Tamworth councillors have voted against waving the $22,700 TRECC hiring fee for the University of New England, saying it would be unfair to the other regular users.
The university's The Future Of Work is expected to attract more than 2000 students from across the region. However, a number of councillors took issue with the level of support council was offering.
“We’re setting a precedent, and we’ve got to ask ourselves, are we going to do this for the next organisation?” Cr Russell Webb asked his fellow councillors.
Cr Glenn Inglis said there was no doubt the Future of Work was a terrific event, but he couldn't support the motion.
“We have a number of user groups, many of them charities, who have been using the TRECC for years,” he said.
“We don’t provide anywhere near that level of support for them.
“Why are we offering that level of support for a one-off event to a commercial organisation, when we don’t even do it for our regular users?”
General manager Paul Bennett said unlike the community groups who use TRECC, the UNE would not profit from the event
“Remember that the charities that use this facility all have door prices, and it generates revenue opportunities for them,” Mr Bennett said.
“This is a free event for our kids and UNE has put significant funding towards to make it free. They’re actually putting more skin in the game than council.”
Cr Phil Betts, who spoke against the motion, changed his mind following Mr Bennett’s comments, however it was still voted down.