November 26, 2018
The Blackbutt and District Tourism and Heritage Association (BDTHA) will no longer have to pay full rates to manage Blackbutt’s Memorial Hall.
The not-for-profit community group, which operates the Roy Emerson Museum at Nukku Nook, took over day-to-day management of the Hall last year after the building was moved from its former site in Coulson Street to Bowman Road.
The Hall, which is owned by the South Burnett Regional Council, was formerly managed by another not-for-profit community group, the Blackbutt and Benarkin Community Council (BBCC).
In July 2012, BBCC signed an agreement with the Council to manage the building, but relinquished it in early 2016 when the Hall was closed for relocation.
The building’s move was a process that took almost 18 months to complete, and during this period the group were unable to use the hall to generate income but still had to meet operating costs.
South Burnett Regional Council called for expressions of interest to take over the Hall’s management in June 2017, and entered into a new agreement with BDTHA a few months later, just prior to the Hall’s reopening.
Noeleen Bird from BDTHA told southburnett.com.au the Council had taken some time to finalise the agreement but recently the group had received a half-yearly rates notice for “more than $1000”.
“This was more than we could afford to pay and we were surprised,” Noeleen said.
“But we’d heard the Council gave concessional rates to not-for-profit groups, so we asked them if they could look at this.”
A motion to add BDTHA and the Hall to the Council’s approved list for rate remissions was moved at Council’s November meeting by Cr Roz Frohloff, seconded by Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff, and carried unanimously.
Noeleen said she was pleased to hear this.
“In the past year we’ve air-conditioned four rooms at the Hall, secured a $35,000 grant from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund to add a solar system and $5500 from Bendigo Bank to add a sound system,” she said.
“This has helped improve the Hall a lot at no cost to Council.”
Noeleen said BDTHA’s volunteers also handled cleaning the Hall and small maintenance jobs in the building.
“This saves the Council a lot of money, compared with what they’d have to pay if they did these things themselves.”