Yelarbon rural silos

Yelarbon Silo Art Project to Continue

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24 April 2019

Council continues Yelarbon silo art project


Goondiwindi Regional Council has resolved to endorse the process of awarding the contracts for Yelarbon Silo painting to successful artists in its meeting this morning.

Cr Scheu defended the process so far and said that Council had been transparent and open throughout the consultation as per the Local Government Act (2009).

A small number of Yelarbon residents presented a petition to Council at this morning’s meeting to request a hold-off and further consultation regarding the Yelarbon silo art project. However, the petition failed to be valid on two separate counts.

This was despite Council communicating the requirements to the petition’s organiser before it was circulated, Cr Scheu confirmed. He said this raised serious questions about the petition itself and what the signatories had been asked to sign.

Councillors decided this morning that, regardless of the validity of the petition, the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Programme (DCP) Extension funding timeline simply did not allow the project to be put on hold and that it would be in the best interests of the community to go ahead with the project.

The project was approved by the Federal Government for funding through the DCP under the ‘Boost for Tourism’ criteria. The conditions of the funding require that the project is completed by 30 June  2019.

Cr Scheu said he was confident that the Yelarbon site on the Cunningham Highway would be a prime site for the Silo Art Trail following the recent success of Thallon’s silo project.

“Council has been open and transparent throughout this process and I think it’s clear to see that continuing with the project will be in the best interest of the wider community. It would be a boost for tourism not just to Yelarbon, but the whole region,” Cr Scheu said.

Until November 2018, a sub-group of the Yelarbon Community Consultative Committee (CCC) had formed with a view of painting the silos, but the project failed to come to fruition. Following consultation with GrainCorp, Council discovered that several of their criteria for the project needed to be addressed.

In addition, some unsavoury incidents from within the Yelarbon CCC regarding the project were reported. Council elected to step in as an independent body to oversee the project when it appeared that funding might become available through the DCP.

“There were rumours that the original committee had secured funding through the local Federal Member,” Cr Scheu said today. “But this has since proved to be false.”

Councillors confirmed that once Council had taken charge of the project, it had followed a transparent process as per local government requirements.

“The original artist that the subcommittee preferred was aware of the opportunity to participate,” Cr Scheu said. “They declined to take part in the project.”

Council also called for expressions of interest from the community to establish an advisory committee.

“Council sent out 24 e-mails on 15 November 2018 to a number of people on the [Yelarbon] CCC e-mail list,” Cr Scheu said. “Only four people submitted their names, and a further two people came forward at the December meeting. A number of people we contacted are now the complainants of today’s petition - yet they didn’t show any interest at the time of consultation.”

Council received four expressions of interest from artists. These were shortlisted to two finalists in consultation with the advisory committee and the shortlisted works were put on display with voting forms at two centres in Yelarbon. The Yelarbon community voted on the artwork displayed.

“The fact of the matter remains that everyone had an opportunity to participate in the transparent process,” Cr Scheu said. “Had the original artist wished to be part of the process, who knows what the outcome may have been?

“While Council acknowledges the work of the original organiser and artist, it would be impossible to get everybody on the same page when it comes to art.

“The silo project has the chance to be so good for the Goondiwindi region and members of the Yelarbon community have expressed their overwhelming support for the project. It is frustrating to get it this far and then encounter resistance,” Cr Scheu said.

Cr Scheu also said it would not be fair to the successful artist who has engaged faithfully with the project for Council to go back on their contract and employ another artist who originally decided not to be a part of the process.

The silo art project is expected to commence in Yelarbon in early May.

For more information, please contact:

Councillor Graeme Scheu
Goondiwindi Regional Council
Mobile: 0427 718 877

Published: April 24th 2019