MP’s concerns over future of ag shows

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The following is a statement released by Colin Boyce MP, Member for Callide:

Vaccine mandates need to stop! Country towns are facing the possibility of losing the one thing that
brings them together every year – the annual Agricultural Show. Member for Callide Colin Boyce has
serious concerns for the future of Shows in rural Queensland.

“Many shows are not going ahead this year due to the vaccine mandates,” Mr Boyce said. “It appears the current Queensland Health Vaccination Status Directive (No.3) is deliberately discriminatory against agricultural shows.”
“The latest directive is full of inconsistencies, anomalies, grey areas and confusion, and Queensland
Health are unable to provide any written clarification to questions asked by the show societies,” Mr
Boyce said.
“Dozens of show societies have been affected and are faced with the difficult decision of either
cancelling for the second or third time in as many years or excluding those patrons who don’t meet the State Government’s fully vaccinated status. These committees are seeking to hold an inclusive show
for all patrons, regardless of their vaccination status. They are simply requesting that the directives which apply to all other outdoor community and sporting events be applied to agricultural shows – the ultimate outdoor community event in their town.”
Mr Boyce is passionate about the economic and community benefits of annual agricultural shows,
which he believes are essential for the well-being of rural towns and districts. “Many of these shows
have been running for over 100 consecutive years, only cancelled previously for World Wars. We are
now looking at a very grim future for these show societies. Most country shows are completely
volunteer-run and many patrons only get to leave their stations and farms to connect with their wider
community once a year at their local show,” he said.
“The current directive allows unvaccinated patrons to attend Outdoor Community Events such as
markets, sports carnivals and private functions – all held at the showgrounds if the venue is hired for
this purpose. However, if the showgrounds are to be used for the purpose of an Agricultural Show –
as opposed to a fete, a fair, a market, a sports day, or a private party – those same patrons are not
permitted to attend. I am at a loss to understand the difference between these events and an
agricultural show.
“The directive appears to be explicitly directed at the delivery of the annual show by placing
restrictions on it that do not apply for 360+ days of the rest of the year. Different rules apply to the
same activities being applied to the same community of people for activities conducted on the same
grounds. For example, a food van with its own Covid-safe plan is permitted to operate and serve
unvaccinated patrons on any other day of the year at that venue, but is NOT permitted to provide the
same service at the same showgrounds for unvaccinated patrons if the event is a rural show.”
In 2021 in Queensland, 116 of the 129 shows were held with the support of 15,000 volunteers. All of
these shows ran Covid-safe events and not one case of Covid-19 was contracted as a result of
attending an agricultural show in Queensland. The economic impact the show industry has in
Queensland is significant with over 1.3 million patrons attending annually, spending on average
$116M per annum, spreading to $1.41M in the local communities.
The governing body QCAS, known as Queensland Ag Shows, have been unable to receive
clarification or answers as to why the Ag industry has been singled out in this way. To date they have
not been consulted or included in the development of any directives that so significantly affect them.
The Minister for Health and the Chief Health Officer are yet to reply to my urgent request to review
these directives and the adverse effect they are having on ag shows and rural communities as a

Images by Tracee Hay Photography

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