By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS
A LATIN American festival has won a $3000 one-off boost on top of its Greater Dandenong Council sponsorship grant allocated last month.
At Monday’s council meeting, councillors approved the extra funding for this year’s Chilean Latin American September Festival.
The festival was allocated $12,000 out of the $132,550 Sponsorships Program and Community Support Grants Program in June.
The motion’s proponent, councillor Maria Sampey, argued that the festival was entitled to $15,000 – the same level as allocated to the Tet festival.
It would also help the festival’s organiser, the Latin American Friendship Fonda la Clinica of Victoria, to meet steeply-rising hiring costs of $60,000 at Sandown Racecourse.
Cr Sampey said the festival catered for people from 13 countries and was more popular than the Dandenong Show – which received $20,000 from the sponsorship program.
“I know it’s only a paltry little amount I’m asking,” Cr Sampey said.
“What I’m trying to show is sometimes there’s inconsistencies in the way grant funding is awarded.”
In support, Cr Jim Memeti said he didn’t want Greater Dandenong to lose the “fantastic event”, one of the “biggest on our calendar”.
Cr John Kelly, one of three opposing councillors, said the funding boost would be unfair to other grant applicants.
“Council has set a criteria for grants. If we wanted to change that we should have a look at the criteria.”
He noted that councillors had an opportunity to “put their input” at a briefing session before the program’s release.