Aurora's community role fading


THE name of Launceston's premier sporting precinct - Aurora Stadium - is in doubt with Aurora Energy reforms cutting sponsorship to 10 community community organisations.

As part of the state's energy reforms, Aurora and Transend will merge in July to create TasNetworks, a statewide electricity network business.

Aurora had major sponsorship deals with about 10 community organisations as well as Aurora Stadium.

Launceston City Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said last night that the future name of the stadium was "not available for public release".

Asthma Foundation of Tasmania chief executive Cathy Beswick said Aurora had been a sponsor of the foundation for 14 years, and it received $50,000 a year.

Mrs Beswick said that when the sponsorship agreement ended next month, whole programs might have to be put on hold.

"We have to face the new financial year with a large hole," Mrs Beswick said.

"It makes it very, very difficult to budget.

"We don't want to change the way we do business."

Tasdance artistic director Annie Grieg said community and education programs had been scaled back, but she hoped to continue a partnership with Aurora in its new guise.

The Tasmanian Theatre Company had a partnership with Aurora Energy to run various community programs for people with disabilities, the elderly, indigenous Tasmanians and prisoners.

It received about $30,000 a year.

The partnership finished at the end of last year, and chief executive Charles Parkinson said the company could no longer run the programs.

"This is collateral damage from a government decision that no one wants to own or do anything about," Mr Parkinson said.

Last year the then- government said it would seek alternative businesses to partner with the groups.

But Mr Parkinson said he had received no help finding an alternative.

"We had nothing from government and opposition and there's been no help from anyone else," Mr Parkinson said.

"There's 10 community organisation plus our major AFL stadium that are out in the cold and severely compromised.

"If the government was fair dinkum about making sure those 10 organisations didn't fall over, they would suggest that Hydro pick up the sponsorship."

A spokeswoman for Aurora said the company had been keeping sponsorship partners informed and had encouraged them to consider alternative sponsorship.

The spokeswoman said Aurora Energy was working with the government to finalise an arrangement with the No Interest Loans Scheme, and Little Athletics and Aurora League Netball had secured alternative sponsorship.

A government spokesman said these were arrangements put in place by the community organisations and Aurora, and he did not say whether assistance would be provided to help the groups find new sponsors.


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