The Australian Government has committed $4.3 million in the 2021-22 Budget to ensure that agricultural showmen and women can continue to provide their services at agricultural shows across Australia.
The Supporting Agricultural Showmen and Women Program will primarily provide rent relief at agricultural shows, so that showmen and women can continue to offer their entertainment and services.
The government said shows attribute up to 75 per cent of their ticket sales to the attractions that travelling show businesses provide such as amusement rides and showbag stalls.
President of the Victorian Showmen’s Guild Elwin Bell welcomed the announcement on behalf of Australian travelling showmen and women.
“This Australian Government support will assist thousands of travelling showmen and women get back to work supporting Australian agricultural shows, particularly regional and remote country shows, recognising the integral role the shows have played in bringing such communities together for more than 100 years,” Mr Bell said.
“Like so many show societies and Aussie farmers, our members have suffered throughout this pandemic, off the back of years of drought, unthinkable bushfires, and more recent flooding.”
There are around 580 agricultural shows nationwide that contribute $1 billion to the economy, attract 6 million visitors and are serviced by around 50,000 volunteers.
The cancellation of the majority of agricultural shows in 2020 due to COVID-19 had an unprecedented impact on showmen and women, depriving most of them of their primary source of income.
Travelling showmen and women spend around $82 million in regional and rural communities each year.