Murgon Show Society treasurer Trent Wrayford with “Gunner” at this year’s Murgon Show … the show squeezed in on March 14 ahead of restrictions but less than half the expected crowd turned up
Deputy PM Michael McCormack (Photo: Twitter)

June 25, 2020

South Burnett show societies forced to cancel their annual events this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible to receive cash support from the Federal Government.

Only a handful of local shows went ahead this year: Cooyar and Bell (in the Darling Downs sub-chamber) and Proston and Murgon (in the South Burnett sub-chamber).

Goomeri and Nanango shows have technically been postponed while Kingaroy, Blackbutt and Wondai have been cancelled.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announced the funding to support show societies on Thursday.

The Federal Government will spend $36 million across Australia:

  • $10 million in operational support. Shows will be able to claim up to $10,000 if their attendance last year was less than 2000, up to $15,000 if their attendance was between 2000 and 4999 and up to $70,000 if their attendance was over 5000.
  • $26 million in operational support for Royal Agricultural Show societies which can additionally claim for unrecoverable costs associated with preparing for the cancelled show.

As well, $100,000 in operational support has been set aside for the Rural Ambassador program.

All societies that have cancelled their show in 2020 because of COVID-19 will be eligible and will not have to compete for assistance.

Eligible reimbursement costs are expected to include bank fees, utilities, rates, insurance, fire alarms and equipment, cleaning supplies, telecommunications, IT system licencing costs, website costs, State/National show body affiliation fees and rent.

Agriculture Minister and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said the Supporting Agricultural Shows program would provide a one-off reimbursement to show societies to deal with cash flow pressures caused by the COVID-19 cancellations.

“There is a real risk if we don’t help that not only could Royal Shows cease to function the way they are now, but also those small shows all of which are run by volunteers could fold,” he said.

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