Perth Fashion Festival faces funding crisis after City of Perth cuts contribution by more than $200,000

A runway show at Perth Fashion Festival. Photo: Matt Jelonek.
A runway show at Perth Fashion Festival. Photo: Matt Jelonek.

THE 20th Perth Fashion Festival is facing a funding crisis with City of Perth set to slash its contribution by more than $200,000.

Fashion Council WA (FCWA) is seeking $275,000 or 32 per cent of the project budget, from the City, its biggest sponsor, but staff have recommended contributing only $50,000.

The value of the historical support provided to FCWA by City staff was assessed as being “too high for the visitation and economic returns expected from such a large sponsorship investment”.

The three Perth commissioners will make a decision on the funding Tuesday night.

FCWA chair Richard Poulson said there was “no chance” in securing the funding elsewhere.

“The 10 free public events scheduled, which have run since the festival started 20 years ago will have to be cancelled; 25 Perth retailers are showcased in that environment,” he said.

“The ticketed events will still go ahead.”

He said a number of retailers had called him today expressing concern and testimonials about the funding cut.

Retailer Tony Barlow said the festival was “one of the best attractions we have in the City”.

“Our sales to overseas visitors during the two weeks it runs increases dramatically and the amount of positive media coverage it receives money can’t buy,” he said.

Mr Poulson said it would be up to the board to decide whether it rejects or accepts the $50,000.

“We will try to work with the council and find a resolution and try to understand where this decision came from,” he said.

“It is inconsistent to the feedback we have received in the last year.

“We had no indication this was coming.”

He said he would seek to meet with the City before the meeting Tuesday night.

Opposition Culture and Arts spokesman Tony Krsticevic called the $50,000 funding “a disgrace”.

“In these tough economic times, the many retail shops, restaurants, bars and cafes which represent a key proportion of the City’s ratepayers rely on these events to activate the City and draw in business,” he said.

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