Festival to boost regions

Mitchell Woodcock and Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
East Perth's Scott Jones tries to take a big mark.
Camera IconEast Perth's Scott Jones tries to take a big mark. Credit: Mitchell Woodcock

A potential economic boost and a host of community events are incentives from the WA Football Commission for regional local governments to apply to host AFL pre-season or WAFL fixtures.

The WAFC will bring the WA Regional Festival of Football to a region in the lead-up to a big football fixture, which will include talent sessions, coaching clinics, school visits, umpiring workshops, club development seminars and football forums.

Through the proposed model, the commission hopes the festival will help bring a tourism boost to the regions, with last year’s WAFL game in Geraldton between Claremont and East Fremantle reportedly bringing in $1.07 million to the economy.

Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association chief executive Sharna Kearney said large sporting events tended to have a tangible flow-on benefit for tourism.

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“The WAFL season falls in a typically quieter visitation per-iod, so a game that would bring down players, supporters and families would be welcomed by local business,” she said.

The once-regular WAFL fixtures in regional WA are now no longer funded by the State Government, but the WAFC has introduced the WA Festival of Football to help keep high-level games being played outside the metropolitan area.

The WAFC is also interested in exploring opportunities with local governments to connect and engage with local artisans, tourism, art and culture organisations, and food vendors to make the festival a wider community attraction.

WAFC youth, community and game development executive manager Troy Kirkham said the WA Regional Festival of Football was an opportunity for the commission to deliver greater service to regional communities by collaborating with local stakeholders to put on exciting events with tangible community benefits.

“Not only will the visiting fans, players, officials and support staff deliver economic outcomes for the region, but high-profile players and coaches can be engaged to promote key attractions to support local tourism strategies,” he said.

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