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International events attended by Tourism and Events Queensland executives under scrutiny
A trip by Tourism and Events Queensland executives to the Burning Man festival in the US state of Nevada is under scrutiny.
Devoted to artistic self-expression, the highly successful nine-day festival in the Black Rock Desert takes its name from its culmination, the symbolic ritual burning of a large wooden effigy ('the Man') that traditionally occurs at the end of the event.
With about 70,000 people attending the event each year, Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) Head of Group Events John Drummond Montgomery and Head of Events Operations Rebecca Mantle visited Burning Man as part of tentative plans to develop a similar event in Outback Queensland.
Documents show the pair "met with key international event partners" and went "to gain insights into current trends, ideas, themes and logistics of a large-scale festival".
With newly released Queensland Government figures showing that the trip cost $27,060, the spending has been questioned.
As reported by the ABC, Drummond Montgomery earns a salary of $317,000 and took at least three trips in the past financial year, including an $11,000 events mission to the USA with Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones and a $45,000 trip to Thailand with two other public servants for the annual SportAccord conference.
Following the SportAccord visit, the Gold Coast secured the 2019 edition of the conference.
Queensland Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander slammed the cost of the Burning Man trip, stating "I don't know about Burning Man, but it's definitely burning taxpayers' money."
A TEQ spokeswoman said the executives were researching for a similar festival they hoped would be launched in outback Queensland.
The spokesperson told the ABC "Burning Man is a benchmark event for large-scale festivals held in remote locations.
"Two TEQ representatives went to examine aspects of the event delivery to inform an Outback event concept we are currently developing.
"That included event logistics, safety and communications.
"TEQ is always looking for opportunities to grow the state's major event calendar — which is currently valued at $780 million and we are looking to grow that to $1.5 billion in value for the State by 2025."
The spokeswoman said the visit also included meeting with stakeholders in Nashville and organisers of the World Surfing League to further develop events on the Gold Coast.
Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art sent 17 staffers overseas on trips across a number of countries including Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, Turkey and even Iran, costing taxpayers more than $43,000 last year.
Images courtesy of the Burning Man festival.
5th October 2018 - Gold Coast secures top international events award
2nd October 2018 - Gold Coast Marathon delivers $28.5 million into Queensland economy
1st October 2018 - Gold Coast Commonwealth Games fell short of planned revenue benchmark
30th September 2018 - Deni Ute Muster 2018 marks 20 years
6th September 2018 - Gold Coast to host 2019 SportAccord World Sport and Business Summit
30th August 2018 - Gold Coast Commonwealth Games organising committee ends operations
22nd August 2018 - Ekka attracts growing international visitor numbers
9th August 2018 - Bumper crowds expected at historic 60th Mount Isa Rodeo
10th July 2018 - New Brisbane cycling festival builds on Commonwealth Games legacy
23rd June 2018 - IRONMAN to be staged in Cairns for five more years
4th January 2018 - Safety a priority at 2018 Summernats
15th August 2014 - Social media toolkit for regional events
16th June 2014 - Queensland regional events boosted by $500,000 funding
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