Item 7.2 - Attachment 1

Previous Report



ITEM NUMBER         4.1

SUBJECT                   Parramasala Festival

REFERENCE            F2008/00400 - D01552127

REPORT OF              Manager City Culture, Tourism and Recreation; General Counsel         




The purpose of this report is to update Council of progress in respect of the governance structure for the entity that is proposed to have operational responsibility for the Parramasala festival and outline the approach to be followed to finalise that structure.





(a)       That Council receive and note the information contained within this report


(b)       That Council endorses the approach to governance and company formation outlined in this report; and


(c)       Further, that Council delegates to the Chief Executive Officer authority to negotiate and enter into (on behalf of the Council) a binding sponsorship in terms of the MOU between Events NSW and the Council.





1.         At the Council meeting of 14 December 2010, Council resolved:


“(a)      That Council give in-principle support to the proposal to develop a major multi-faceted festival of South Asian culture for Parramatta;

(b)        That Council support the establishment of an MOU between Events NSW and Council;

(c)        That Council give in-principle support to the proposed governance structure;

(d)        That Council recognise that this opportunity will be delivered by the whole of Council, especially to capitalise on the economic and social benefits of the event;

(e)        That Council give in-principle commitment to the direct cash investment by Council in the Festival as detailed in the body of this report;

(f)         Further, that Council commit to the in-kind support of other elements for the proposed event including where possible, in-kind support from within relevant budgets.”


2.         A MOU between Council and Events NSW was signed on 17 February 2010.  This MOU reflects the direction given by the Council in the above resolution.  Relevantly, it outlines the project objectives and the responsibilities of the parties.





3.         The governance structure envisaged is a company limited by guarantee.  The Council and Events NSW would be members of the company.  The directors of the company would be appointees of Events NSW and the Council together with an independent director.  It is intended that the Council appointees will be the persons holding the positions of Lord Mayor and Chief Executive Officer and 1 appropriate staff member.  This governance structure is used in other similar circumstances (for example the Sydney Festival).


4.         Early work on the organisation of the event has progressed pending formation of the company.  Both the Council and Events NSW have been providing the support outlined in the MOU.


5.         The prior approval of the Minister for Local Government (Minister) is required before the company is formally created by registration with ASIC.  Application has been made for this consent and pursued by both Council staff and Events NSW staff. 


6.         The Minister’s consent is not to hand.  Event preparation has reached the stage where formation of the company is now time critical because of operational considerations.  Event preparation may be adversely affected if the company formation is further delayed. 


7.         There has been no formal response from the Minister or the Division of Local Government (DLG) to the application for consent.  Council staff has learned informally that the Minister has concerns about workforce implications.  In the absence of any dialogue it is difficult to understand what drives this concern.  Formation of the company has no workforce implications for Council and this has been addressed in the application for consent.  Both Events NSW and Council will continue to press for feedback from the Minister or the DLG in order to address these issues.


8.         Council staff do not support formation of the envisaged company without the Minister’s consent.


9.         An alternate governance structure has been proposed to work around the difficulties posed by the absence of the Minister’s consent.  The alternative approach is summarised below:


a.   At the outset Council will not to be a shareholder or hold any directorships.


b.   Council will continue to provide the support outlined in the MOU and this support is to be delivered under formal sponsorship arrangement with a binding sponsorship agreement.


c.   A company limited by guarantee would be formed.  The members would be Events NSW and Philip Rolfe (the Parramasala CEO and Festival Director).  The directorships would be held by Events NSW appointees, Philip Rolfe and an independent.  The Council will not appoint any directors.


10.       In concert with Events NSW steps can be taken to revise the membership and directorships of the company to align with what was originally proposed after the Minister’s consent is to hand.


11.       In practical terms, the outcomes for the Council remain the same.  The objectives of the MOU remain unchanged as do the responsibilities of both the Council and Events NSW in terms of event preparation and delivery.


12.       To ensure that the opportunities that Parramasala presents for the Council and the City are fully explored and Council’s responsibilities are delivered using a “whole of Council approach”, a cross-functional team has been formalised. 


13.       A formal project request for the direct cash investment by Council in the Festival (as detailed in the MOU) was submitted to Council as part of the budget planning process and has been included in Councils Delivery Plan which is currently on public exhibition.




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