Applications are now open for the Australian Government’s $39 million Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said agricultural show societies and field day organisers will have until 9 October 2020 to apply for a one-off payment under the first funding round.
“This is a pandemic-busting cash injection for all those shows and field day events forced to cancel this year because of COVID-19,” Minister Littleproud said.
“We know that both agricultural shows and field days are significant social and economic contributors to hundreds of Australian bush and regional communities.
“They contribute more than $1 billion to the national economy each year, attract more than six million patrons and are supported by more than 50,000 volunteers.
“That is why this Government is investing $39 million to help them deal with cash flow pressures caused by COVID-19 cancellations and ensure their future.
“Agricultural shows and field days also play an important role in supporting on-farm innovation, productivity and profitability.
“They bring our families and farmers together, build community spirit and help bridge the divide between country and city.
“We want to assure the dedicated volunteers and communities who work so hard to stage these events that we are with them all the way during these times. Agriculture will lead the recovery out of this pandemic, and this support will help ensure the sustainability of these important events into the future.
“Agricultural shows and field days that have cancelled their event in 2020 because of COVID 19 will be eligible to apply and they will not have to compete for assistance.
“I encourage show societies and field day organisers to jump on the Government’s Community Grants Hub or GrantConnect sites now to check their eligibility and apply.
“I will continue to encourage my state and territory counterparts to also make a contribution to help agricultural shows and field days survive the impact of COVID-19 because of the positive impact they have on their economies. The Australian Government has stepped in to help out agricultural shows and field days during this tough period, and I hope the states and territories can do likewise.”
Chair of Agricultural Shows Australia Dr Rob Wilson welcomed the opening of applications and urged agricultural show societies forced to cancel their 2020 show to apply.
“Agricultural shows have been impacted by COVID-19 and this financial support will assist planning to begin for shows in 2021 and will provide the local communities the confidence to engage and participate, to ensure these Australian iconic events to continue,” Dr Wilson said.
“We know agricultural shows are important to regional and metropolitan Australia as they provide community connections and wellbeing as well as encouraging agricultural education through competition and benchmarking of agricultural pursuits and produce.
“This program supports both the Capital City Royal Shows and right down to the smallest country show.”
Secretary of the Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia Ms Wendy Franklin also welcomed the opening of applications.
“Regrettably, COVID-19 has caused almost all agricultural field days in Australia to be cancelled in 2020. This has created financial difficulty for organisers of these important events,” Ms Franklin said.
“I welcome this program because it will provide the funding that many agricultural field day organisers will need to keep their events running in a post-COVID-19 environment.
“This is good news not just for field days but the important agricultural industries they support.”