Ballarat City councillors have unanimously voted to knock back funding applications from two of the city’s largest charity fundraisers, arguing it is not the responsibility of local government to fund hospitals.
Both Run Ballarat, which donates money to the children’s ward at the Ballarat Base Hospital, and the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute Cycle Classic applied for council grant of $15,000 and $25,000 respectively.
Councillor Daniel Moloney, who moved the Run Ballarat motion and seconded the FECRI Cycle Classic motion, said while both were worthwhile community activities donating to well regarded institutions, the funding would be better allocated elsewhere.
Councillors also made the argument the grants were for seed funding, rather than ongoing support. Both events have received financial support from council in the past.
“While (Run Ballarat) does raise money for an extremely worthwhile cause, this is a case of ratepayers essentially funding a hospital which is a state responsibility,” Cr Moloney said.
Run Ballarat has raised $920,000 for the Ballarat Base Hospital over the past five years, while the Cycle Classic has $1.6 million in the past decade.
Both events will continue to receive in-kind support from the City of Ballarat.
Meanwhile funding applications for other events such as the Ballarat Beer Festival, SpringFest and the LGBTIQ Frolic Festival received the green light.
While the Frolic Festival is in its first year, both the Beer Festival and SpringFest have previously been recipients of council grants.
Councillor Amy Johnson said while she supported the $16,000 Beer Fest grant, she would be less inclined to vote in favour if the event was to ask for council assistance in the future given the funding was designed to support start-up events.