Olley Arts Centre still in motion

A motion put forward by Cr Neil Marks for Lismore Council to withdraw the grant application for the Margaret Olley Arts Centre (MOAC) was defeated on Tuesday night.

Council has applied for up to $4.5 million from the federal government to build the $9 million facility and is expecting to have an answer by the end of this month. Southern Cross University has committed $1 million towards the project with the other $3 million to be borrowed by Council.

Southern Cross University’s executive director of corporate services Malcolm Marshall addressed the meeting and re-affirmed the university’s commitment to the gallery and said they would be prepared to contribute to the ongoing running costs.

Cr Marks said the motion to withdraw the grant application came as a result of listening to the community at a series of meetings called about the special rate variation.

“It was brought up at every session. The community is asking us to tighten our belts before we start spending money we don’t have.

“This is about listening to our community as opposed to leading our community,” he said.

But Cr Isaac Smith said many people he spoke to were very supportive of the gallery and said Council would be mad to pull out of the process at this stage.

“If we get the grant, that’s a 200% return on our investment.”

He also said that arts industries were likely to be one of the largest growth industries for jobs in the region over the next 20 to 30 years and he didn’t want to see Lismore left behind.

In the end the motion was defeated 8/3 (Crs Marks, Meineke and Chant for).


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