Labor has confirmed it is scrapping funding for the Agriculture Shows Development Grants Program in New South Wales.
In Estimates week, Agriculture Minister, Murray Watt, said $14 million in funding for Ag shows was being “reprioritised.”
Deputy Leader of The Nationals, Senator Perin Davey, said Estimates had sadly proved Labor was taking even more money out of regional and rural New South Wales, with infrastructure funding for Ag shows now gone.
“We already know Labor has taken billions away from the regions, scrapping water and major infrastructure commitments,” Senator Davey said.
“But now they are taking away the Agricultural Shows Development Grants Program funding which was used to improve infrastructure for Ag shows in New South Wales.
“It is another kick in the guts to these communities which are struggling,” Senator Davey said.
The funding was on top of $20 million previously provided for 122 shows to build new pavilions and exhibition areas, install seating, shade and weather protection, upgrade accessibility, improve public safety and animal welfare and upgrade power and energy efficiency.
“Ag shows generate a huge $1 billion annually in economic benefits, promoting new technologies and high-quality produce,” Senator Davey said.
“For some communities and charities, agriculture shows are the financial boost they need to get them through the year.
“They are also the driver for innovation and education, showcasing Australia’s food and fibre and supporting tourism.
“And as we have seen this year, they are also an essential facility for emergency services to use as evacuation centres, given the range of facilities available at a showground.
“Labor says the funding will be redirected for other Government priorities.
“But what is more important at the present time than investing in our regional communities who have faced multiple flood events on top of bushfires and droughts.
“Labor needs to explain why it doesn’t prioritise regional and rural Australia. It has abandoned our regional communities and taken much-needed infrastructure away,” Senator Davey said.