Pako Festa was one of 22 events supported by Geelong Major Events in 2016-17.
Pako Festa was one of 22 events supported by Geelong Major Events in 2016-17.

New appointment to Geelong Major Events Committee

Monday, 14 May 2018

Council has reappointed Leigh McClusky and Russell Morris as external representatives on the Geelong Major Events (GME) committee, and appointed Robyn Birrell to replace outgoing committee member Brian Cook.

The trio will now serve on the committee for the next four years (2018-2022).

Ms McClusky and Mr Morris were retained on the basis of their high levels of experience, and their already strong contribution to GME.

Ms Birrell brings an extensive arts and culture background, which Council agreed would complement the skill set of the committee.

Having started her career with the Mill Theatre Company in Geelong, she has gone on to hold senior roles at prominent arts centres in both NSW and Victoria, including the Arts Centre Melbourne, where she’s currently Venue Sales Manager.

She’s also held governance roles with Creative Victoria, The Arts Industry Council of Victoria, Courthouse Inc. in Geelong, and Performing Arts Connections Australia.

A long-time print, radio and television journalist, Ms McClusky is the founder and Managing Director of the McCo Group, a strategic communications company with offices in Geelong, Melbourne and Adelaide.

Mr Morris is the Managing Director of Distillery Logistics in Geelong, and Chair of the International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation. He was recently inducted into the Waterski and Wakeboard Australia Hall of Fame.

Council formally thanked Mr Cook for his contribution to GME since August 2016. The Geelong Football Club CEO announced his resignation from the committee earlier this year.

Council also noted GME’s 2016-17 annual report, which showed:

  • GME supported 22 major events during the 2016-17 financial year, including five new events
  • Collectively, these events attracted more than 600,000 participants and generated an estimated $76.1 million for the local economy
  • Given Council’s funding of just over $1.5 million, this represented a return on investment of more than 50:1.

Highlights included the Australian International Airshow at Avalon, which generated $22 million in economic activity, the Festival of Sails ($14.06 million) and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race ($11.35 million).

Mayor Bruce Harwood:

The figures outlined in the 2016-17 annual report show what a world class destination Geelong has become for major events, and how significant they are for our local economy.

This is predominately ‘new money’ coming into our region, boosting employment and our finances.

Whether it’s international sports stars competing at the highest level, prestigious arts and cultural events or culinary extravaganzas, the Geelong community embraces these events, and they attract visitors from across Australia and around the world.

Our events cater to all ages and many are free to attend, delivering significant social benefits to the community.
Cr Ron Nelson, GME Council representative:
We were blown away by the strength of applicants for the GME committee, and we thank everyone who applied for their interest.

It’s great to have both Leigh and Russell continue for the next four years, given their already valuable contribution.

We were incredibly impressed by Robyn’s CV and skillset, and we believe her arts and culture knowledge and contacts will be a tremendous asset.