Researcher needs bureaucratic nightmare tales

In Attractions, Australian Cultural Exports, Australian Domestic Tourism, Business Resources, Community, Government, Harmonisation, Momentum, National Headlines, New South Wales, Transport

(Newcastle Herald caption) BUST THE RED TAPE: University of Newcastle researcher Garry O’Dell is looking into the difficulties of holding festivals in the Hunter Valley. Picture: Max Mason­Hubers

TTN: Researcher and B&B owner Garry O’Dell (pictured) has been personally confronted with much difficulty as he sought to run his B&B in NSW’ Hunter Valley.

Garry is asking Australia’s tourism operators to come forward with their different stories of difficulty putting events on around Australia. The project is focussed on bureaucratic processes at council, state and federal level that hinder rather than help tourism operators.

Whilst Garry’s research project was designed to get better outcomes for the Hunter Valley, examples from around the country will likely be transferrable across regions and will result in better tourism policy outcomes.

Please send a quick email to Garry O’Dell outlining the difficulty you had with council, plus state or federal government departments, specifically any processes, by-laws etc that either slowed you down or prevented your event being held.

Fears Hunter festivals stuck in red tape

From the Newcastle Herald, Belinda Davis, 20th January 2015

A DECLINE in events and festivals across the Hunter is likely if the red tape organisers face to secure council approval is not slashed, PhD candidate Garry O’Dell said.

Mr O’Dell, a town planner turned Sunrise Bed and Breakfast owner, has been researching the decision­making process councils use to assess temporary land use applications for the past two years through the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Newcastle.

These applications have to be lodged and approved before an event can be held.

His research has found different Hunter councils use different processes to assess applications and a ‘‘regional approach’’ was needed to foster new events and market the Hunter as a package.

He said a regional strategy should be created so every Hunter council used the same criteria to assess event applications.

‘‘I can see how laws and rules can be used to stop things and I don’t think that’s fair,’’ Mr O’Dell said.

‘‘We will loose some of these events if we aren’t careful – we need to develop a better way of doing things so we can fix the Hunter Valley.

‘‘If there was a strategy you would see more diversity in the events that are held and there would be positive flow­on effects in the community.’’ Mr O’Dell said a regional approach would also stop ‘‘event pinching’’.

‘‘If a particular area does a certain event well and it is suited to that location, then it should continue there,’’ he said.

A focus group in Newcastle, Maitland, Muswellbrook and Raymond Terrace will be held later this year so Mr O’Dell can learn about the impact assessment processes have had on events.

There will be up to eight people in each group who have either obtained approvals to hold events or have had their application rejected.

The event must relate to cultural celebrations, business and trade, arts and entertaiment, sport and recreation, political and state, or private functions.

Information gathered during the session will remain anonymous.

Anyone interested in participating should email Mr O’Dell at with their preferred location. (TTN note – face to face interviews are specific to NSW’ Hunter region. Please just send examples via email to O’Dell.)

Research flyer

EVENTS IN THE HUNTER VALLEY – Event Organiser Interviews

Can you participate in the research project being conducted by Garry O’Dell, a PhD candidate from the School of Business and Law at the University of Newcastle?

The purpose of the research is to explore local government decision making processes for temporary land use for events using the Hunter Region as a case study. There are many rules, practices, regulations and definitions of events, conflicting governmental and organizational priorities and community expectations.

What would you be asked to do?

If you agree to participate, you will be asked to take part in an interview for about an hour, run by the researcher, Garry O’Dell, at a mutually convenient location.

You will be asked about your experiences of seeking decisions on an event from a Hunter Region council.

At a later time, after the completion of an interview, you may be asked to provide more information about aspects of your knowledge and experiences.

Participation is voluntary and all responses will remain anonymous.

After submitting by email your offer to be involved and your preferred location to attend an interview you may be selected to participate in mid 2015. If you are selected you will be emailed more project information.

I am interested in temporary land uses for any event which may have any of the following characteristics:

  • Land, water or air based use/event,
  • Held on private or public spaces,
  • Can be a combination of one-off, intermittent or a regular user.
  • Either a commercial or not-for-profit focus,
  • May use temporary facilities such as marques, stages, car parks, amenities and food kiosks.  On or in a space (building, land, water or air) not primarily intended for the event.
  • At the end of the event, the space is restored generally to the pre-event condition.
  • The event does not hinder the permanent development of the space.
  • Can be a mix of temporary uses e.g. camping with a concert.


Cultural Celebrations

Business and Trade

Arts & Entertainment

– festivals heritage commemorations, carnivals, mardi gras, religious rites, pilgrimages or parades.
– meetings, conventions, fairs, exhibitions, markets, corporate events or educational/scientific congresses.
– Concerts and shows, art exhibits, circuses, installations and temporary art or award ceremonies.
– One-off meets, tours, surf carnivals, fun events or sport festivals.

Sport and Recreation
Political & State – Summits, royal spectacles, VIP visits, military exercises or tattoos or political congresses. Private Functions – rites of passage, parties, reunions or weddings.

This project has been approved by the University’s Human Research Ethics Committee, Approval No. H-2014-0290. Should you have concerns about your rights as a participant in this research you can contact the Human Research Ethics Officer, Research Office, The Chancellery, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia, telephone (02) 49216333, email


T 0412439589


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