The Australian Government has today announced a further $2.7 million of funding for agricultural field days to ensure they can continue after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding is part of a $39 million package to help show societies and field days deal with cash-flow pressures caused by COVID-19 cancellations.
“All agricultural shows and field days that have cancelled their event in 2020 because of COVID-19 will be eligible and they will not have to compete for assistance,” says Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack.
“Our agricultural field days are uniquely Australian and provide huge economic spin-offs for the local communities hosting them as well as opportunities for the businesses and services who exhibit.”
As an example, he points to the well known Henty Machinery Field Days, near his electorate of Riverina. It usually hosts up to 60,000 visitors from across Australia but was cancelled this year because of COVID-19.
“The initiative is part of our Government’s $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund, which is supporting regions, communities and industry sectors severely affected by the pandemic,” add McCormack.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud says the Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program will provide a one-off reimbursement to agricultural show societies and field day organisers impacted by COVID-19.
“This funding supports not only the larger agricultural field days but also the smaller regional ones because we acknowledge the role these events play in supporting on-farm innovation, productivity and profitability,” Littleproud explains. “Field days hold immense social and economic value for local rural and regional communities, many of whom are doing it tough because of COVID-19.”
An additional $100,000 one-off grant will also be provided to the Association of Agricultural Field Days Australasia to support its annual conference scheduled for 30 April 2021 to 2 May 2021, and to provide training and assistance for members on recovery management planning. Secretary of the association, Wendy Franklin, says the funding would provide a welcome boost for rural and regional Australia. “Field days play a vital role in educating the community about the importance of agriculture and make a valuable contribution to the economy of rural and regional communities,” she says.
Chair of Agricultural Shows Australia, Dr Rob Wilson, also welcomed the announcement. “Both agricultural shows and field days deliver significant benefits to regional communities across Australia supporting and showcase agricultural endeavours – and the Government’s support package will help Agricultural Shows and field days recover from the impacts of COVID-19.”
Field Days could also be eligible to claim reimbursement costs including bank fees, utilities, rates, insurance, fire alarms and equipment, cleaning supplies, telecommunications, IT system licensing costs, website costs, state/national show body affiliation fees and rent.
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