Katter slams federal government’s show-stopping decision
A massive disparity in pandemic recovery funding is threatening to do what Covid could never achieve – send the iconic Queensland country show into extinction.
Katter said to lose the traditional country show, with an annual worth of $141 million, and almost all of which have been running for over 100 years, would be a crying shame
If the Covid-19 outlook doesn’t deteriorate it should see events like the famous Ekka make their triumphant return this year.
In the case of the Ekka, which hasn’t been staged since August 2019, the return will be bolstered by $6.5 million in federal government funding under Round 2 of the Federal Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program.
For the 129 country shows held outside Brisbane, they’ll have to make do with a total of $7.9 million in funding or about $61,240 per show if the funding was spread evenly across the pool.
Katter’s Australian Party Leader Robbie Katter said the funding amounted to a “pittance”.
The Member for Traeger said Queensland country shows were already struggling to survive, but now had to deal with another blow after the big royal shows in capital cities received the lion’s share of the funding round.
He said the “paltry” funding was in addition to the “untenable and unfair” Covid restrictions that were making it impossible to deliver the state’s shows, a situation backed by the Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies (Queensland Ag Shows).
Katter wrote to Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath and Chief Medical Officer John Gerrard requesting a response to a submission from Queensland Ag Shows raising complaints that Covid-19 constraints were confusing, inconsistent and unfair.
Despite acquiring Covid-safe industry plans for 116 shows in 2021, Katter said 13 were cancelled due to lockdowns, and the industry was hamstrung with much tighter restrictions than other activities and events held on the same showgrounds.
Katter said Queensland Ag Shows representatives had told him they had been singled out and “treated like second-class citizens” by the government.
He said to lose the traditional country show, with an annual worth of $141 million, and almost all of which have been running for over 100 years, would be a crying shame.
“Losing the much-loved country show would devastate many people’s livelihoods, wellbeing, and the social and economic industries of the rural and regional towns where the show is often considered the event of the year,” he said.
“The KAP is reinforcing its support of the industry after backing it against crippling public liability insurance last year.”
The minister responsible for the funding, David Littleproud, has been contacted for comment.