Local shows cancelled because of COVID-19 will receive a slice of $34 million Australian Government funding to help ensure they can bounce back next year, Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O'Brien announced.
Mr O'Brien said the Fraser Coast Agricultural Show Society, the Gympie District Show Society and the Noosa Show would receive payments under the Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program, with the payment set to arrive before Christmas.
"Agricultural shows are a major event in Wide Bay communities, and I am pleased that local Shows in Maryborough, Gympie and Noosa will be able to access this funding to help get them through this tough period, and in a strong position to host again in 2021," Mr O'Brien said.
Fraser Coast Agriculture Show Society will receive $24,030.11, Gympie District Show Society will receive $66,980.69, and Noosa A.H & I Society (Noosa Show) will receive $34,985.54.
"Shows and field days are uniquely Australian, and as well as being an important social event, they provide huge economic spin-offs for local communities as well as creating new opportunities for the businesses and services who exhibit," Mr O'Brien said.
"They also help our farmers' maintain a competitive and creative edge by providing an outlet to share new ideas, new technologies and new ways of working.
"Next year is looking so much brighter, and this support will be fantastic boost for our Wide Bay communities, our volunteers, families and school kids."
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the funding package was launched to reimburse eligible costs for shows and field days who had to cancel because of COVID-19.
"Today I am pleased to announce that 378 shows and field days—including Fraser Coast, Gympie and Noosa —have been approved for funding to help ease cash-flow pressures," Minister Littleproud said.
"The Government is keen to ensure show societies and field day organisers are in the best shape possible to continue in 2021. These events bring our families and farmers together, build community spirit and help bridge the divide between country and city."
Chair of Agricultural Shows Australia Dr Rob Wilson said show societies forced to cancel in 2020 were positive about hosting again next year.
"This Australian Government support has helped provide certainty and a renewed sense of optimism ahead of 2021 after a difficult year for everyone, especially our 50,000 volunteers," Dr Wilson said.
"With some states already giving the go-ahead to shows next year, subject to COVID conditions being met, this funding will ensure hundreds of societies can start planning now."
Secretary of the Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia Wendy Franklin welcomed the fast turnaround of applicants' approvals.
"Getting this money out the door is going to be a fantastic Christmas present for many of our event organisers," Mrs Franklin said.
"Even if it's to help cover costs such as rates, insurance and telecommunications, this support will go a long way towards ensuring next year we can bounce back bigger and better."
For more information click onto the Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program webpage here.
- Agricultural shows and field days contribute more than $1 billion to the economy each year but rely largely on financial assistance from supporters and attendees.
- There are 580 agricultural shows nationwide, which attract six million visitors and are serviced by 50,000 volunteers.
- The Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program funding is being provided under the $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund for regions, communities and industry sectors disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
- Successful applicants are eligible to claim reimbursements on costs including bank fees, utilities, rates, insurance, fire alarms and equipment, cleaning supplies, telecommunications, IT system licensing costs, website costs, state/national show body affiliation fees and rent.
- The program is part of a broader $60 million agricultural support package that includes the $20 million Regional Agricultural Shows Development program.