2018 was a time of horrid drought out in Cobar. The Eurobodalla Council decided it would host "Raindance" across three shire venues in November 2018 to send much needed financial support to those who were doing it hard on the land and in Cobar township.
Our wonderful local entertainers gifted their performance time, huge donations were made to be auctioned and the $25 tickets sold like hotcakes, raising $44,000 for the weekend.
At the time the Mayor of Eurobodalla, Liz Innes promoted the event saying “The Eurobodalla Raindance is about showing our support and doing everything we can to help our brothers and sisters in need.” Disappointingly though, soon after, Eurobodalla Council then moved to only give Cobar 50% of the funds raised. Fortunately however Councillor McGinlay, under fire from his fellow councillors for daring to challenge the recommendation, managed to bring the total donation from "Raindance" to 75% with the remaining 25% donated to local farmers.
That 25% has only just been distributed, nearly two and a half years later, to bushfire affected farmers as a second thought and only after Council was placed under extreme pressure to reveal how the missing $11,000 was being distributed. A Council spokesperson responded to a question from The Beagle on June 17th 2020 advising:
“We have $11,025.00 remaining from the Raindance fundraiser. These funds are restricted for use in future projects that support the shire’s farmers as we move into our fourth year of drought.” The question has to be raised "If the shire was in its fourth year of drought in 2020 and the "Raindance" event in 2018 was to provide immediate assistance to "support local farmers and the Cobar community affected by drought", as was widely publicised, then why was there any money at all remaining?" The "Raindance" funds were never intended to be "restricted for use in future projects that support the shire’s farmers.
Pot calling the kettle black? On June 3rd, 2020, the Mayor told Sophie Longden of ABC South East (time stamp 12:38) that she was "getting more and more disappointed with Red Cross" in regard to their "holding of funds donated by people for bushfire relief" saying "It has to stop, and I think we all, as a community, need to put more pressure on them to get that money out, get it out now".
"People didn't donate to charities for it to be withheld for future disasters" Mayor Liz Innes, June 3rd, 2020
Vale Cobar mayor Lilliane Brady, NSW's longest-serving female mayor, aged 90. Photo: Cobar Shire Council Facebook.