Wagga City council approves funds for Thrive Riverina despite concerns

The discussion occured during Monday night's council meeting.
The discussion occured during Monday night's council meeting.

Concerns of duplicate spending on tourism in Wagga emerged during Monday night’s council meeting. 

Wagga City Council approved the membership contribution of $7920 to Thrive Riverina, despite the fact it was reversing a previous decision from March 2017. 

During the debate, councillor Daniel Hayes said he had concerns due to issues raised prior to last year’s decision. ​

“Back in March 2017 this issue came up between Destination NSW, Destination Riverina Murray and the Riverina Regional Tourism, which is now Thrive, coexisting or not,” he said. “The council agreed to discontinue the membership of the RRT.” 

One of the main reasons behind the decision, Cr Hayes explained, was Destination NSW’s “plethora of skilled staff” that provided all the necessary resources. 

“There is no value in having multiple sites presenting information and inconsistent and fragmented manner,” Cr Hayes read from the documentation. 

“The question is are Destination Riverina Murray doing what they said they would be doing? But I also support what they originally said which is, if this is a duplication of services, I don’t think we should be supporting it.” 

In response to Cr Hayes, general manager Peter Thompson said there was not a concern of duplicate spending. 

“We do believe that Destination Riverina Murray is doing their role and we are using that body for our marketing conduits, we are not looking at Thrive to pick up our marketing,” he said.

“Yes, we have opted out in recent times but that was when the contribution to the then entity was in excess of $20,000 and we saw little value in that.” 

The main motivation for the decision Mr Thompson explained was to ensure Wagga council has a “clear connection” with other councils to promote the region and attract tourists. 

Despite Cr Hayes imploring the council not to do so, the membership contribution of $7920 to Thrive was approved. Cr Hayes said he accepted the final decision and hopes his concerns will be proven invalid. 

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