Revitalising arts, culture and major events in Baw Baw Shire

Published on 23 June 2022

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Council’s Annual Budget delivers support for the local arts, culture and events industry to draw more visitors to the region and create vibrant and connected communities for the Shire.   

As the region's leading performing arts and cultural centre, the West Gippsland Arts Centre has experienced an overwhelmingly positive response from audiences keen to return to live entertainment following a two year hiatus.  

With its reopening following the COVID-19 restrictions, the Arts Centre has attracted a range of sell outs and upcoming hit shows, from Human Nature, Jon Stevens, Kate Ceberano, Xavier Rudd, John Williamson, Kate Miller-Heidke, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, The Wiggles and more.  

It is well understood that the community is excited and eager to experience live entertainment again and Council has committed to supporting our local creative community to thrive by continuing to offer subsidised rates for venue hire and associated services at the Arts Centre.  

Following a revaluation of current operations and fee structures, adjustments included in Council’s Annual Budget 2022/23 will ensure the facility remains competitive as it maintains its position as West Gippsland’s premier performing arts venue.  

Major events in the Shire are supported by a further $60,000 with a focus on driving tourism back to the region. Council is proud to sponsor a range of upcoming events this calendar year including the return of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival to the region and hosting a major music event. 

Council is also planning for our region’s rapid growth and expanding demand for cultural and community facilities.  

The Budget has allocated $6.5 million towards the development of Stage 1 of the Baw Baw Culture and Connection Precinct, a $30 million multi-use facility that will drive community connectedness and provide a new community library, culture and art spaces, café and rooftop terrace and more.  

Overall Council has made a commitment of $10 million to this project and is seeking matching funding support from the State and Federal Government. $3.5 million has been secured from the Victorian Government’s Growing Suburbs Fund to enable the design and early works to proceed. Council is advocating to all levels of Government to secure the remaining $16.5 million required to fully fund this project. 

To learn more about the Annual Budget 2022/23 and all the investments Council is making to build a better Baw Baw in the year ahead, visit 2022-23 Annual Budget

Quote attributable to Mayor Cr Michael Leaney 

“With the 2022/23 Budget, our focus remains on supporting local arts, attracting and delivering fabulous shows and major events, and encouraging visitation to our beautiful region to revitalise our tourism economy.  

The West Gippsland Arts Centre has hit the ground running post COVID and the proof is in the sell-out shows! We’re also working on a number of new programs that will enhance our support for local arts and culture in the new post-pandemic landscape, and we’re doing our part to invest in the community and cultural infrastructure.  

Throughout the year ahead, Council will continue to advocate to the State and Federal Government for their investment in the Baw Baw Culture and Connection Precinct, a $30 million landmark project that will be a space for all to come together, learn, grow and enjoy for generations to come.” 

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