Thousands of campers flock to Lake Boondooma each February for the annual Yellowbelly Fishing Competition, but there are concerns a new competition sponsored by Council could undermine it

February 27, 2019

The South Burnett will get a new fishing competition this year despite concerns it might undermine already successful events run by community groups.

At February’s meeting, Councillors debated a proposal to commit $10,000 towards sponsoring a new “Festival Of The Dams” fishing competition to be run at Lake Boondooma.

The event would be run by “Fishing Freshwater” on May 18-19 and would cater to all ages.

Competitors would catch, photograph and release fish to be in the running for prizes.

Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff said both the Boondooma and Bjelke-Petersen Dam fishing stocking associations had expressed concerns to her that a new competition at the dam could affect their own successful events.

The Boondooma Dam Yellowbelly Fishing Competition, which has been run by the Boondooma Fishing Stocking Association each February for the past 29 years, attracted 945 entrants and an estimated 2200 campers when it was run on February 9-10.

The BP Dam Fish Stocking Association’s revived Inland Family Fishing Classic also attracted large numbers of entrants last October after a six-year break.

Cr Duff said she did not think running fishing competitions was part of Council’s core business, and more community consultation should be undertaken.

“I have been told by both these groups that instead of getting more people to the dams, this festival may undermine their own festivals – and that was brought to my attention loud and clear at this year’s Boondooma Fishing Competition,” Cr Duff said.

“I just can’t let this go without bringing this to everyone’s attention.”

“Thank you Cr Duff, I’ll take that as a comment,” Mayor Keith Campbell replied.

“This matter has already been spoken about with both the Boondooma and BP Dam fish stocking associations.”

Cr Terry Fleischfresser said he disagreed with Cr Duff and thought both dams were definitely part of Council’s core business.

As such, Council needed to look at new ways to generate money from them, he said.

Cr Roz Frohloff said she also disagreed with Cr Duff.

“I don’t reckon it’s going to be an issue or detrimental to the fish stocking associations,” Cr Frohloff said.

“As we’re aware, BASS Nation (a professional bass fishing competition) will no longer be on our dams.

“We own those two dams, and by Council getting on board and doing this we’ll see that money come back into Council’s coffers.”

However, Cr Ros Heit also had reservations.

“My concern is that is this setting a bit of a precedent,” Cr Heit said.

“I mean, obviously we want to develop the dams and we want plenty of people to go there. But partnering with a private organisation concerns me.

“Whenever community groups – and we have a lot of them – apply for community funds they have to provide a business plan, they have to supply KPIs, and they have to have a plan for long-term sustainability.

“But to my knowledge we haven’t got any of these sorts of plans.

“So what is the return on investment for ratepayers? And is this the best use of their funds?”

CEO Mark Pitt said there was nothing unusual about Council partnering with private businesses and this happened all the time as a routine part of its operations.

He said there had been extensive discussions with the competition’s organisers for several months, but no final agreement would be drawn up until Councillors voted to proceed or not.

He said one over-arching consideration from Council’s point of view was strengthening relationships between the South Burnett and Somerset regions to promote the two areas as inland fishing destinations.

Council’s investment was limited to sponsorship of the inaugural event, and after it was over there would be a full analysis of the results which would be publicly available.

In addition, Council still had the option to walk away from the deal if it could not negotiate a sponsorship agreement to its satisfaction.

When the issue was put to a vote it was carried 6-1, with Cr Duff opposed.

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables

4 Responses to "Council Cash Backs Dam Festival"

  1. Leo Geraghty  February 27, 2019

    I couldn’t believe what I was reading and the comments in both the South Burnett Times and the above story.

    How many volunteers do they, the Council, realise you need to run a successful comp? (reminder: these people are not paid employees of Council). And who is responsible for the clean up later?

    How many prizes do they realise you need to run a successful comp? How many times do you hit the same sponsors to run a successful comp? How many fish does this organisation release back into our dams during the year?

    Fishing comps are run for the sole purpose of restocking fish supplies in our dams with camp permits helping to support Council.

    Why was Kathy Duff the only councillor who cared to talk to our local fishing organisations before voting on this issue?

    I attend every BP Dam Fish Stocking meeting and I can’t remember this ever being discussed. I also believe I might be the only original member who tried to re-establish BP Dam with the then Shire mayor David Carter. We had permits to burn the grass and rubbish at the dam because the Council wouldn’t mow it. Thankfully things have changed in that regard.

    I would suggest Councillors also take a good look at the approaches to the boat ramps and the areas close to the water that people like to camp. The grading of the approaches and roads around our dam might be more important to getting visitors back rather than holding another fishing festival. Ask why our locals are going to other dams and water crossings.

    Is the council of the opinion they can run one with outside help better than the two existing organisations which have years of experience? We look forward to the results.

    We have always been appreciative of the facilities at both our dams but I don’t believe this is the best way to raise money or invite more tourists outside our area to stay at our dams.

    More consultation with our local organisations as to what might help bring more people to our facilities may have been a better solution (suggestion: painted water tower entering Murgon)

    Leo Geraghty
    President MBDA

  2. Anonymous  February 27, 2019

    It is not a matter of supporting a fishing competition. I fully support that, but why has the council chosen to spend $10,000 on THIS competition. There are already competitions held at the dam which attract hundreds of tourists but don’t attract this sort of funds from council. This is an unfair and biased decision by council. Shame on you councillors. Money would have been much better spent on upgrading the dam facilities so the tourists will return.

  3. Terry  February 28, 2019

    So the council pays a business 10k for sponsorship towards a competition for prizes that will attract maybe 50 teams and 400 people to the park over the weekend. What a rort! I’d like to see the 10k get spent through local businesses.

  4. Jaimen  February 28, 2019

    Great job councillors. I hope you have an independent party to cover the financial aspect of your so-called festival. There is only one person that will win out of this and it is not us the ratepayers, the community groups/organisations and not the council. Why would you not inject that money into the already existing successful events?

    I applaud Cr Duff for standing up to a clearly brainwashed council. Don’t throw money like that away.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.