Glenorchy City Council votes to cease GASP funding

25/05/2020

Monday, 25 May 2020

Glenorchy City Council has voted (9-1) to cease future funding of GASP Inc, the organisation which curates the Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park at Wilkinsons Point.

The decision, which will see Council pull funding of $104,000 per year from GASP Inc., will not result in any loss of public access to the much-loved GASP infrastructure (the boardwalk and pavilion) at Montrose Bay and Wilkinsons Point.

While the decision to cease funding GASP Inc. has not been taken lightly by Council, it was ultimately concluded that it was not feasible to offer a renewed funding agreement, given Council’s financial constraints resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for Council to put more funds into directly helping its ratepayers.

Glenorchy Mayor Kristie Johnston said the decision would have no impact on the GASP infrastructure at Montrose Bay and Wilkinsons Point, which is owned by Council and will remain in Council’s hands, or the ability of the public to continue to use it. 

“We absolutely treasure our GASP infrastructure, in particular the boardwalk and the pavilion, and will continue to maintain and improve them, despite us no longer funding the organisation that curates GASP,” Mayor Johnston said.

“Our community will always have complete access to those facilities, however we simply cannot justify continuing to give more than $100,000 per year of our ratepayers’ money to an independent and private arts company for curatorial purposes.

“In these difficult financial times due to COVID-19, where so many of our residents are doing it tough, the community expects Council to tighten its purse strings and direct money to where it’s needed the most, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

“We’ve been extraordinarily generous in directly funding GASP Inc for over six years, but it’s now time for this private company to stand on its own two feet.”

GASP has been in existence for 10 years as an incorporated body with base funding support from Glenorchy City Council. During this time, GASP Inc. has received two rounds of funding from Council, each with 3-year allocations, the most recent beginning in 2017 before the election of the current Council.  

Under the current funding agreement, Council carries out all the maintenance of the GASP boardwalk and pavilion at Wilkinsons Point, in addition to providing direct funding of $104,000 per year to GASP Inc.

Council’s current funding agreement with GASP Inc. expires on 30 June 2020.