Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey has said a $2.7 million boost for agricultural field days to deal with the fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic will be a huge relief for the organisers and communities that host these events.
Mr Ramsey said this $2.7 million announcement is in addition to the $36.3 million previously announced to support agricultural show societies.
“The support for shows was designed to bridge an income gap for societies forced to cancel their annual shows as a result of COVID-19 and has been warmly welcomed. However, it immediately posed the question as to why agricultural field days should not be treated the same,” he said.
“Our rural contingency in the Parliament have supported the case that field days should be provided with a similar support package as local shows because in so many cases they provide the function only in many cases on a much larger scale.
“in Grey the most obvious cancellation has been the Eyre Peninsula Field Days, originally scheduled for August, then pushed back to late September as the pandemic unfolded and then sadly finally abandoned.
“Field Days, whether they run or not, incur ongoing operating costs like; power, water, rates, administration and insurance and if their event is cancelled, they have a greatly reduced income to meet these costs.
“Under this scheme committees will be able to apply for re-imbursement for their operating costs which will put them on a level keel to come back and stage next year’s event.”
Mr Ramsey said that as the EP Field Days were a biennial event alternating with YP Field Days, he will be working with the committee to seek recognition of the two-year period of expenses they will face before the next scheduled field day in 2022.
“This initiative is part of our Government’s $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund, which is supporting regions, communities and industry sectors severely affected by the pandemic,” he said.
“Ag shows and field days are an integral part of the fabric of life in regional Australia and are an important way to bring people together and showcase all the great achievements of rural Australians.”
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program will provide a one-off reimbursement to agricultural show societies and agricultural field day organisers impacted by COVID-19.
“This funding supports not only the larger agricultural field days but also the smaller regional ones because we acknowledge the role these events play in supporting on-farm innovation, productivity and profitability,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Field days hold immense social and economic value for local rural and regional communities, many of whom are doing it tough because of COVID-19.”
An additional $100,000 one-off grant will be provided to the Association of Agricultural Field Days Australasia to support its annual conference scheduled for 30 April 2021 to 2 May 2021 and provide training and assistance for members on recovery management planning.
For more information, visit www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/infrastructure/supporting-ag-shows.
- Field days provide income to local contractors of more $1.8 million and economic value add to the Australian economy of more than $100 million.
- Community organisations like P&Cs, sport clubs, men’s sheds and local emergency services receive income of over $1 million in providing services such as set-up and car parking.
- The Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program 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.
- The $2.7 million for Field Days is in addition to the $36.3 million for Agricultural Shows.
- Field Days could be eligible to claim reimbursement 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.
Media Contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith 08 86331744 September 2, 2020