Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Efficient Council Could Cut Costs; Rather Than the A[euro]too Harda[euro] Basket Councillors Should Stop and Look

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Efficient Council Could Cut Costs; Rather Than the A[euro]too Harda[euro] Basket Councillors Should Stop and Look

Article excerpt

In response to WDN invitation to comment on the question "How would you cut council expenditure?a

The statewide review of tourism presents an excellent opportunity for Southern Downs Regional Council to achieve some efficiency, if not significant savings.

Against a background of Tourism Queensland's withdrawal from south-east Queensland country and state funding cuts forcing amalgamations, the Southern Downs is expected to link with Toowoomba in order to retain Government funding.

Add to this the recent council internal review of tourism structure and its budget for the next 12 months and alarm bells start to ring.

I have observed tourism organisations, in their various incarnations, for more than 20 years, as a ratepayer, one-time editor of the local daily newspaper and, for the past 10 years, as a tourism operator.

I watched, with concern, the Warwick council funding increase to a pre-amalgamation level of $300,000 and Southern Downs Regional Council escalating to an alarming $600,000 per annum for tourism with the new budget allocating some $400,000 along with $600,000 for economic development.

I have also witnessed and participated in various studies and surveys, to no avail.

The situation has never been satisfactorily resolved in terms of delivery of services to the local tourism industry, let alone the visiting public we all hope will spend dollars in the region.

It is my belief that the proliferation of tourism organisations drawing on funding is compounded by successive councils' seeming inability to obtain value for its ratepayer dollar; the same combination of factors contributing to a procession of highly paid officers through these organisations, leaving long-suffering staff and others to pick up the pieces not conveniently swept under the carpet.

After a recent $15,000 consultancy to set guidelines, this council conducted an internal review of the region's tourism structure. …

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