The Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) has ceased funding for Destination Southern Downs as part of cuts to council funding for economic purposes announced 19 May which affects tourism and major events. SDRC’s Mayor, Cr Tracy Dobie said existing Council staff would deliver tourism services instead.

“Key to these changes is a considerable cost saving for Council and the community that will be achieved by utilising existing Council staff to deliver some of these services,” the Mayor said, stressing that there will be no disruption to upcoming major events. The Mayor believes it is important to have a strong link between economic development, major events and tourism.

Destination Southern Downs (DSD) urges the Southern Downs Regional Council to reconsider this action. DSD Chair, Corinne Butler, believes that merging tourism with other portfolios will not afford the recognition that the tourism industry deserves, suggesting that the council has made the decision contrary to expert tourism information that they have compiled over four years. “Unfortunately, it appears this valuable industry expertise and community feedback has been ignored,” Ms Butler said.

Ms Butler said that she had urged the Mayor, CEO and individual Councillors to consult with DSD, however, they were not consulted about the issue. Now she hopes that the Council will review their decision and consider the impacts of visitors’ needs and industry practice information.

By Tara Chadwick
Image via Southern Downs Regional Council