Agricultural show and field days organisers whose events have been cancelled this year because of coronavirus have just three weeks to submit applications to share in $39 million of federal government support.
Applications will be received by the Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program until October 9.
"This is a pandemic-busting cash injection for all those shows and field day events forced to cancel this year because of COVID-19," Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.
The $39m would help them deal with cash flow pressures caused by the pandemic cancellations and ensure their future.
Funds will be reimbursed for eligible expenses, with maximum grant values based upon the size of the event.
Grants will range from a maximum of $10,000 for small shows and field days with attendances under 2000 to $70,000 for large events attracting more than 5000 showgoers.
"We known shows and field days are significant social and economic contributors to hundreds of Australian bush and regional communities," he said.
"They contribute more than $1 billion to the national economy each year, attract more than six million patrons and are supported by more than 50,000 volunteers."
Agriculture will lead the recovery out of this pandemic
Mr Littleproud also noted these agricultural events played an important role in supporting on-farm innovation, productivity and profitability.
"They bring our families and farmers together, build community spirit and help bridge the divide between country and city," he said.
"We want to assure the dedicated volunteers and communities who work so hard to stage these events that we are with them all the way during these times.
"Agriculture will lead the recovery out of this pandemic, and this support will help ensure the sustainability of these important events into the future."
He encouraged show societies and field day organisers to "jump on the government's community grants hub or GrantConnect sites now to check their eligibility and apply".
Most field days cancelled
Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia secretary Wendy Franklin welcomed the opening of applications.
"Regrettably, COVID-19 has caused almost all agricultural field days in Australia to be cancelled in 2020," she said.
"This has created financial difficulty for organisers of these important events.
"This program is good news, not just for field days, but the important agricultural industries they support."
"It will provide the funding many field day organisers will need to keep their events running in a post-COVID-19 environment.
Agricultural Shows Australia chairman Dr Rob Wilson urged agricultural show societies forced to cancel their 2020 events to apply.
"This financial support will assist planning to begin for shows in 2021 and will provide the local communities the confidence to engage and participate, to ensure these Australian iconic events continue," he said.
"We know agricultural shows are important to regional and metropolitan Australia as they provide community connections and wellbeing as well as encouraging agricultural education through competition and benchmarking of agricultural pursuits and produce.
"The program supports both the capital city Royal Shows and right down to the smallest country show."
The money has been provided under Canberra's $1b Relief and Recovery Fund which is helping regions, communities and industry sectors disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Mr Littleproud has also encouraged state and territory governments to make a contribution to help shows and field days survive because of the positive impact they have on their economies.
"The Australian Government has stepped in to help out agricultural shows and field days during this tough period, and I hope the states and territories can do likewise."
Funds shows will be reimbursed in three categories:
- up to $10,000 for small shows/field days (attendance was less than 2000)
- up to $15,000 for medium shows/field days (attendance was between 2000 and 4999)
- up to $70,000 for large shows/field days (attendance was over 5000).
Operational support will be available for eligible capital city Royal Agricultural Show societies, up to the maximum cap specified for their specific event.
- For more information click onto the Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program webpage here.