THE SLIM Dusty Centre at Kempsey attracted almost 50 events and an estimated 30,000 visitors in 2019, making it a major drawcard for the region.
Next year is shaping up to be an even bigger year for the centre due to some keynote events and improvements being made to make it the function centre of choice.
Federal Member for Cowper, Pat Conaghan, said he was pleased a Federal Government grant of $18,300 would help the centre strengthen its function capability and ultimately deliver benefits to the Kempsey region.
"Since the Slim Dusty Centre opened in 2015, it is estimated to have attracted an extra 100,000 people into Kempsey and the Macleay Valley," Mr Conaghan said.
"Slim Dusty is a national icon and showcasing his achievements in the travelling exhibition gallery and Dusty's Dinner Camp Café gives visitors an extra incentive to visit Kempsey.
"I'm pleased to be announcing our investment of $18,300 as it will help the centre managers take the facility to the next level."
Slim Dusty Centre chief executive officer Louis Calleja thanked the Government on behalf of the centre's staff, board and the Slim Dusty family and said the Stronger Communities Grant would help him improve the centre's conference experience to attract larger-scale functions and events.
"This grant will help us improve our food service areas and audio visual equipment so we will be able to support even larger events in 2020 and provide a more sophisticated experience," Mr Calleja said.
"We want to attract even more people from outside the region by providing modern facilities for conferences, gala functions and product launches. In this way the region as a whole benefits from the offering.
"When more people come to Kempsey to visit the Slim Dusty Centre, there is a flow-on effect to other businesses in the region. People will also often stay in Kempsey's motels and hotels and visit its cafes, restaurants and shops.
"They can also experience the wealth of historic and well established Australian iconic businesses that are in the region including Slim Dusty's boyhood homestead situated in the Nulla. So any improvement here helps the town too."
Further Stronger Communities Program Round 5 grants are expected to be awarded in the coming weeks. The Federal Government has invested a total of $22.65 million nation-wide in Round 5 grants. The electorate of Cowper is expected to receive grants worth a total of $150,000.