From the Namoi Valley Independent // 3 April 2018 // Article & Photo: Billy Jupp

HIGH school, TAFE and University students are being encouraged to present their best innovation projects at the Gunnedah Show Society’s up coming Energy, Innovation and Mining expo (EIMEX).

The proposed expo will have a specific focus on innovation, including an innovation award for eligible entrants.

“Innovation doesn’t have to do with mining or energy specifically, it can be focused on innovation in any field,” Mr Hooke said.

“It is vitally important for us to encourage young people to take part in the expo as they are our future and any opportunity to showcase their innovative ideas needs to be taken.”

Mr Hooke said planning for the expo is on track with the EIMEX committee to meet with Gunnedah Shire Council in the coming days to discuss the expo’s business plan and budget.

“Overall things are coming along really well,” he said.

“The first exhibitor has been locked away and we are madly trying to chase down some high profile people to help open the expo.

“At this stage we will be meeting with the council executive later in the week with a fresh budget and business plan.”

The additional meeting follows a presentation by Gunnedah Show Society representative George Avard at last month’s council meeting at the Curlewis Community Hall which sparked debate from councillors about supporting the expo.

Cr Owen Hasler told the meeting he believed more information was needed before committing to support the expo.

“I think we need to be insistent that organisations who seek council’s support on such matters have the necessary back-up such as business plans and budgets,” Cr Hasler said.

“We don’t want to set a precedent that funds will be given without due diligence and while I understand time is a factor in this request for support, I am confident the support will still be there in a month’s time.”

Mr Hooke told The Namoi Valey Independent he appreciated council’s decision to wait and have EIMEX submit a reviewed business plan and budget.

“Having to wait a couple of weeks does make timing a little bit tight but we all understand that when it comes to public money council must do it’s due diligence,” Mr Hooke said.

“Our goals and targets will be set in the business paper but at the moment our current goal is to raise funds for advertising across a variety of formats to hopefully attract more exhibitors.

“There is a level of urgency involved as a lot of major companies will be finalising their budgets for the following year and hopefully they we can have the advertising in place to ensure they commit for the expo.”

The EIMEX committee will next meet on April 3 ahead of the business meeting with Gunnedah Shire Council.