Ann Leahy at the 2019 Dirranbandi P & A Association.
Ann Leahy at the 2019 Dirranbandi P & A Association.

Agricultural shows need certainty: Warrego MP

WARREGO MP Ann Leahy says the Labor Government’s cancellation of the 2020 State Budget is causing chaos for agricultural shows which rely on recurrent funding from the state government.

Ms Leahy said the future of Queensland’s traditional shows were on the line because Labor cancelled the budget.

“It is becoming evident that having no state budget will result in no agricultural shows – something that will crush the spirits of hundreds of local communities,” Ms Leahy said.

“Communities such as Roma, Mitchell, Charleville, Cunnamulla, St George, Dirranbandi and Dalby rely on their agricultural shows to stimulate local economies and attract visitors.

“The Federal Government has recognised the importance of agricultural show societies with a $36 million one-off reimbursement.

“The NSW State Government has provided a $12 million scheme to help shows, but there is silence from the Palaszczuk Labor Government on $2.1 million of recurrent funding for Queensland shows.”

Trevor Beckingham, General Manager of the Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies called for the funding to be committed to struggling show societies feeling the impacts of drought and COVID-19.

“Queensland shows need certainty into the future and confirmation of the 2020/2021 shows grant now – not in six months’ time,” Mr Beckingham said.

“There are show societies in Queensland that are on the brink who have unrecoverable costs without this state funding.

“We have made submissions and requests to Minister Hinchcliffe yet we are still unable to get any response at all about the show grants for the coming year.

“The perception is that because we aren’t having a show this year that we aren’t affected.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. The bills keep coming and the funds have run out.”

LNP Shadow Minister for Agriculture Tony Perrett said it was disgraceful that the anti-farmer, anti-regions Palaszczuk Labor Government was using the coronavirus crisis to kill off culturally and economically important industry showcases.

“Only a Deb Frecklington LNP Government will protect Queensland farmers and their important industry showcase events by supporting our rural and regional show societies,” Mr Perrett said.