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Council halts funding for Gold Coast Show

Council halts funding for Gold Coast Show
June 3, 2020

Gold Coast City Council has withdrawn its support from the Gold Coast Show - which had announced plans at the end of last month to move the annual event - traditionally held at Southport in August - to December.

The Gold Coast Show Society announced last week that if restrictions on mass gatherings are lifted they were now planning to hold the event from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th December.

At the time, Society President Josephine Tobias stated “choosing a Christmas date to work toward will connect the community and we wish to work with to deliver an event that is entrenched in the fabric of the city.”

However, Bob La Castra, Chairman of Council’s Events Committee, said the Council couldn’t back the plan given the uncertainty over an easing of the ban on mass gatherings.

La Castra advised “there was funding obviously allocated for this year and we had a funding agreement through to 2022, but of course this year with the uncertainty we are not going to be able to support the show for this year.”

The Council will still cover the around $23,000 in costs that organisers have already incurred.

Tobias says they would move ahead with their plans despite the shock decision which will see them have to fill the around $100,000 hole in their funding.

She told myGC “we have said from the onset we’re not sure exactly how the show will look, we’re expecting some changes to the format simply so we can abide by the health directives and also social distancing, in saying that we have budgeted for the event and we’ll proceed forward.

“The history will continue and if Council don’t want to be part of that history I guess the opportunity is to see whether State government or Federal government or individual members of the community will step up and keep the show on the road.”

Councillor La Castra was not so optimistic about their plans, adding “obviously they’d love to go ahead but quite honestly I can’t see how they can at this point in time given the restrictions that are in place and I don’t believe that a venue has been secured either for this year.”

With agricultural shows across the country cancelled since March, showmen on the carnival circuit are facing unprecedented pressures.

Last month, Trevor Beckingham, General Manager of the Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies Queensland Agricultural Shows, told the ABC that regional shows were already suffering financially because of the drought and other natural disasters.

Beckingham advised “that put us on our knees, but what COVID-19 has done is put us on our back.

"We had just 11 shows before COVID cut in and the lockdown came in."

Beckingham said while the Government had offered grants in the past for infrastructure projects, there had been no support offered to shows during the Coronavirus pandemic, adding “there is a lot of community support here, which we are seeing in Ipswich with virtual show events - out of adversity comes creativity.

"But it is how we can best deal with and how we can get over those hurdles.

"With a 12-month hiatus, once we have stopped doing things, it can be hard to get it back onto its feet again."

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