Photo caption: Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton officially opened the new cattle and poultry pavilion at the Coonamble Show earlier this year. These upgrades were funded under the Regional Agriculture Shows Development Grants Program.
Local shows across the Parkes electorate will no longer benefit from additional Federal Government funding, with Labor confirming it is scrapping the Regional Agriculture Shows Development Grants Program.
Last week Agriculture Minister Murray Watt admitted that $14 million in funding for agricultural shows was being “reprioritised”.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said this had sadly proved Labor was taking even more money out of regional and rural Australia, with infrastructure funding for agricultural shows now gone, including in the electorate of Parkes.
“We already know Labor has taken billions away from the regions, scrapping water and major infrastructure commitments,” Mr Coulton said.
“But now they are cruelly taking away the Regional Agricultural Shows Development Grants Program funding.
“This was money to improve infrastructure for agricultural shows in the Parkes electorate.
“Under this program, more than $1.6 million was provided to show societies in the Parkes electorate, including the Baradine P A and H Association, Binnaway P A H and I Association, Condobolin P A H and I Association, Coonamble Show Society, Mendooran P A and H Association, Mungindi Show Society, Walgett Show Society and Warren Pastoral and Agricultural Association for various infrastructure upgrades.
“It is another kick in the guts to communities in the Parkes electorate, especially when many are being impacted by devastating flooding.”
The funding was on top of $20 million previously provided for 122 shows to build new pavilions and exhibition areas, install seating, shade and weather protection, upgrade accessibility, improve public safety and animal welfare and upgrade power and energy efficiency.
“Ag shows generate a huge $1 billion annually in economic benefits, promoting new technologies and high-quality produce,” Mr Coulton said.
“For some communities and charities, agriculture shows are the financial boost they need to get them through the year.
“They are also the driver for innovation and education, showcasing Australia’s food and fibre and supporting tourism.
“Labor says the funding will be redirected for other government priorities.
“The Labor Government needs to explain why it doesn’t prioritise regional and rural Australia. It has abandoned our regional communities and taken much-needed infrastructure away.”