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Regional Art Gallery Proposal

Council has provided in principle support for the operation of the Regional Art Gallery. What checks and balances has council put in place to ensure the viability of this facility in the Southern Highlands region?

The importance of arts and culture to Shire’s residents was first identified as a community priority in developing Council’s first Community Strategic Plan which was adopted in 2010. In addition Council’s previous and current Delivery Program has identified the need to explore options for the establishment of a regional art gallery within the Southern Highlands.

Council was approached by a community organisation in May 2018 to seek a formal commitment to work in partnership to secure funding under the Regional Cultural Funding Program to construct a regional art gallery on the former Fairfax Estate, now managed by the National Trust.

Council formally considered its position in relationship to this partnership in September 2018.

Council resolved to confirm its in principle support for a commitment of $500,000 per annum as a contribution on behalf of the Wingecarribee Shire Council for a period of five years towards the proposed independent Gallery’s operational costs (to be reviewed in the fifth year).

To ensure the facility is financially viable in the long term, Council has stipulated that the funding is subject to the following conditions:

  • Formal support and agreement from the landowner of the proposed site location for the project to proceed subject to a successful grant application.
  • Further detail being provided regarding the proposed governance arrangements for the Gallery, including the proposed board structure and who will be responsible for establishing these arrangements.
  • A further detailed business case study being prepared which provides Council with the following information:
    • Proposed Opening Times / Admission Fees
    • Staffing structure
    • Expenditure and revenue forecasts for the five year establishment period (with underlying financial assumptions/drivers provided)
    • Sensitivity analysis of key expenditure and revenue assumptions
    • Examples of proposed event listings
  • Provision of independently audited financial reports at the end of each financial year after construction, detailing the financial performance and position of the Gallery.
  • Council limits its financial contribution to the annual operating costs as detailed above with no further commitment to future capital expenditure or operating deficits.

A working party has been established (which includes Council representatives) to commence the necessary work to establish an appropriate governance structure to oversee the funding and construction of the Gallery, and to develop the required business case which Council has stipulated as part of its funding conditions.

Last Updated: June 5th, 2019
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