Mount Gambier Fringe

Tuesday March 16, 2021

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:10): My question is to the Premier. Can the Premier confirm whether an ongoing funding commitment will be provided to support and grow regional Fringe events. With your leave, Mr Speaker, and that of the house, I will explain.

Leave granted.

Mr BELL: This week, Fringe Mount Gambier celebrated its fifth year with more than 60 events across 20 venues, giving some much-needed confidence to the hospitality and events sector. This year, unfortunately, is the final year of a three-year state government funding commitment for the event.

The Hon. S.S. MARSHALL (Dunstan—Premier) (15:10): The member is quite right. What we have seen in recent years is an explosion of Fringe events outside of metropolitan Adelaide. I think this is a very good development and the member for Mount Gambier has made very clear to this parliament the economic benefit for his local region. He is quite right in saying that he is ending the third year of a three-year arrangement. The funding is provided to the Fringe, so ultimately they make their decision.

What I can tell the member in this house is that we very significantly increased the funding for Fringe this year in response to the global pandemic. This was a project of increased funding which was provided in conjunction with the federal government and their RISE program. What we have seen from that, I think, is very well-funded venues but also artists' grants that have meant that we have delivered for the second year in a row the largest arts festival in the world. This is something that I think every single South Australian should be very proud of.

I don't have details as to what the Adelaide Fringe will do for next year and beyond. I am happy to take that question to the chief executive and the board of the Adelaide Fringe. They make their own decisions. But what I would say to the member and to any of the regional members or members of parliament representing regional electorates is that we have put an extra $1 million into the SATC regional events and festivals fund. That is open at the moment.

Any festivals that exist in regional South Australia that require additional money at the moment can make that application. It's a once-off $1 million to go into that, because we do want to encourage more South Australians to spend time in their own backyard to get out to beautiful regional South Australia. We have a large number of existing regional events and festivals, but also I am hoping that what comes out of this fund is a whole pile of new events, new festivals. Some of them might just be once off but some of them might develop to be like some of the great festivals that we have right across regional South Australia.

So in response to this question from the member for Mount Gambier, I am very happy to take that matter up with the Fringe. But with regard to the SATC events and festival fund, I encourage all members with an interest in regional tourism, regional visitation, events and festivals to look at this excellent program. It's open at the moment. I hope as many festivals and events as possible can be funded out of that massive increase in SATC funding.