A $50,000 grant to facilitate the 2018 Rally Championships coming to Launceston was approved by City of Launceston Council on Monday, although three aldermen voted against the motion.
The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport asked the council to provide a $50,000 grant for the three-day national car rally championships, with predicted returns for the city about $600,000.
The organisation’s general manager Michael Smith said CAMS was approached by some local businesses to bring the championships to Launceston in August 2018.
“From our point of view, Tasmania and Launceston is very important. There are some strong rallying association businesses based out of this region,” Mr Smith said.
“Being in the middle of the year, we are able to bring significant tourism benefits. We estimate around 2400 bed nights, a direct food and beverage economic benefit of around $160,000.
“Plus a television production which is shown nationally on Fox Sports, but we’ve also just done a significant deal to have that broadcast shown in North America.”
CAMS have also requested $200,000 funding from Events Tasmania and a number of other Tasmanian business as part of a $345,000 sponsorship package.
Alderman Simon Wood spoke strongly for the motion, saying the potential benefits for the region were huge.
“This presents a very exciting opportunity for Launceston on what is historically a quieter time of the year … this is a nationally recognised event,” he said.
“For Launceston to get a leg of this series would be a fantastic outcome and of course the media exposure for Launceston would be enormous.”
Aldermen Emma Williams, Karina Stojansek and Danny Gibson voted against the funding.
Alderman Gibson questioned why the council had to make a decision on Monday, saying Events Tasmania had not yet confirmed if they would fund the event.
He said council needed more time to review and revise CAMS request for funding.
“We gave $40,000 on a whim to the Masters Games and got one and half days of swimming in Launceston and are still waiting for any hardcore data that shows … the return was worth it,” Alderman Gibson said.
The council’s 2017-2018 budget for conferences, conventions and championships incentives is $60,000, of which only $10,000 has been spent to date, leaving enough funds for the CAMS request.
The application met the requirements for special event or championship funding, but because of the large amount requested was sent straight to the council for a decision.