Edward Mandla
Mardi Gras 40th Anniversary Funding

Published On: 25/08/2014

In 2018, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will celebrate its 40th Anniversary.

It is an incredible milestone. And a milestone that will be able to be shared with many that were there from the start.

But its also the year that the destiny of the Mardi Gras may change forever, it we play it right.

The parade is planned to go downhill from Flinders Street, onto Liverpool Street and to the new Darling Harbour. Think about that for a moment. The possibilities are endless.

The opportunity for the Mardi Gras to reboot and to have one of the worlds largest diversity celebrations at Darling Harbour with its new facilities, waterfront with world class facilities gives us a chance to take on Rio.

But were not going to get there with small minded thinking. As a businessman, Im interested in revenue and growth.

The vibe I got from this item last week was that Mardi Gras seems to be a loss making yawn for the City of Sydney and that we were politely going through the motions.

The papers talk about increased costs and the need to rein them in. But nothing ever grows through cost cutting.

We stereotyped the Mardi Gras as a typical struggling organisation that is tactical and we nicely offered to give them a leg up with $20K to do a plan and to find someone else to ante up another $20K.

$40K for a plan isnt going to get us to take on Rio. It wont set the organisation up for self-sufficiency either.

The Mardi Gras brings in 29,000 much needed unique arrivals to our city.

What I want to know is, what is the real potential and what could we do in 2018?

To really help the Mardi Gras, we need to view it from a return on investment perspective. We need to paint a picture of the ultimate 2018 Darling Harbour Mardi Gras and work backwards.

My job as Councillor is to help set a high-level theme and strategic direction for staff to energetically turn into a reality. Were not going to get there with $40,000 or $400,000. We need to be thinking 7 digits if we are serious. Thats why Im moving the following amendment:

(F) Council request the CEO to work with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to explore and model the impact a $1,000,000 sponsorship of the 2018 40th Anniversary Mardi Gras would have on tourism, business, the local economy and self sufficiency of the organisation moving forward.

Edward Mandla
August 2014

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