Published by Cobram Courier online and in print on February 26.
Newly appointed Cobram Barooga Business and Tourism Development group chairman Paul Gemmill assured residents that protecting Cobram Barooga Visitor Information Centre was the group’s first priority during the tourism sector’s restructure this year.
Mr Gemmill said the group would consult with Moira Shire Council to ensure the information centre continued operating ‘‘as is’’ despite council’s restructure of the sector’s governance and financial support.
About 70 people from the business and tourism industries and the wider community attended a CBBTD special general meeting last Tuesday night, including Moira Shire Council business and innovation executive manager Bruce Connolly and Berrigan Shire Council corporate services director Matt Hansen.
Mr Connolly answered questions from concerned residents about the future of the information centre, which many said they had heard was in danger of being shut down.
Mr Connolly said CBBDT would be responsible for allocating funding for the centre in its business plan, which all local tourism associations in the shire would be required to submit to before receiving funding after the shire’s tourism sector restructure.
‘‘It’s never been said publicly by anybody in council that Cobram (Barooga) Visitor Information Centre will close,’’ Mr Connolly told questioners.
‘‘The local tourism associations will become responsible for the staff. (Council) are going to continue to support the Cobram Barooga Visitor Information Centre if it is decided by (CBBTD) that that’s what they want to do.’’
Mr Gemmill said it would be up to the business community to support CBBTD to ensure the information centre, and the industry, remained healthy.
‘‘It’s not the shire against us anymore, it’s the shire trying to help us out,’’ Mr Gemmill said. ‘‘There will be some form of restructuring — hopefully not staff-wise — but we will be coming to the community and business owners about becoming more active members.’’
Mr Connolly said former information centre staff member Kyla Carpinelli would be council’s new tourism support officer. He said she would work with local tourism associations, including CBBTD, to drive the sector.
Mr Connolly said Ms Carpinelli would work beside newly hired tourism officer Louise Clint, who would ‘‘pick up where Sun Country (on the Murray board) left off’’.