo Weekly | 06-Nov-2015

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A SIGNIFICANT increase in ticket sales to major events in Bendigo has come as welcome news to the majority of Greater Bendigo councillors.

Council’s capital venues and events facilities experienced a 37 per cent leap in ticket sales in the 2014/15 financial year compared to the previous year, however one councillor expressed concern that many of the venues also appeared to be running at a loss.

Cr Helen Leach called for more detailed financial figures on the operating costs of the venues at Wednesday night’s council meeting, arguing ratepayers had the right to know where their money was being spent.

Mayor-elect Rod Fyffe highlighted the importance of such events as drawing tourists to the city.

“This is a significant contributor our wellbeing,” Cr Fyffe said.

“(The increase) is a wonderful performance and we build on that – the Ulumbarra Theatre has been outstanding success at attracting events.

“This is a cause for celebration.”

Major events in the Bendigo region during the 2014/15 financial year were estimated to have a financial impact of $23,942,072.

Council’s major events unit had a budgeted operational cost for 2014/15 of $1,724,998 and an actual net cost of $1,804,844 by the end of financial year.

The art gallery had $1,754,418 set aside in the 2014/15 budget, and ran at an actual net cost of $1,852,887 – a difference of $98,469.

Cr Leach called for further transparency about how the funds were being spent.

“I would like to see a clearer picture of income and expenditure,” she said.

“Ratepayers want details – they have a right to know how their money is being spent.

“The art gallery is a trifle over budget.”

Cr Fyffe said it was important to look at the bigger picture.

“This is a big picture thing,” he said.

“Seven of 10 years the art gallery has run under budget.

“You’ve only got to drive past most hotels over the weekend to see most have no vacancies.”

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