Page 20 - The Outdoor Showman January - March 2022
P. 20

 Members of the Horsham Agricultural Society, Member for Mallee Anne Webster, Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud and members of the Victorian Showmen’s Guild are pleased to see funding assisting travelling showmen in 2022. Photo: ABBY WALTER
Essential support for travelling showmen
WIMMERA agricultural shows are set to benefit as more than $8M has been dedicated to easing operational and rental costs for travelling showmen and women across Australia.
While Horsham was able to hold a virtual show, their income, as well as that of other Wimmera show societies was affected by cancellations due to COVID-19
Similarly, the travelling showmen and women lost their income when they were unable to attend the more than 700 cancelled shows over the past two years.
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the government will be working with the Victorian Showmen’s Guild to administer up to $7.8 million of payments to contribute to the rental costs.
“The last two years have been
tough for many of us but travelling businesses who visit agricultural shows have been hit very hard,” he said.
“Because of the restrictions from COVID-19, many showmen and women have been completely deprived of their main source of income.”
Up to $500,000 is also available to contribute to the operational costs of travelling show businesses by supporting a moratorium or refund
on showmen’s guild membership fees for the 2021 and 2022 calendar years.
Victorian Showmen’s Guild trustee Marjourie Chant said small operators suffered the most as they could
not set up their own carnivals to make revenue outside of shows.
“We’ve got to keep them working
in our industry because it’s their livelihood and their heritage,” she said.
“Online shows are wonderful but you’re not getting townspeople interacting with your show society and in the long run, they will lose interest.
“You have to keep the show in front of their face so that you’ve got people that want to come to your show.”
Ms Chant said showmen and women had missed interacting with the public.
“We might come to (the same) show our family might have been servicing that show for 30, 40, 50 years because our family follows our family,” she said.
“Online is wonderful but it’s not helping the show society to get money and revenue through the gate.”
Nationals Member for Mallee Anne Webster said the funding meant communities could get entertainment back to their local shows.
“Everybody is looking forward to that,” she said.
“Our regional ag shows are highlights in the year for most people in the community and it’s not just showing the jams and the cakes which Horsham did incredibly well last year online.
“It also means families and kids back around shows to enjoy the rides and get our community spirit back.”
Mr Littleproud said 75 percent of ticket sales into agriculture shows could be attributed to the Showman’s Guild.
“They’re an integral part of keeping agricultural shows,” he said.
“What we’re doing is we’re paying their rent to local show societies so the show societies are still getting the rent but we’re taking that financial burden away from the showmen.
“It’s a business that’s been going for many years and helping regional Australia grow.”
Victorian Showmen’s Guild executive officer Justine Sinclair said the funding would improve morale for travelling showmen and women.
“They’ve had a really rough couple of years and I think this just gives us the confidence that we can get back on the road and support regional and rural towns where we belong,” she said.
CREDIT: Published in The Horsham Times by Abby Walter

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