Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says the successful Arts and Cultural festival White Night should be expanded even further into regional centres and include Warrnambool or Portland.
Mrs Britnell said it made sense for the festival, which was initiated by the Baillieu Government, to come to the south-west after a successful expansion into Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong.
“Imagine the Breakwater or Fletcher Jones Silver Ball in Warrnambool or the Grain Silos in and Historic buildings in Portland lit up with moving projections and images,” she said.
“The addition of White Night to the south-west’s events calendar would bring massive economic benefits and provide more opportunity for local art groups to run workshops.
Mrs Britnell said White Night encourages visitors to stay overnight, eat in local restaurants and cafes and browse local stores.
“This year in Ballarat an extra 400,000 people came to town, generating about $3 million in extra economic benefit. We’ve seen similar figures in Geelong and Bendigo,” she said.
“The south-west could benefit in the same way.”
Mrs Britnell said an event like this would give people a positive experience in the region and encourage people to make return visits.
“We’ve seen from the Port Fairy Folk Festival what happens when people visit a town for an event. Sometimes the fall in love with the place and decided to either come back regularly or they decided to relocate,” Mrs Britnell said.
“It’s a key policy of the Liberal Nationals to re-establish the Victorian Major Events Corporation and for that organisation to have a focus on events in regional Victoria, to give people a taste of what life is like.
“It’s part of our bigger plan for real decentralisation and population growth. Real decentralisation isn’t just about moving a government department to a regional area, it’s about improving liability and encouraging people to look seriously at regional Victoria.”