August 2, 2021
The Brisbane Ekka has been officially cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic for the second year in a row.
The 2021 Royal Queensland Show was to have opened to the public on Saturday (August 7).
The announcement was made by Deputy Premier Steven Miles at a State Government press conference in Brisbane on Monday morning.
It follows the decision to extend COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the 11 south-east Queensland council areas until 4:00pm on Sunday.
The Deputy Premier said the risk was “too great” for the Ekka to go ahead.
Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies general manager Trevor Beckingham said that due to the cancellation, the 2021 Young Judges and Paraders Stud, Dairy and Prime competitions have been postponed.
The State Final Program of the 2021 Rural Ambassador Awards, which was due to begin at 2:00pm on Wednesday has also been postponed. The Marsh Queensland Rural Ambassador Awards Committee intends to run a State Final Program later this year.
The Queensland Showgirl Awards Committee decided on Sunday to postpone the State Finals of the Queensland Country Life Showgirl Awards program.
The Stud Beef competition, due to start on Tuesday, was also cancelled on Sunday.
The Prime Beef competition will still be held as planned at Silverdale Saleyards, with judging starting on Wednesday, but no members of the public will be allowed to attend.
The Led Steer Carcass competition will still go ahead at Nolan Meats in Gympie.
The Ekka Paddock to Palate awards dinner, due to be held on Wednesday, has been postponed.
The Dark Rich Fruit Cake competition that was to be held on Thursday (August 5) at the Rocklea Showgrounds will be postponed to a date to be determined.
Mr Beckingham said all competitors and volunteers have been advised of the decisions via email and text.
The 2021 ALPA Young Auctioneers Competition, which was to have been held in conjunction with the Ekka this year, has been postponed and will move to a regional selling facility later this year.
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RNA chief executive Brendan Christou said ensuring the health and safety of the Ekka community and the general public was paramount and the RNA was fully supportive of the Queensland Government’s decision.
“It is devastating to have to cancel this year’s historic comeback Ekka but the current outbreak of COVID-19 means we cannot bring the country and city together safely,” Mr Christou said.
“It is particularly heartbreaking to have to cancel so close to our opening day because of the massive effort our Ekka community has put into preparing for this year’s People’s Show.
“Thousands of exhibitors who have spent months preparing their entries for competition will be extremely disappointed they cannot showcase their efforts at the 2021 Show.
“It is especially tough for the farming community who have been eagerly awaiting this year’s show which is a celebration of all things agriculture.
“The Ekka doesn’t just reward the best of the best it also provides much needed respite and highlights the many challenges they face such as drought and flood.
“Our hearts also go out to the hundreds of businesses whose livelihoods rely on events like the Ekka. The ride operators, the food vendors and the many small businesses who showcase their products at Queensland’s largest marketplace – they are facing another financial blow in the wake of the Show’s cancellation.
“This last-minute cancellation of the Show has broad-ranging financial impacts for our not-for-profit organisation because we also rely on the Ekka to provide a major part of our revenue.”
He said the RNA would now endeavour to see if some of the 2021 Royal Queensland Show competitions can continue during the next two weeks in a COVID-Safe environment without the public.
It will also be issuing full refunds to all ticketholders.
Mr Christou said the RNA would also be working with Queensland Health on a de-mobilisation plan to assist exhibitors with “bumping out” and what was possible during the lockdown.
“We will be working through a number of options in the next 24/48 hours and will provide updates to our exhibitors and competitors,” he said.