The announcement of $25 million in additional Federal Government funding for agricultural shows and field days cancelled by COVID has been welcomed by Senator Perin Davey and the Agricultural Societies Council of NSW.
Senator Davey said the funding, announced by Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, recognises the important role agricultural shows play in regional communities and the financial impact COVID has had.
“We have seen shows across the state cancelled – from Berrigan in the south to Casino in the north, from small celebrations like the Batlow Show, to large events like the National Field Days in Orange – every one of these cancellations has come at a cost,” she said.
“Annual shows are the key fundraising opportunity for local agricultural societies. They fund more than just for the show itself however – they also allow for grounds maintenance and upgrades as well.
“We must never forget the critical role that show societies and showgrounds have played during times of natural disasters.
“During the recent bushfires, our shows provided a vital focal point for regional communities, throughout one of the most challenging times in living memory.
“This funding is absolutely crucial to keeping these shows going, so that our communities have an opportunity to come together and celebrate the benefits of living in the regions.”
Mr Tim Capp, President, Agricultural Societies Council of NSW, also welcomed the Federal Government’s support.
“The funding support will provide our predominately volunteer-based show societies a much-needed lifeline ensuring consideration and planning for an AgShow in 2022 to begin,” Mr Capp said.
“AgShows are an iconic event providing community connections and wellbeing as well as encouraging agricultural education through competitions and benchmarking of agricultural pursuits and produce.”
The funding follows the cancellation of more than 700 show and field day events across Australia over the last two years, which has seen many shows hit by significant financial losses.
Senator Davey said importantly, the Government support package also includes measures recognising the particular challenges faced by showmen and women.
“I’ve worked with Minister Littleproud on this issue, and the way this funding has been tailored acknowledges the significant cash flow pressures facing showmen and women,” Senator Davey said.
“We know that we have to get this right, or we face an exodus of highly skilled participants from local our shows, and that would be a huge blow for our regional communities.
“I’d really encourage local shows, their committees and showmen and women to get stuck in and apply for this funding immediately.”
The Supporting Showmen and Women program has been extended to provide an additional $4 million and will run to 30 June 2022.
Guidelines for the second round of the Program will be announced in the coming weeks.
Further information can be found online at Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days – Department of Agriculture.