This communication is to inform our members that in light of the recent bushfires in December 2019 and January 2020, the continuing drought in many areas across the country, and their impact on many regional communities, the Minister considered allowing agricultural shows to amend their existing application or submit a new application.

However, following further consultation with Agricultural Shows Australia (the peak body representing agricultural shows), the Minister decided to continue with the current assessment process as set out in the Ag Shows program guidelines.

The delays involved in allowing applicants to amend their existing applications or submit a new application would mean that urgently needed showground upgrades, and the economic and social benefits they would provide to communities, would be delayed.

These delays would outweigh any benefits from allowing amended or new applications.

Applications will continue to be assessed by an independent Selection Advisory Panel who will recommend to a delegate of the Minister (a senior official in the Department of Agriculture) the applications that should be funded.

The Minister is likely to announce successful applicants in March 2020.

Agricultural shows are at the heart and soul of our regional communities. They bring communities together and they keep communities together. Agricultural showgrounds right across the country have been used as evacuation and relief centers for the bushfires.

They have provided critical community infrastructure at a time when communities have needed it the most.

ASA recognises that with almost 450 applications proposing investment of almost $70 million being received at the close of applications on 13 December 2019 there is a real need for further funding for showgrounds across the country.

ASA will continue to lobby for further funding to ensure showgrounds continue to serve the communities across a multitude of platforms.