Plight of Sunshine Coast Agricultural Show

Plight of Sunshine Coast Agricultural Show

Letter from Sunshine Coast Agricultural Show Nambour

“We are sending the following information to you as a previous participant/entrant in our Show and you may have an interest in whether the Sunshine Coast Agricultural Show, as well as other Queensland Shows, go ahead this year.

The Sunshine Coast Agricultural Show faces the real possibility of either postponing or cancelling for this year and the management committee is meeting this week to decide our 2022 future. The current health mandates add an increased financial burden on the sustainability of our show with increased pressure on security, and income affected by lower workforce, exhibitor numbers and patronage.  80% of Queensland shows that should have run in 2022 up to now, have been postponed or cancelled due to the mandates.

As part of a sub-chamber of shows in our region (15 shows north of Brisbane up to Maryborough and west to Dayboro and Kenilworth), we recently held a meeting to disperse information to our show representatives about where we stand on the current government mandates and the massive financial impact they will have on us.  Many shows are considering postponing and/or cancelling, or if they do run, it will be at a very large financial loss.  Toowoomba alone, due to run this weekend (25,26,27th), will run at a loss well over $100 000.  The Sunshine Coast Show simply cannot afford to do this.

Shows require extra man power to check vaccination status as people enter the grounds which, as Gympie found, can be impossible when you provide parking on the grounds, and you already have a small volunteer base.  Gympie management committee were unable to develop a satisfactory traffic management plan in order to abide by the mandate.  This was just one consideration Gympie faced before coming to the conclusion that they needed to postpone, let alone the large amount of personal abuse they received from patrons and stall holders.   This conclusion had already been discussed prior to the recent floods.

In reality, cricket, horse events, evacuation centres, football games, markets (regardless of size or what they are selling) can be held on Showgrounds without vaccination status being noted.  The current mandate states that all Queensland Shows must be vaccinated events – yet all these activities can be held on the same grounds within days of each other.  Most of us would have spent time indoors in a busy shopping centre during the weekend surrounded by people with no vaccination status required to enter, yet our Show is mostly in the open air and we can control numbers in pavilions if required, yet we require to carry out vaccination status checks.  This is simply is not fair – this is our complaint.

In general, across Queensland, stall holder numbers are down by 30 to 40 %, as well as entrants and competitor numbers due to the vaxed/unvaxed policy.  The Sunshine Coast Show, as the last big horse jumping event prior to the Ekka, attracts competitors from all over Queensland, and New South Wales, as well as Victoria, not just local, so local vaccination percentages are not a true indication of people attending.  Woodchop competitors also come from all over the State for State final events which we also hold.  This all has a financial impact on the profitability of our show in particular.

The cancellation of shows doesn’t just impact on the patrons, it can be felt by the community in hard ways such as:-
  • Local motels and accommodation where trade stall holders, judges, show staff stay – in Nambour and surrounds, motels are usually booked out.
  • Restaurants – in Nambour, show time is one of the busiest weekends for McDonalds on their annual calendar
  • Grocery shops – via the Guild members and stall holders who travel with the shows and buy food and supplies – especially stall holders who replenish their stocks during the show weekend
  • Local suppliers to the businesses on the grounds during Show time – local butchers, bakeries, salad suppliers (Erbachers etc.) and drink suppliers
  • The entertainment industry – including the petting zoos and the smaller family entertainers -we use KC fireworks from Yandina, as well as a local sound and big screen company – these are large accounts for them.
  • The local produce agencies – farmers buy better quality feed to fatten their animals prior to showing their animals
  • Security – a bill of $50 000 for Gympie alone to work with the mandates as they currently exist.
  • Service clubs who use the Show as a fundraiser to put money back into the Community – Lions, 2 Rotary clubs and Apex – 4 service clubs who will be directly affected by our cancellation as the show is one of their biggest fundraiser events in the year.
  • Churches and schools whose grounds are used for additional carparking as their own fundraisers.
These are just some of the local businesses/organisations in Nambour who will be directly affected if the Sunshine Coast Show does not go ahead this year, and, this is just our show….. the impact in smaller western towns will be even more direct.
The mandates as they stand, are a very deep blow to the Shows in Queensland – especially after running successful shows under strict Covid safe plans in 2021 and, with Easter coming fast and the Sydney Royal Easter Show going ahead……  this sadly does not leave a sweet taste of fairy floss in our mouths at all…..”
Kind regards,
Penny Walsh,
Show Manager,                                                                                                                                           
Sunshine Coast Agricultural Show – 10, 11, 12th June 2022
Nambour Showgrounds, Coronation Ave., Nambour, Qld.,  4560