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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Keilor Gift Pulled Due to Funding Cuts

Keilor Gift Pulled Due to Funding Cuts

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1 Keilor Gift Pulled Due to Funding Cuts on Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:01 pm



Next year's Keilor Gift pulled due to funding cuts

by  Alexandra Laskie  
Brimbank & North West Star Weekly
October 18, 2016

The 2017 Keilor Gift has been canned.

The 2017 Keilor Gift has been called off and the future of the 83-year-old footrace hangs in the balance after a funding cut.

Keilor Gift organising committee president Hayden Kelly said Brimbank council had withdrawn 50 per cent of its funding for the 2017 event, and indicated further cuts were likely.

“To be frank, we’re contemplating whether [future] events will be worthwhile,” Mr Kelly said. “The overwhelming feeling at the moment is one of disappointment.

“Typically we’d have 600 entrants and 30-to-40 wood choppers. But it … doesn’t tick the council’s boxes,” he said.

Keilor Gift organising committee secretary Malcolm Berg notified sponsors on Tuesday that February’s event had been cancelled.

2015 Keilor Gift winner Luke Stevens

He said Brimbank council informed the committee last month it had reduced funding for the event which was to be held on February 11.

“This was both unexpected and very late in the organising process for us to develop alternative funding plans, given the substantial reduction,” Mr Berg said.

He said an “unsatisfactory” meeting with the council’s leisure and community services team demonstrated council officers’ lack of awareness about the importance of the event for the Keilor community, and led the committee to call off next year’s gift, “and reconsider holistically the future of the event.”

“The funding reduction came unannounced,” he said. “It is clear to the committee that this decision was made without consideration of the history and nature of the Keilor Gift and the community nature of the event.

“The Keilor Gift event is far reaching and is for the whole community, this is not just a sporting event.”

The race attracts some of the best sprinters in the country and between 3000 and 5000 spectators. It is the first major race on the professional running circuit and is used as a benchmark for many athletes.

Niddrie MP Ben Carroll said he was shocked to learn the event had been called off.

Last February it looked like it was going from strength to strength, it’s a real shock,” he said.

“There’s no rhyme or reason here, it’s a local institution and it needs to be supported by government, the community and the private sector.”

Mr Carroll said he would be contacting the council to discuss having the funds restored.

Brimbank council could not comment because it is in caretaker mode until this month’s local government elections.

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