Wednesday 1 August, 2012
The establishment of an international cross country course at the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC) is an important part of ensuring the Tamworth Regional Council-owned venue continues to grow from strength to strength, Mayor Col Murray said.
‘Not only will it complement the AELEC’s existing world-class facilities but it will further enhance the appeal of Tamworth and the North West Region as a stand out NSW destination,’ he said.
‘The development of the cross country course and the upcoming Tamworth International Eventing competition has already attracted significant national and international attention.
‘The CEO of Equestrian Australia, Grant Baldock has provided a letter of support for the course, a New Zealand-base online magazine will be flying a team of three to Tamworth to cover the Tamworth International Eventing competition and the popular equestrian website, An Eventful Life, will have well-known equestrian journalist John Lechner in Tamworth for next week’s event.
‘And with Tamworth International Eventing planning to have at least two international level competitions each year, there are even more benefits to come for AELEC and the local economy.
’As it is, the equine and associated events industry is worth about $45 million a year to the Tamworth Regional economy.’
A report tabled at last Tuesday night’s Tamworth Regional Council meeting said while the development of the cross country course was an ‘obvious fit’ for the AELEC it also supported other aspects of the recently completed AELEC Business Plan.
‘This includes opportunities to hold national, state and regional clinics and schools on site and supporting a move towards member-based and/or casual use of facilities to increase traffic through the venue,’ the report said.
The AELEC Business Plan, finalised last month, is an operational plan to guide the facility’s future development. It details strategies for increasing the number and range of events held there, building further capacity, attracting new market segments and growing commercial partners and sponsors with the overall aim of reducing the nett operating cost of the venue while maintaining and improving the economic benefits of events to the community.
The plan shows how the AELEC has hosted 4,862 participants involved in 28 events over the past 12 months, which represented an increase of just over 12 per cent on the previous year.
Research undertaken as part of the plan also identified idle capacity as an opportunity for future growth, with figures showing that in half of the year no activity takes place at the AELEC other than maintenance work. It also found that while the venue was being used for half of the year, there was capacity during 29 per cent of those activities to allow another concurrent event to take place.
Cr Murray said the AELEC Business Plan is a well-researched operational tool put together by Council staff which shows the great potential the venue has to draw a range of events with strong economic benefits to the local community.
‘The plan is a strong way forward for what is a world-class facility,’ he said. ‘The development of the cross country course and the staging of the first Tamworth International Eventing competition in August is just one part of that.
‘In the medium to longer term, in line with the AELEC Masterplan, there is the ongoing development of the corporate precinct at the AELEC where peak industry groups are encouraged to locate their national administration offices and the relocation of the Tamworth Pastoral and Agricultural Society to the AELEC site.’
Tamworth Regional Council AELEC Manager Mike Rowland said the cross country course will boost the venue’s profile in the equine industry.
‘Until now, eventing is the only Olympic discipline we have not been able to cater to,’ he said. ‘Having a cross country course is significant because it completes our facility’s service capability to an Olympic standard.’ Mr Rowland said there is no doubt there is an awareness in equine and livestock circles about the world-standard facilities at the AELEC.
‘The venue has been securing a range top notch events, but part of the plan for the future of the AELEC is for it to host a greater diversity of events not traditionally held there – the Great Moscow Circus in February this year was a great example of that.
‘The education market with short and long term courses being delivered on site, encouraging local clinicians of equine disciplines to use the AELEC’s facilities and increasing casual use of resources are three identified areas which could drive growth.
‘We are also further investigating other sporting interests and general events which may appeal to the wider community and increase the visitation to and usage of the venue.’ Next month, the AELEC is one of only two Australian venues for legendary horseman Monty Roberts.
‘Monty has an international reputation in the equine world and chose to come to Tamworth because of the AELEC,’ Mr Rowland said.
‘He will be here on September 1. His only other Australian workshops will be at the Queensland State Equestrian Centre.
‘It’s a coup for him to come to Tamworth because of the AELEC and the quality of its facilities.’