NATS CALL ON LABOR TO ASSURE FUTURE OF COUNTRY SHOWS

NATS CALL ON LABOR TO ASSURE FUTURE OF COUNTRY SHOWS

NATS CALL ON LABOR TO ASSURE FUTURE OF COUNTRY SHOWS

9 May 2003

The Nationals' have called on the NSW Labor Government to provide the necessary funds and support to assure the future of country shows, NSW National Party Leader, Andrew Stoner, said today.

Speaking in Parliament last night Mr Stoner and Member for Lismore, Thomas George, said country shows played an important role in rural and regional communities.

"The almost 200 country shows held around NSW every year enable local communities to showcase achievements in livestock, sewing, jam preserving and cake making to name but a few. They provide a great boost to local economies and tourism and generate over about $6 million in turnover," Mr Stoner said.

"However, in recent times, country shows have been doing it tough. Rising insurance costs and problems associated with maintenance and replacement of ageing infrastructure such as rings, buildings, pavilions, toilets, grandstands, etc have seen a decline in the number of shows being held and forced others to seriously consider there future."

Mr George said it took a lot of hard work by many people to run a country show.

"Attracting volunteers to cover the required workload is becoming increasingly difficult, especially in times of drought," Mr George said.

"Also, in the past few months the Harness Racing Authority has decided that driver-to-driver insurance will not be available to drivers who compete at country shows that do not have a licensed harness racing track.

"This decision will affect approximately 16 shows throughout the State. Harness racing is an important part of the ring events and losing them would be a great shame.

"The NSW Labor Government must do more to help local show societies continue their important work."

Mr Stoner congratulated the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW on its recent successful 2003 Royal Easter Show.

"Each year during the Easter show the country comes to the city and, as such, it is a wonderful way of breaking down the city-country divide," he said.

"It is important to keep country shows viable so they can contribute to the success of the yearly Royal Easter Show. Where would the entries for the Royal Easter Show come from if it were not for country shows?

"The Nationals' are committed to working with show societies, with the Federal and State governments and with all other interested parties to promote and assure the future of agricultural shows across NSW."
 

Lismore Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403
Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Murwillumbah Contact Details:

Telephone: 02 6672 7577