A festival that celebrates the South Coast oyster and other local seafood could be getting a major boost.
If elected on March 25, NSW Labor will support the Narooma Oyster Festival to the tune of $600,000 over three years to “enable the festival to become a regional flagship event.”
Shadow Minister for Tourism, David Harris, was on the South Coast on Friday to make the announcement.
“If a Minns Labor Government is elected, then we will commit $600,000 to make the Narooma Oyster Festival a flagship event for NSW and one of the biggest events that occurs in our regions,” Minister Harris said.
“Parkes has the Elvis Festival, Tamworth has the Country Music Festival, Byron Bay has the Blues Festival and now Narooma has the Oyster Festival,” he said.
The funds would allow a full-time coordinator and marketing manager to be employed for the festival as well as funding to lease a premises to office space and marketing, and $50,000 a year to support the continued growth of the event.
Shadow Minister for Tourism, David Harris says the additional support will put the Oyster Festival and the South Coast on the map.
“The festival is an excellent opportunity to showcase the magnificent Tourism and Agricultural opportunities creating a flagship event to attract both national and International visitors.”
Member for Bega, Dr Michael Holland said the festival is an iconic South Coast event that injects millions of dollars into our local economy over just one weekend.
“I’m so pleased NSW Labor are able to support such a grassroots event and recognise the importance of supporting regional communities like Narooma.”
The festival has grown to a size where volunteers now struggle to be able to grow the event larger.
The $600 000 commitment will go towards the following programs:
-$270 000 over 3 years to employ a full-time coordinator and marketing manager for the festival
-$180 000 over 3 years to lease a premises for an office space and marketing/information/produce/souvenir location
-$150 000 over 3 years to support the growth event (advertising/logistical support/entertainment)
Chair of Narooma Rocks which delivers the Narooma Oyster Festival, Mrs Cath Peachey, said regional NSW towns like Narooma rely on events to drive visitation in the off-season.
“Particularly when all the hospitality businesses and smaller businesses need a boost around winter – it helps to ensure local jobs can be retained and the regional economy can continue to grow,” Mrs Peachey said.
“Delivering events in the regions brings significant logistical and cost challenges, which is why the delivery of these events fall to passionate community organisations like Narooma Rocks.”
“This funding announcement provides certainty for the future of the iconic Narooma Oyster festival which is southern NSW’s largest event and showcases rock oyster, which is indigenous to NSW, as well as all that is good about the South Coast.”
“We have been celebrating the Rock Oyster and the South Coast for 15 years now, it was an initiative of the Narooma Chamber of Commerce and it has grown in scale from a small community event to Southern NSW’s largest food and wine event.”
Images: Narooma Oyster Festival