truffle trouble – end of the fest

Parky paddock

After 6 successful years the Mundaring Truffle Festival was cancelled suddenly yesterday. News of the shock cancellation first came to light with the announced withdrawal of 4 advertised Mundaring Shire jobs, including the event director and 3 event assistants.

“It is with great regret we announce the cancellation of the 2013 Mundaring Truffle Festival. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

Mundaring Shire CEO Jonathan Throssell defended the cancellation in a press release and on ABC local radio, “The previous funding agreement for the Festival included an agreed indemnity clause which was conditioned by fault. We are at a loss as to why the State is now seeking to impose unconditional fault.”

It’s widely accepted that the new WA Government/ WA Tourism/ EventsCorp sponsorship conditions are fall out from the ‘Racing the Planet’ disaster in which several competitors were caught in a bushfire in the Kimberley. Severe injuries to competitors triggered legal wrangling and exposed vulnerabilities with the WA Government sponsorship deal. The state government has so far provided an ex-gratia payment of $450,000 to each victim.

Truffle Festival founder and renowned Mundaring Chef Alain Fabregues was shocked and disappointed by the news. ” It’s about village not about city, it’s about forest and the place was absolutely perfect, you know for that. So many chefs, for 6 years in a row have been giving their time freely to give all those classes and all that, it’s so sad after so much time to not be able to fly with it anymore”, he told Geoff Hutchison’s morning radio show.

Chef Fabregues believes the ‘red tape’ is so thick it has strangled the festival. “You know, to put a sign up across the street for the Truffle Festival costs $12,000. In France you would have two kids on each side of the street.”

Mr Throssell said the Shire could not expose residents and ratepayers to the legal liability for the festival.




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