Shows and field days cancelled because of COVID-19 are about to get a slice of $34 million Australian Government funding to ensure they can bounce back in 2021.
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the first payments under the Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program will roll out before Christmas.
“Two months ago, I launched this significant package to reimburse eligible costs for shows and field days who had to cancel because of COVID-19,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Today I am pleased to announce that 378 shows and field days have been approved for funding and will receive almost $34 million to help ease cash-flow pressures.
“For some shows, this comes on top of support already received through the Australian Government’s $20 million Agricultural Show Development Grants program to upgrade, maintain or build new infrastructure.
“This funding supports hundreds of our regional and remote country shows and field days held throughout Australia, as well as the big Royal Shows.
“The Government is keen to ensure show societies and field day organisers are in the best shape possible to continue in 2021 and beyond.
“These events bring our families and farmers together, build community spirit and help bridge the divide between country and city. They also help farmers stay competitive by providing an opportunity to share innovation and new ways of doing business.
“They are uniquely Australian and provide huge economic spin-offs for the local communities hosting them as well as opportunities for the businesses and services who exhibit.”
Chair of Agricultural Shows Australia Dr Rob Wilson said show societies forced to cancel in 2020 were positive about hosting again next year.
“This Australian Government support has helped provide certainty and a renewed sense of optimism ahead of 2021 after a difficult year for everyone, especially our 50,000 volunteers,” Dr Wilson said.
“With some states already giving the go-ahead to shows next year, subject to COVID conditions being met, this funding will ensure hundreds of societies can start planning now.”
Secretary of the Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia Wendy Franklin welcomed the fast turnaround of applicants’ approvals.
“Getting this money out the door is going to be a fantastic Christmas present for many of our event organisers,” Mrs Franklin said.
“Even if it’s to help cover costs such as rates, insurance and telecommunications, this support will go a long way towards ensuring next year we can bounce back bigger and better.”