ORANGE has enjoyed little luck recently with federal government funding, with a $20,000 grant for a LGBTIQ festival the only successful application in $16.8 million-worth of requests.
General manager Garry Styles said there were four projects before the Building Better Regions fund and missed out on $4.2 million for the Mount Canobolas mountain bike trail centre, $7.8 million for the CBD facelift and $4.6 million for the southern feeder road.
Commercial services director Mark Burdack said the festival, expected to be called Way Out West, would support accommodation, dining and other businesses and a similar festival in Victoria attracted 25,000 visitors.
The event would start next year with a community-based committee of organisers.
"We're seeing festivals like this established in Lismore, Townsville, Wagga Wagga and those festivals have been highly successful both in terms of social inclusion, economic development and tourism generation," he said.
Councillor Scott Munro said the money should not be directed at one group.
"I think we should put this to better use and have a more family-orientated approach," he said.
General manager Garry Styles then interjected, saying the council ran many events with different targets.
"This is not an appropriate venue to be differentiating in that way and I would suggest we don't pursue that line of discussion," he said.
Councillor Joanne McRae said the festival was an opportunity to bring the "pink dollar" to Orange.
"It will mean there'll be desperate need for more camping facilities for all the lesbians in their caravans and their tents, there will be demand for our high-class accommodation for the Eastern Suburbs gay men who will have a fantastic time, but there will also be many people who come with their families," she said.
"There's estimates that 10 per cent of the population are gay ... so perhaps we might consider in this room it's not just myself, but many others who quietly make their decisions about who they love and indeed in which cities they spend their holidays, and we might see this as an opportunity, not a threat."
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