Cancelled ag events receive government help

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Field days and agricultural shows forced to cancel this year will benefit from a $25 million Federal Government assistance package.

Cancelled ag events receive government help
The Henty Field Days in New South Wales are one of many agricultural events which have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The government has extended the Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days Program, which was introduced last year to help organisers of shows recover operational costs for events cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of these events, particularly those in Australia’s eastern states, were cancelled again for a second year in 2021.

Of the $25 million, $21 million will go towards event organisers with the remaining $4 million going to the Supporting Showmen and Women program.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says more than 700 field days and agricultural shows have been cancelled since the pandemic began and people reliant on these events for their income had been heavily impacted.

"Our travelling showmen and women – often small, independent, sole-traders or family-based operations – are particularly hard hit," he says.

"The flow-on effects to local communities will be felt for years.

"Agricultural shows and field days contribute more than $1 billion to the economy annually, attract more than six million patrons, and are supported by more than 50,000 volunteers and more than 4,000 showmen and women.

"They deliver significant social benefits to rural and regional Australia, bringing heart, soul and a sense of pride to towns across the country."

Littleproud made the announcement at the Brisbane Showgrounds, home of the Royal Queensland Show – commonly known as the Ekka - which was a last-minute victim of COVID cancellations this year.

Organised by the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (RNA), an Ekka statement says the funding is "much needed" as they aim to plan the 2022 edition.

"This funding is crucial to ensuring the ag show movement stays alive and greatly assists the RNA in our financial recovery as we move forward and continue planning our incredible historic comeback Ekka in 2022," they said.

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