South Burnett Regional Council will postpone any decision to rejoin the SQCT regional tourism organisation for nine months to let local tourism organisation Visit South Burnett establish itself (Photo: SBRC)
SBRC Tourism portfolio chair Cr Kirstie Schumacher

October 20, 2021

The South Burnett Regional Council will defer a decision about rejoining the Southern Queensland Country Tourism (SQCT) regional tourism organisation until next financial year.

At Wednesday’s General Meeting, a proposal to pay $30,000 to rejoin SQCT as an associate member for the coming nine months was defeated by five votes to two.

Instead, an alternative motion to re-examine the idea after June 30 next year was carried by the same margin.

The proposal to rejoin SQCT was advanced by Cr Kirstie Schumacher and seconded by Cr Danita Potter.

Cr Schumacher said SQCT had undergone a significant transformation since the Council cancelled its membership of the State Government body in August 2017.

SQCT had appointed Mr Peter Homan as CEO in June 2019, and he had refocused the organisation on collecting anonymised data about consumer movements and spending which allowed members to more accurately target potential tourists.

Cr Schumacher said she supported rejoining SQCT partly because of this data, and partly because the organisation’s function was to look at “big picture” marketing in areas that local tourism organisation Visit South Burnett (VSB) might not be able to address, such as overseas tourism markets.

However, she also wanted to place on record that she fully supported VSB and her proposal was an addition to the $140,000 a year funding Council already provided, not any reduction of it.

Cr Kathy Duff said she was opposed to rejoining SQCT at the present time but was not opposed to looking at the issue again next June after VSB had the chance to fully establish itself.

Cr Scott Henschen said he questioned the value of what SQCT offered, noting that while they were willing to act as an online booking agent for local events, many South Burnett organisations were already selling tickets to their own events online.

Cr Gavin Jones agreed.

“I think we should support VSB first, and they can work with SQCT to get the data. Then we can review how that’s going next year,” he said.

Cr Roz Frohloff queried the value of the data SQCT offered, noting that Council received it anyway and VSB were already using it to frame their marketing efforts.

“If we get that data now, then what are we paying for?” Cr Frohloff asked.

Cr Henschen then noted what Cr Schumacher was proposing was only a base level membership, and asked what would be the value of taking out a full SQCT membership for $62,000 a year.

CEO Mark Pitt said the affiliate membership being debated would get the Council observer status – but not a vote – on SQCT’s board, along with a better insight into the full range of services on offer.

If councillors saw value in those things, then they could later upgrade to a full membership if they wished.

Cr Jones said VSB were still getting established but he was happy to let them progress and then examine their results next June.

“SQCT doesn’t fill me with confidence and they may be a good thing in 2022, but I’m not happy to support them right now,” he said.

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