Shows across Far North Queensland cancelled because of COVID-19 are about to get a slice of $34 million Australian Government funding to help ensure they can bounce back next year.
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch today announced the first payments under the Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program will roll out before Christmas.
“Two months ago, I launched this package to reimburse eligible costs for shows and field days who had to cancel because of COVID-19,” Mr Littleproud said.
“I am pleased to announce that 378 shows and field days, including those across Far North Queensland, have been approved for funding to help ease cash-flow pressures.
“The Morrison Government is keen to ensure show societies and field day organisers are in the best shape possible to continue in 2021.
“These events bring our families and farmers together, build community spirit and help bridge the divide between country and city.”
Mr Entsch said shows and field days were uniquely Australian and provide huge economic spin-offs for local communities as well as opportunities for the businesses and services who exhibit.
“They also help to keep maintain our farmers’ competitive edge by providing an outlet for new ideas, new technologies and new ways of working to be shared,” he said.
“I am very pleased six show associations* across our region are able to access this funding to help get them through this tough period and out the other side in a sound position to host again in 2021.
“Next year is looking so much brighter and I know this support will be fantastic boost for our volunteers, families and school kids.”
Cairns Show Association president Ian Allen said the Federal Government’s financial contribution would fund part of the 2021 grounds improvements program and will go a long way to completing some very necessary works on the Showgrounds.
“We are very grateful to Warren Entsch and the Federal Government for supporting the Cairns Show Association with this very generous funding,” Mr Allen said.
“Every part of the Cairns local, regional and remote communities benefit from this funding, we want to create a safe and comfortable precinct for the people of Cairns so they can enjoy the Cairns Show and other events held on the showgrounds.
“Thanks to this funding from the Federal Government we can continue to contribute to the Cairns economy, support our vulnerable community members and bring our regional community together to keep them strong and resilient.”
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.”
*Successful Far North Queensland Shows:
Cairns Agricultural Pastoral and Mining Association – Cairns Show – $59,021
Mareeba District Rodeo Association Inc – Mareeba Show – $70,000
Malanda Pastoral, Agricultural and Industrial Society Inc. – Malanda Show – $28,189
Tully & District Show Society Incorporated – Tully Show – $25,148
Atherton Tableland Agricultural Society Incorporated – Atherton Show – $35,746
Innisfail & District Show Society Incorporated – Innisfail Show – $24,422