Council commits to lifestyle and culture

Date published: 21 June 2022

Council’s 2022/23 Budget is furthering Townsville’s reputation as the events, sports, and cultural capital of Northern Australia with a $39.5 million investment in arts, culture, and events over the next 12 months.

Mayor Jenny Hill said the investment was critical to maintain the momentum the city had gained through event hosting opportunities presented during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This $39.5 million investment reflects Council’s role as a promoter, funder and facilitator of arts and culture across the city,” Cr Hill said.

“We have attracted national and international-calibre brands like the Wallabies, the All Blacks, the Matildas, Aston Villa, and Elton John in recent years, which has given us a platform to showcase our beautiful city to new national and international audiences.

“We are committed to fully leveraging on the opportunities that hosting these world-class events has provided to the city.

“Council’s vision is to grow Townsville, and to do that we must put our best foot forward so we can compete with other cities across Australia and the world.”

Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said while the budget would support the ongoing activation of Queensland Country Bank Stadium, the majority of investment was about supporting arts and culture locally.

“Council’s $39.5 million investment into arts, culture and lifestyle will go far in our community. It is about ensuring there are free events and programs to entertain, educate and engage locals of all ages in our city, but it is also about fostering local talent,” Cr Greaney said.

Council’s 2022/23 Budget has also allocated $700,000 for a business case for the much-needed North Australia Arts Precinct, which will build on the Concert Hall business case currently being delivered by the Australian Government.

Cr Greaney said multiple studies had demonstrated that Townsville needed a new entertainment and exhibition precinct to enable a vibrant performing and visual arts culture.

“The business case will provide a detailed understanding of the visual and performing arts facilities that could form part of the precinct, an assessment of the economic impact of the facility, jobs created, cost estimate and overall timeframes for construction to assist with funding.”

While planning for the future, Council’s 2022/23 Budget is also firmly focused on the here and now.

“We will be supporting well established and nationally renowned events like our North Australian Festival of Arts and Ephemera, while also funding activities facilitated through our galleries and libraries,” Cr Greaney said.

“We will also have a strong focus on community events like the Townsville Running Festival, Shakespeare Under the Stars, Magnetic Island Race Week and the Townsville Art Society Awards, which provide a considerable economic boost to our region.

“As Townsville grows, we want to be an attractive city both in terms of activity entertainment but also to ensure our locals have the agency to follow their creative instincts and turn them into reality right here in North Queensland. It is our job to build a city that attracts people to make Townsville their home.”

Townsville has earned the reputation across Northern Australia as a melting pot for some of the nation’s finest arts groups, festivals, exhibitions and events.

Council has contributed long term investment for creating a strong arts culture for the city through their support for renowned arts groups like Dancenorth and Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts as well as through its national arts acquisition events like the Percivals and Ephemera: Seaside Sculptures.

Cr Greaney said Council would continue to invest in culture, including hosting international sport matches and prestigious arts festivals and facilitating community events and programs.

“We are currently preparing to host Aston Villa v Brisbane Roar and are in the middle of delivering a star-studded line up to this year’s North Australian Festival of Arts in the city right now,” Cr Greaney said.

“Hosting major events like these in Townsville provides a huge economic boost to the city, filling hotels and providing local hospitality and tourism operators with customers, showing how valuable this $39.5 million investment is for the city.

“Council is proud to support cultural endeavours across multiple disciplines, whether they’re artistic, sporting, or community-based.”

Council will continue to support the activation of Queensland Country Bank Stadium with event acquisition funding allocated to securing events that will generate much-needed economic activity for the city.

Cultural and Community Services Budget for 2022/23

  • Community support – $5,989,000
  • Community facilities – $1,219,000
  • Libraries – $9,767,000
  • Visual and Performing Arts, Galleries – $10,623,000
  • Events – $11,920,000

For more information on the 2022/23 Budget and Operational Plan, visit Budget 2022/23.