Ag shows get cold shoulder from Ag Minister

The Nationals are calling on the Andrews Government to provide financial support for Victoria’s 120 field days and agriculture shows held across regional Victoria each year.

One million dollars in grant money over two years is being sought by Victorian Agriculture Shows (VAS) to keep the rural tradition of agriculture shows alive.

Leader of the Nationals and Shadow Agriculture Minister, Peter Walsh said Agriculture shows are an important part of regional and rural life in Victoria.

“They are an annual highlight for many country communities, providing an interactive opportunity for regional Victorians to showcase locally produced food and fibre,” said Mr Walsh.

“It is extremely disappointing to have learned Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes totally dismissed assisting agricultural shows at a recent meeting between herself and VAS.

“Now more than ever, Minister Symes should be embracing every opportunity to promote and feature Victoria’s high-quality agricultural produce instead of canning a small request for financial assistance.” VAS is a not for profit organisation dedicated to supporting local communities deliver hundreds of events in rural and regional Australia. Last year over 2 million people attended a VAS affiliate’s events.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said Agriculture Shows are an important part of our communities, delivering great economic value to the regions and social connectedness.

“Minister Symes should be jumping out of her skin to support them,” said Ms Bath.

“Agriculture Shows are a once a year event showcasing regional and rural agricultural excellence. Up and coming and aspiring agricultural enthusiasts and backyard hobbyist can feature their skills and products while learning new techniques from others.

“They promote understanding of the food and fibre industry, helping to educate the community on how and where products come from.”

Mr Walsh said Victoria is Australia’s largest producer of food and fibre products with the agriculture production alone supporting 68,400 direct jobs, many of which are in regional Victoria. While a further 76,800 are in food and beverage manufacturing.

“Agriculture shows are an integral part of Australian culture, they play an important educational role and the Andrews Government must stump up the funding to keep the tradition alive,” Mr Walsh said.