Ballarat City Council will honour a $60,000 funding agreement with the Royal South Street Society (RSSS), despite its 2020 eisteddfod not going ahead.
Council voted tonight to vary a strategic partnership funding agreement to allow the annual $60,000 amount to be paid to help the RSSS survive COVID-19’s economic fall-out.
Under the initial three year agreement, the funding was only to be paid on the eisteddfod’s full and successful delivery.
However, due to the financial effects of both COVID-19 and not having its major venue, Her Majesty’s Theatre, available for the 2019 event, the RSSS requested the payment still be made.
Council also recognised the RSSS board’s efforts to try to host the 2020 event, with Victorian Government COVID-19 restrictions imposed in August forcing the cancellation of planned live events only a month from the opening date.
In 2020, the RSSS will make no revenue but has already spent money on marketing, wages and operating costs.
In 2019, the closure of Her Majesty’s Theatre and the move to another location at Federation University’s Founders Theatre created a $193,000 loss for the organisation.
The $60,000 payment will go toward marketing, promotions and some operational costs for the 2020 event, plus an independent business review to identify financial and operational efficiencies and potential post COVID-19 ways of working.
Annually, the eisteddfod attracts about 11,000 competitors, audiences of 25,000 to 30,000 and provides an economic impact to Ballarat of up to $8.5 million.