From the Namoi Valley Independent // 28 February 2018 // Article & Photo: Billy Jupp
THE Gunnedah Show Society’s plans to host an energy and mining expo (EIMEX) in November this year are on track as they enter the next stage of planning for the event.
Gunnedah Show Society members first raised ambitions for EMIEX at a meeting with Gunnedah Shire Council, Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson and other community groups in January where they sought expressions of interest and advice.
EIMEX media representative Rob Hooke said there had been a lot of interest in the event so far.
“We are going into the second stage of planning now and that is sending out expressions of interest,” Mr Hooke said.
“At this stage we don’t have any exhibitors signed up and saying they’re coming but we have had a lot of interest so far.”
Mr Hooke said the expo would be a “major community event”.
“The sites have been established, we have 28 indoor sites and about 80 outdoor sights,” he said.
“It’s hoped that the event will be an opportunity for community groups such as Lions, Rotary, CWA, APEX and alike to be out and about and give them a chance to fundraise during the event to create a real community atmosphere.”
Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey said council has been kept informed about the event.
“Last week the councillors and I received a presentation from the orgainisation and it was very clear from the presentation that their has already been a lot of work done so far,” Cr Chaffey said.
“Gunnedah is placed in a very unique position where we see a burgeoning renewable energy industry with a lot of solar projects about to come into construction in our area soon and the local mining industry that continues to grow in strength leaves us well positioned to host an event like this.”
Orginator of the concept George Avard said he was “amazed by the amount of support” the project has received thus far.
“It’s early days but at this stage it’s looking like it might be bigger than Ben Hur,” Mr Avard said.
“I think a lot of the support has come off the back of Murray O’Keefe’s idea to include innovation into the expo which will also allow for agriculture to be showcased as well.”
Mr Avard said he hoped to see between 6000 and 8000 patrons attend the event.
“It will be a good opportunity for the community to cash in as there will be workshops, conferences and hopefully a high profile guest speaker,” he said.
“We still need more man power to help make this happen and I encourage anyone in the community or any of our terrific community groups to get involved.”
Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce’s Michael Broekman also encouraged the community to support the expo.
“It’s an exciting project and the sort of project that will help put Gunnedah on the map,” Mr Broekman said.
“The chamber is fully supportive of the project and we want to encourage the community to get on board as well.”
Cr Chaffey said council is in favour of supporting events that help boost local tourism.
“Anything we as a council can do in the sphere of tourism and bringing people into our region to support the businesses that are here, I think it something that is very proactive that I support myself,” he said.
“Hopefully this event will be a regional event and attract more visitors from the region and become more than just a Gunnedah event.”
Mr Hooke said the next stage of planning for the event would include seeking seed funding and sponsorship.
“We are still seeking some initial funding to get going,” Mr Hooke said.
“As well as that initial seed funding, we will also be seeking a naming sponsor similar to what AgQuip has going on with Commonwealth Bank.
“Also, we will be working hard to get out some expressions of interest and hopefully begin lining up some potential exhibitors.”
Any interested exhibitors are encouraged to contact EMIEX via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.