This article originally appeared on TheLand.com.au
Funding of $5000 each promised by the NSW Government to 100 Show Societies in NSW has dropped in or is on the way to society bank accounts.
The grants have helped shore up all the agricultural societies that were able to put on a show this year despite the drought and fires, and loss of sponsorship.
Shows are also patiently waiting on a $20m grants program from the Federal Government that is due to be announced in the next month. It is believed this program has been oversubscribed by about $40 million and has tougher criteria.
Meantime, Deputy NSW Premier John Barilaro announced the $5000 amounts were either paid or just a week away.
Mr Barilaro said many of the state’s show organising committees have already used the sponsorship money to meet immediate costs, “putting cash into the wallets of locals, employing local contractors, equipment hire businesses, suppliers and talent”. “It’s fantastic to see these sponsorships being taken up and rolled out within a month,” he said.
Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said some show organising committees were hosting barbecues or family days. Mrs Taylor said the Nimmitabel Show was postponed twice due to bushfires and extreme weather and the funding would “give locals some of the fun activities and judging competitions they’d usually enjoy”.
Agricultural Societies Council president Tim Capp thanked Mr Barilaro and the NSW Government for the grants that were “timely and needed”. At his own show at Gresford, the cash was already spent on fixing health and safety issues. Mr Capp said many shows had been hit by loss of sponsorship.
Milton Show Society president Ken Leslie said the funding would help meet the loss of over $3000 in sponsorship. The Milton show on March 5-6 went ahead despite the fire devastation on the South Coast. Mr Leslie said the show was a big success with new sections and record horse entries.
It was the show no one thought they’d get off the ground after this year’s devastating fires on the South Coast.
But Milton had a lot to celebrate and weren’t going to be stopped. Not only did they have their first Sydney Royal Showgirl finalist for 22 years to celebrate, they also had a mountain of local talent ready to show off – including those of the hirsute kind.
Milton Show Society President Ken Leslie said he was heartened by the turn-out and record horse entries.
The show also put on a mullet competition and the latest edition of the now very popular ute and truck show. The section was the idea of Emily Quinn, who was selected in February to represent Zone 6 in The Land Sydney Royal Showgirl Competition. Emily is the chief steward of the ute and truck section, while her mother Jane is the brains or mastermind behind the mullet competition that was “extremely successful”, Mr Leslie said. “Although I’m not sure we should be encouraging that sort of hair fashion,” Mr Leslie added.
The show held on March 5-6, went ahead although one major sponsor cut their annual sponsorship by $3000. The shortfall was helped by a State Government one-off $5000 grant. The show also saw some sponsors pull out of the rodeo event, due to pressure from animal activists.
Mr Leslie said he was very happy to see record horse entries at the show. “Naturally with the fires some sponsors needed to put their money elsewhere this year but we were very appreciative of those that did stay on board and we thank them,” Mr Leslie said. “We had a really reduced time to put the show on. The showground was used as an emergency centre and also BlazeAid had settled there, but they vacated for the Show. We also didn’t expect so much rain to soak the grounds. The atmosphere was great and all the stallholders said they would be returning next year.”
A plethora of shows were unable to be held this year on the South Coast and Southern Highlands due to the drought and fires. Attendees were excited to see the show go ahead after other shows in southern NSW including Albion Park, Kiama, Berry, Bowral and Cobargo were called off.