Funds available to help traveling artists participate in agricultural fairs

Fun at the show: Crowds enjoy Benalla’s 2019 show. Photo by Simon Ruppert

The federal government has made funds available through the Showmen and Women of Agriculture Support Program to provide assistance with showmen’s guild membership fees and rent relief.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie said the government would work with the Victorian Showmen’s Guild to administer up to $7.8 million in payments to help with the rental costs of traveling showmen associated with their participation in agricultural fairs in 2021-22 and 2022-23 fiscal years.

Up to $500,000 is also available to help with the operational costs of traveling show businesses by supporting a moratorium and/or refund of showmen’s guild membership fees for calendar years 2021 and 2022.

“The past two years have been difficult for many of us, but the traveling businesses that visit agricultural shows have been hit very hard,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, many showmen and showmen have been completely deprived of their main source of income.

“These grants will help itinerant showmen – often from small independent businesses to sole proprietorship or family businesses – to cover some of their operating costs by covering guild membership fees and relief from renting the pitch of show.

“Through this program, traveling showmen will be supported to continue providing the entertainment and entertainment often featured at our agricultural fairs.”

Ms. McKenzie said the funding would have a ripple effect on regional communities.

“Farm shows attribute up to 75% of their ticket sales to attractions offered by traveling show companies,” said Senator McKenzie.

“These events are estimated to contribute over $1 billion to the Australian economy, attract over six million patrons and recruit 50,000 volunteers each year.

“But more than that, the agricultural shows are a great day for Australians in the region where distance, drought, bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic have made life more difficult.”

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