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The future of the annual Diggers and Dealers mining conference is uncertain, with Kalgoorlie’s conference centre struggling to keep its doors open.
The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder says it cannot afford to keep the Goldfields Arts Centre open and it has been refused State Government funding.
According to PerthNow the centre needs $9 million in urgent work and at least another $8 million to cover ongoing costs, and if the funds aren’t found Diggers and Dealers may move to Perth.
According to the ABC Diggers and Dealers board member Graham Thomson said while the event belonged in Kalgoorlie organisers would have no choice but to move it if the town’s arts centre closed.
"I’ve got to tell you that would be a very hard call for every member of the board of Diggers and Dealers because it was born here, it belongs here and for it to have to leave, because of the fact parties are unable to reach an agreement on an iconic venue like the arts centre, would be a real shame," he said.
ABC News reports the current operator, Curtin University, finalises its contract this year and unless new management is found the centre will close.
WA Premier Colin Barnett told reporters he was not aware of Kalgoorlie’s funding request for the centre but the Government would consider it.
He said Diggers and Dealers was "very much identified with being in Kalgoorlie".
Diggers and Dealers is one of the most important mining conferences in Australia and has been held in Kalgoorlie for almost 20 years.
Earlier this month Reed Mining Events announced Australia’s largest mining exhibition — AIMEX — would be held next year instead of 2015 due to "overwhelming demand" from the industry.