Ag shows to get federal COVID-19 support

Cheryl Goodenough
Agricultural societies that cancelled shows due to the coronavirus will be eligible for support

Agricultural societies that cancelled shows because of COVID-19 will get federal government funding to ensure they continue.

All societies that cancelled shows in 2020 will be eligible and won't have to compete for assistance, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced in Brisbane on Thursday.

Societies can be reimbursed for costs like utilities, rates, insurance, fire alarms and equipment, cleaning supplies, telecommunications, IT system licencing costs, website costs, show body affiliation fees and rent.

Mr Littleproud says the funding will support shows in capital cities and country towns.

"There is a real risk that 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.

Mr Littleproud encouraged states and territories to also make a contribution to help agricultural shows survive the impact of COVID-19.

The $36 million Supporting Agricultural Shows program includes $10 million in operational support for local show societies, with amounts dependent on last year's attendance.

Royal Agricultural Show societies can also claim a share of $26 million for unrecoverable costs associated with preparing for a cancelled show.

It is estimated agricultural shows contribute $1 billion to the economy each year.

Most shows are expected to be cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing measures.