Manager of Cowra Tourism Belinda Virgo, Chair of Cowra Tourism Cr Ray Walsh and Steph Cooke MP hold a large cheque. They stand in front of bottles of local wine.
Manager of Cowra Tourism Belinda Virgo, Chair of Cowra Tourism Cr Ray Walsh and Steph Cooke MP.

The Cowra Christmas Street Festival has been given a boost from the NSW Government’s $1 million 2020 Regional Event Fund.

A $10,000 grant has been awarded to assist in the delivery of the festival in 2020, or in 2021 should the event be cancelled.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the investment recognised the difficulties COVID-19 restrictions have placed on many of the region’s major events and tourist attractions.

“The Christmas Street Festival has become one of the significant seasonal events in the Central West’s calendar, and it’s wonderful it has been recognised by the Regional Event Fund,” Ms Cooke said.

“This is a substantial grant which will have a huge impact on the whole community and the many visitors who come to Cowra at Christmas time.”

The NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, will provide funding to 59 event organisers across the state to deliver events that will attract visitors and drive economic activity for local businesses.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said it was clear that regional NSW is eager to welcome visitors back to drive spending in communities that rely on the visitor economy to support local businesses.

“The calibre and diversity of events supported through the Regional Event Fund will give visitors plenty of extra motivation to get out and explore regional NSW,” Minister Ayres said.

“Regional NSW is eagerly welcoming visitors back to drive spending in communities that rely on the visitor economy to support local businesses.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said COVID-19 restrictions led to the postponement of many regional NSW events, but event owners had shown determination to bounce back.

“Local businesses in regional communities are preparing for a much needed economic boost after enduring drought, bushfires and more recently COVID-19,” said Mr Barilaro.

“This funding will bring regional events back to life, which will not only put money in the pockets of event vendors but will be a huge morale boost for our communities at such a crucial time.

“These events create local jobs and bring regional communities together, and so we look forward to a full calendar of COVID-Safe events across the state later in 2020 and into next year.”

The Regional Event Fund is part of the NSW Government’s $10 million Tourism Recovery package and comprises two streams: the Flagship Event Fund and a new Micro Event Fund.

The Regional Event Fund will support:

  • 18 events through $20,000 annual Flagship Event Fund grants
  • 12 events through $30,000 cash and in-kind triennial Flagship Event Fund grants
  • 29 events through $10,000 Micro Event Fund grants

Events scheduled between 1 May and 31 December 2020 at the time of application were eligible for funding.

In line with current Australian Government restrictions regarding mass gatherings, Destination NSW will liaise with event owners to discuss their plans.

Events must be delivered to receive funding.