Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said he is pleased to announce the Australian Government is spending $36 million to support agricultural show societies in recovering from the effects of COVID-19.
Local rural and regional show societies who have made the decision to cancel this year’s event will be eligible for a share of $10 million in Australian Government one-off payments to help them recover from the impacts of cancellations.
Mr Ramsey said eligible local shows could receive a reimbursement of up to $70,000 under the Supporting Agricultural Shows program depending on the number of attendees they normally expect.
“This is fantastic news for the Grey’s many hardworking show society volunteers who, because of COVID-19 have abandoned plans for their annual show this year,” he said.
“Shows with attendances less than 2000 will be eligible for up to $10k, for 5000 attendees, $15k and those with annual attendances of more than 5000, up to $70k.
“The Government is reimbursing shows for costs incurred in 2020 and funds will be paid in 2021.
“I encourage local show societies to check their eligibility and apply when the grants open.
“Funding is also being provided to support the cancelled agricultural shows in our capital cities. The Royal Shows are very important events for both the country and the city and it is vital we ensure they are in good shape to stage next year’s events.
“I have a number of ag shows in Grey that have been integral parts of their communities for more than a century, are well supported and are part of our cultural identity.
“It has been a severe blow to these communities to cancel their annual show and the security provided by this offer will be a great comfort to those who sit on the local committees.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt agricultural shows, with most expected to be cancelled for 2020 in the interest of public health and social distancing measures.
“Agricultural shows are part of the fabric of regional Australia, showcasing everything positive about our communities and local industries,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“These shows are estimated to contribute $1 billion to the economy each year and attract 6 million patrons annually, supported by 50,000 volunteers.
“They create social bonds and improve mental health in parts of regional Australia where distance, drought, bushfires and now COVID-19 have caused significant hardship and distress.”
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the Supporting Agricultural Shows program will provide a one-off reimbursement to agricultural show societies to deal with cash flow pressures caused by COVID-19 related cancellation of agricultural shows.
“This funding supports not only the big Royal Shows in each capital but right down to the small country show, because we acknowledge the role shows play in connecting agriculture and regional Australia to metropolitan Australians,” Minister Littleproud said.
“There is a real risk if we had not helped that not only could Royal Shows cease to function but also many of those small shows, all of which are run by volunteers would fold.
“In addition, $100,000 is allocated to support the Rural Ambassador Program, which will enable the vital community work the ambassadors perform in regional Australia to continue.
“I encourage my State and Territory counterparts to also make a contribution to help agricultural shows.
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.
For more information on the Fund, visit https://www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs/covid-19-relief-and-recovery-fund.aspx.
Media Contact: Leonie Lloyd-Smith 8633 1744 25 June 20