Wide Bay's agricultural show societies can now apply for a share of $10 million in one-off payments from the Morrison Government to help ensure "the show goes on" in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien said local shows could receive reimbursement from $10,000 to up to $70,000 under the Supporting Agricultural Shows program to help them recover from the financial impacts of cancellations due to COVID-19.
"This is fantastic news for Wide Bay's many hardworking show society volunteers who were unable to stage a show for their communities this year due to the restrictions," Mr O'Brien said.
"I have worked closely with show societies in Wide Bay, including the Gympie Show Society, to help support them through this pandemic, and I am pleased this funding is being provided to help ensure these important events can continue.
"I encourage local show societies to check their eligibility and to get their applications in when the grants open. I'm keen to ensure that our show societies in Wide Bay receive their share of funding.
The Liberals and Nationals Government is reimbursing shows for costs incurred in 2020 and funds will be paid in 2021. Funding is also being provided to support the cancelled agricultural shows in capital cities meet sunk costs.
"This funding for the Royal Shows is important for Wide Bay as well because the Ekka is a major opportunity for our regional people to showcase their produce and livestock to a wider audience," Mr O'Brien said.
The $36 million Supporting Agricultural Shows program comprises three components:
- $10 million in operational support for local show societies. Shows will be able to claim up to $10,000 if their attendance last year was less than 2,000, up to $15,000 if their attendance was between 2,000 and 4,999 and up to $70,000 if their attendance was over 5,000.
- $26 million for Royal Agricultural Show societies – to cover fixed costs in 2020 and some incurred but unrecoverable costs
- $100,000 in operational support for Agricultural Shows Australia's Rural ambassador program.
This funding complements the Australian Government's existing $20 million Regional Agricultural Show Development Grants Program and will be provided under the $1 billion Relief and Recovery Fund, which is supporting regions, communities and industry sectors that have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus crisis.
In total, the Australian Government is spending $36 million to support agricultural show societies recover from the effects of COVID-19.
"I encourage the Queensland State Government to also make a contribution to help agricultural shows survive the impact of COVID-19 because of the positive impact they have on their economies," Mr O'Brien said.
For more information on the Fund, visit https://www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs/covid-19-relief-and-recovery-fund.aspx.