SUTHERLAND Shire Council came close last week to withdrawing its financial support of an annual regatta commemorating James Cook’s entry into Botany Bay.
More than 250 sailing craft participate in the Australia Day Botany Bay Sailing Regatta.
Sutherland Shire Council is one of six councils to support the event and has been a financial backer of the regatta since 1998.
But a council report recommended the council decline the $950 sponsorship request from the regatta organising committee and no longer participate in or contribute to future regattas.
Mayor Steve Simpson supported the move and said the money would be better spent celebrating Australia Day in the shire.
“We spend a considerable amount in the shire on Australia Day, including the citizenship ceremony, which prevents councillors from attending the regatta,” he said. “We are in deficit when we run Australia Day.”
The council’s contribution to the regatta has risen from $500 to $750 over the years and organisers asked for $950 in 2014. This allows two council representatives, whether councillors or staff, to be on board yachts for the event.
But Councillor Peter Towell urged the council to keep supporting the regatta. “The commodores of various sailing clubs are quite perplexed as to why we are backing away from it,” he said.
“It is Australia Day after all. I can’t see what’s wrong with joining in with other councils participating in the regatta.”
A majority of councillors voted to continue sponsoring the event.
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