South Burnett Regional Council will issue an extra call for community groups to run Australia Day celebrations in the region’s towns after only two groups applied for funding this year

November 19, 2020

The South Burnett might not celebrate Australia Day with its usual gusto in January unless more community groups apply for Council funding.

At Wednesday’s Standing Committee meeting, Councillors were told only two community groups had applied to Council for funding to run Australia Day celebrations on January 26: one in Nanango and the other in Kumbia.

In past years, Australia Day community breakfasts have been held in Blackbutt, Nanango, Kingaroy, Kumbia, Wondai, Murgon and Hivesville.

Events are also usually held in Proston and at Boondooma.

However, this year – with the introduction of a new “Australia Day Event Sponsorship” category in Council’s Community Grants program and COVID-19 restrictions affecting public events – it appears many community groups have put the task into the too hard basket.

Councillors were told it would be advisable to open an extra round so more community organisations had a chance to take part.

Officers recommended Council open this new round on November 26 and close it on December 21.

Cr Kathy Duff said it was very important that Council get the message out about the bonus round as quickly as possible.

“Those committees that run Australia Day (celebrations) will only have one meeting to ratify that they can apply for a grant, so the timelines … are very, very tight,” she said.

Finance General Manager Susan Jarvis said Council staff would be phoning groups who have previously run Australia Day celebrations to alert them to the extra grant round.

She was confident officers could process applications before Council took its annual Christmas-New Year break on Christmas Eve.

Councillors approved the decision to run an extra Australia Day funding round unanimously.

The decision will be ratified at the Council’s next General Meeting on November 25.

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