The ACT Labor Government has provided the National Folk Festival (NFF) with $134,000 to ensure the event is able to take place in 2013 and beyond.
The following statement was released by Andrew Barr MLA today.
In the Legislative Assembly today I tabled instruments against the Treasurer’s Advance to authorise the payment of $134,000 to the NFF.
In June the NFF asked the Government for an urgent meeting and advised us that they would experience cashflow difficulties by July if they were not able to secure financial assistance.
Treasury then undertook an analysis of NFF financial reports for the past five years, and recommended that $134,000 be given as a Treasurer’s Advance.
The advance will give the NFF time to undertake a detailed business plan to support a return to sustainable operations.
The Economic Development Directorate facilitated business planning for the NFF and engaged KPMG to ensure that the planning was undertaken in a timely manner.
In a report to ACT Government and KPMG, the NFF board acknowledged the five principal reasons they were suffering budget difficulties:
- The cost of office accommodation;
- An increasing staffing budget;
- Cashflow issues based on the four-day festival being held at Easter and relying on good weather and not coinciding with other events, such as Anzac Day;
- Inaccurate ticketing revenue forecast and complimentary ticketing.
The ACT Government recognises the importance of this event to the local community and also the significant tourism industry benefits of the festival.
The National Folk Festival is a Canberra icon. It is an important and much-loved feature on Canberra’s calendar of events, and I am pleased that the ACT Government has been able to ensure its survival.
While it is concerning that the Festival’s management reached such a crisis situation, the Government have stepped in to ensure the event continues in 2013 and beyond.
The ACT Government has imposed strict conditions on the funding that ensure the NFF resolve their financial situation and move to a more stable position.