Short-term funding secured for Long Table Lunch

Chloe FraserSound Telegraph
The Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce Long Table Lunch has been one of the stand-out local events.Picture: Kingsley Klau
Camera IconThe Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce Long Table Lunch has been one of the stand-out local events.Picture: Kingsley Klau

The return of the popular Rockingham Long Table Lunch received a boost last night with the City of Rockingham council awarding event organisers a solitary $20,000 grant for the event.

The funding was awarded as part of the second round of the City’s 2019/2020 Community Grants Program, but support for the event was subject to lengthy debate.

Councillors eventually moved the committee recommendation to award organisers a $20,000 grant for one year only, and to consider ongoing investment at a later date.

New councillor Lorna Buchan kicked off the debate, putting forward an alternative motion that council not allocate any funds to the Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce Long Table Lunch for the coming year, arguing the event was a “proven success” which “can and should stand on its own”.

She also highlighted the exclusivity of the $250 per head ticketed-event, and said supporting the lunch would reduce the amount of funding available for other not-for-profit organisations and events.

“Five years ago we didn’t have a long table lunch, now we do...but now it’s time for them to be self-sufficient,” Cr Buchan said.

“By continuing to fund this event year-on-year we’re foregoing the opportunity to help another event or organisation to seed and grow.”

Cr Mark Jones seconded the motion, and said there should be a “winding down of funds as the years progress”, but also acknowledging the event’s economic benefits to Rockingham.

He then proposed a foreshadowed motion, if Cr Buchan’s motion was not supported, to reduce the proposed $20,000 funding to $10,000 for one year only.

Crs Deb Hamblin, Barry Sammels and Leigh Liley argued against Cr Buchan’s alternate motion and said the long table lunch attracted hundreds of people to the City, had an economic value of about $475,000, and fulfilled the City’s aspirations in promoting Rockingham as a “coastal tourism destination”.

Cr Hamblin said the council would be “crazy” not to support the event, given the promotion it would receive as event sponsors.

“The amount of TV marketing we receive from the event we could not buy with $20,000,” she said.

“We’ve worked for a long time to change the reputation of Rockingham - with this event we gain a high class iconic event from a small sponsorship investment.”

Cr Craig Buchanan questioned the inclusion of RKCC’s application alongside sporting clubs and charities.

He expressed concerns council did not have enough time to make an appropriate long term decision given the event was fast approaching and said he would instead support Cr Jones’ foreshadowed motion.

Cr Buchan’s alternate motion was lost 4-7 with Crs Sammels, Liley, Joy Stewart, Hamblin, Hayley Edwards, Sally Davies and Buchanan voting against it.

Cr Jones’ foreshadowed motion to reduce the allocated amount to $10,000 for one year was also lost 5-6.

Cr Buchanan then moved the committee recommendation allocating $20,000 to the upcoming event, which was carried 9-2 with Crs Buchan and Jones voting against.

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