The future of the Stawell Gift has been secured and I am delighted to begin this bright new chapter in the story of the event.
I was elated when I heard the news that the Stawell Athletic Club had made the decision to accept this offer from the state government.
And I am excited that the Northern Grampians Shire Council will have a role in determining how the gift will look in years to come.
I can understand why the Stawell Athletic Club was, at first, reluctant to take up the offer, which will see a new management committee established to help oversee the running of the annual event. However, as Northern Grampians Shire Council will have a representative on that committee, I can assure the athletic club - and also the people of our region - that the prestige, fun and importance of the Stawell Gift will be maintained.
The Athletic Club's role in this event will remain of the utmost importance.
Northern Grampians Shire Council also recognises the Stawell Athletic Club as the traditional custodians of this truly iconic event.
And we will continue to support the club and the gift into the future under this new management system.
I also welcome the opportunity to work closely with representatives from Sport and Recreation Victoria.
These representatives will bring a wealth of governance and sports event experience and knowledge to this new management structure.
While the state government has committed $1.2 million to the future of the event over the next four years, Northern Grampians Shire Council has also pledged $150,000 alongside the in-kind support provided through the use of council-owned venues and grounds.
It is a commitment I am incredibly proud of and one that I intend to ensure is utilised to make this event bigger and better for many years to come.
The 2020 Stawell Gift will be a blueprint of how we can do things better.
Northern Grampians Shire Council intends to fully embrace this opportunity and make sure the gift is as good for our region as it is for sport in Australia.
All parties have done a remarkable job in these negotiations.
This partnership deal represents a chance for all involved to work as one to build the best foundations for this event moving forward.
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