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RNA announces cancellation of Brisbane’s Ekka

RNA announces cancellation of Brisbane’s Ekka
April 7, 2020

The Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (RNA) has advised that, for only the third time in the history of the annual event, Brisbane's Royal Queensland Show, the Ekka will not be held this year.

Advising that the cancellation of the August event was due to the Coronavirus pandemic, RNA Chief Executive, Brendan Christou yesterday stated “the first (cancellation) was in 1919 with the Spanish Influenza, the second one was in World War Two, and the third of course in 2020 because of COVID-19.

"We originally thought we might make this decision in June but a day in this current situation is like a week.

"We thought it fair to our exhibitors, to our sponsors and to our volunteers to bring that decision to give them notice."

Christou (pictured below) went on to say that at this stage some animal competitions could still go ahead, noting “they don't breach any social-distancing requirements and that is things like our feedlot competitions, and there might be one or two others like beef or carcass competitions that can go ahead this year.

"It is sad, we've had some exhibitors that have been coming every year for 50 years in our beef cattle competitions but they understand completely why it can't go ahead this year.

"Our focus now will be on creating ways to connect the city and country, through a digital means of course, so we will be working on that in the coming weeks."

The Ekka, which has been running for 143 years, will still be selling its showbags, which will be available for purchase online.

The RNA advised that anyone who had already paid entry fees for early competitions would receive a refund while its statement on the cancellation noted “over the past 144 years, the Brisbane Showgrounds have been used to help the community in times of need, including being used as a treatment centre in 1918 for those suffering from Spanish Influenza to an evacuation centre for those impacted by the devastation of the 2011 Brisbane floods.”

Christou said the show's cancellation would have an impact on the RNA's income, adding "it's very unlikely these restrictions are going to lifted by August and then of course being the standby hospital we don't know when or if we need to be enacted so this was a sensible thing to do.

"We rely on the Ekka and other events, and it's not just the Ekka that can't proceed, all our other events in the coming months have been cancelled so it's going to have a huge impact on us as well as every other organisation across the global."

He said RNA was working with the Queensland and Federal governments on ways to get financial assistance.

Queensland Health has been planning use the Royal International Convention Centre at the RNA Showgrounds as a temporary hospital if the Coronavirus outbreak worsens.

Click here to read the RNA statement.

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13th March 2020 - Non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people effectively banned across Australia

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24th February 2020 - AALARA highlights Australian theme parks’ ongoing safety commitments

17th August 2019 - Ekka showbag sellers face pressure to reduce single-use plastic

9th August 2019 - Ekka prioritises amusement ride safety

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9th August 2018 - New experiences at 2018 Ekka

10th August 2017 - Queensland authorities focus on Ekka safety

15th July 2017 - Ekka launches new initiatives in 140th year

7th August 2015 - Amusement ride operators to undergo Ekka safety audits

8th August 2013 - Police highlight need for parental awareness as Ekka opens at new look RNA Showgrounds

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