Royal Melbourne Show must go on

Financial support must be provided to revive competitions held as part of the Royal Melbourne Show after it was cancelled for the second year in a row.

As Victoria’s premiere event to celebrate and showcase the best of Victorian agriculture, the cancellation robs competitors and exhibitors of another opportunity to claim a coveted Melbourne Royal blue ribbon.

It’s a prestigious claim to fame and unique promotional tool that helps livestock producers and food and fibre exhibitors, as well as show horse competitors and dog breeders, to stand out from the crowd.

Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said support should be delivered for a series of COVID-safe events to ensure the Show will go on.

“The Andrews Labor Government is sitting on its hands with no plan while Victorian food and fibre producers are robbed of another opportunity to secure a coveted Melbourne blue,” Mr Walsh said.

“Thousands of producers from rural and regional Victoria look forward to the Show each year as a unique chance to demonstrate our world-class food and fibre and compete against the very best in their chosen classes.

“Last year’s cancellation – just the third time the Show has been cancelled in 173 years – was devastating for organisers, exhibitors, competitors and sponsors.

“There’s no reason we can’t hold events, at suitable locations, in a COVID-safe way. This could include holding the equestrian classes at Victoria’s international standard equestrian centre at Werribee.

“The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria is doing its best to fill the void, but after last year’s cancelled Show and the pressures the COVID pandemic has put on our tourism and major events industries, they can’t do it alone.

“The Andrews Labor Government’s got to come to the party with a plan to make it happen.

“Daniel Andrews has wasted billions on metro project cost blow outs and to polish his own public image with secret taxpayer-funded focus groups.

“Failing to swing in behind our agriculture sector at our time of greatest need would be another kick in the guts to rural and regional communities who already feel abandoned by the city-centric Labor Government.”

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