The City of Ballarat has launched a major recruitment drive to re-market the city, advertising 11 new jobs in the wake of its controversial split with Visit Ballarat.
The push includes a program director with an annual salary of between $190,000 to $210,000* [see update below].
The job descriptions give a further indication of how the council plans to use some of the funding it previously allocated to Visit Ballarat, the arms-length tourism and marketing organisation.
The City of Ballarat's director of innovation and organisational change Cameron Cahill said the positions were for a "new, broader based, city-wide approach to building the visitor economy" which he said would sell Ballarat as "the ideal destination to live and work".
In a statement, he said the roles were part of the council's evolving "Ballarat is Open" strategy, announced when the City of Ballarat revealed its plans to cut its funding for Visit Ballarat.
The strategy would focus on creating economic opportunities "which encompass, but are not limited to, the tourism sector," he said.
Of the eleven new jobs, which were advertised earlier at the start of this week, six of them will lie within the council's marketing and communications department.
The positions have been advertised with Davidson, a recruitment consultancy with offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Mr Cahill said that Davidson was assisting with advertising the roles, and with the recruitment for some of the positions and that the company "best met Council's criteria for independent advice in this situation".
He said the jobs would also be advertised through the council's website and The Age newspaper.
The highest paid position is for a program director, who would report directly to the council's CEO.
The advertised annual salary, which is for a three-year contract, is stated at between $190,000 to $210,000.
Described as "a key leadership role", the director would be looking after "three new strategic portfolios". In the job description, these are put as "design lead city"; "integrated transport and land use planning", and "knowledge and smart city".
It also explains the portfolios have been developed to create "a Bigger, Better, Bolder Ballarat."
Positions within the marketing and communications department include marketing officers, a graphic designer and a digital content producer.
There are also four new positions within the council's development and planning department, including two in the events team, an investment officer and a coordinator of the visitor economy.
There were 16 people on a mix of full and part time contracts at Visit Ballarat when news of the funding cut first emerged. There were hopes some of the new council positions would be filled by existing Visit Ballarat staff.
The positions are all described as "newly created", with the pitch of many of the job descriptions appearing to be aimed at people outside of Ballarat.
In June, the City of Ballarat announced it would be terminating its service agreement with Visit Ballarat and bringing tourism services back in house. The agreement is now scheduled to end on September 30.
While some roles are funded by the $2.7 million previously allocated to Visit Ballarat in the budget, a council spokesperson said that other roles were funded through different sources.
The combined salary for the new jobs would be between $1.16 million and $1.24 million annually.
Paul Armstrong, the chair of the Visit Ballarat board of directors, said current employees had seen the job descriptions. He also said Visit Ballarat's future was still unclear. "There's ongoing communication between industry people and council to get their thoughts on what the next version of Visit Ballarat will look like," he told The Courier.
The decision to bring tourism marketing services back in house proved unpopular among many tourism operators, who criticised the council for a lack of communication and consultation.
However, the council has robustly defended its decision saying it was due to a variety of factors, including visitor numbers, market share, and "competing priorities for public money."
[Update, 08.08.19.Editor's note: The City of Ballarat has clarified that the program director role is not linked to the Visit Ballarat changes and was due to be advertised in due course anyway.]
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