SHOW MUST GO ON: Dalby event could get funding lifeline

THE Federal Government has announced a $36 million spend for agricultural show societies to help them weather the impacts of COVID-19.

Queensland Ag Shows general manager Trevor Beckingham said show societies will be entitled to claim $10,000 to help cover expenses.

“It’s all the operational costs they need to keep going because they won’t be able to reclaim on the day,” he said.

“Behind that, there’s a 12-month operation like any other business.”

Mr Beckingham said the only opportunity for shows to recoup their maintenance costs was on the day of the event, which has been cancelled in most Queensland towns due to social distancing restrictions.

“The fact that we’re getting something is a benefit to all of our members.

“It’s the ongoing costs that they have that we’re very appreciative of the Federal Government and minister Littleproud for the money he’s been able to make available.”

Although 13 Queensland shows went ahead before lockdown, others will struggle to pay for their fees even with the grant.

“The main thing I’m looking at from here is to get some support from the Queensland Government to help us support our agricultural shows,” Mr Beckingham said.

“We just aren’t getting any hearing from the state government at all.”

Dalby Show faces uncertainty

Dalby & District Show Society acting secretary Raelene Akers said they’re still unsure how much of the cut they’re going to get.

“Hopefully this funding will recoup the costs from what would be this year’s show,” she said.

“I think if we didn’t get this Dalby wouldn’t have had a show next year.”

The society is uncertain about the future of the Dalby Show because of the uncertainty with next year’s budget.

“We have to pay Council to hire the grounds.

“There’s insurance costs because we have rain protection insurance, as well as public liability insurance, as well as content insurance.

“We also have phone and internet costs and software costs which costs us $1000 a year to be able to use that.”

Mrs Akers said the show attracted over 50,000 people last year and doesn’t think 2021’s show would be viable if it were capped to 1000 visitors.

“If the restrictions are not eased totally and we end up with only 1000 people on the ground at the time, is it worth holding?

“That means extra volunteers to be able to count people in and count people out.”