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Bass Coast show’s future looking shaky

THE Bass Coast Agricultural Show is facing an uncertain future.
The show has always been hugely popular, moving from Dalyston to Wonthaggi 40 years ago. It has brought competition, entertainment and fun to the community year in and year out.
However, the Wonthaggi Agricultural and Pastoral Society hit a snag in its funds following the inclement weather at this year’s show in January.
“We were rolling along nicely with great support from Bass Coast Shire Council,” the society’s Rosemary Loughnan said.
“However, mandatory (occupational health and safety) costs go up, and these are things we can’t ignore. It has become harder to make a dollar from sponsorships.
“This is not the wealthiest of shires and we need to work together as volunteers. We do our very best and have been acknowledged as one of the best ag shows in the state.
“This year we had a massive hit; the weather was atrocious. We are so proud of ourselves that nobody and no animals were injured. However, out of that came a massive hit and we count on the money from the gate to keep us in surplus.”
Ms Loughnan appealed to Bass Coast Shire Council to review its ongoing support to the show.
The show has been part of a recurring grants program. The grants program allows events that successfully receive grants for two years to receive ongoing support without having to reapply for another grant.
The show has received $5000 from council yearly, but the grants program has never been reviewed.
“We currently have around 40 events in the program, but a shortcoming of the program is that there is no review process at the end of each year. Longstanding events have started to fall behind in level of support because something changes during the year and the funds aren’t reassessed,” council’s events coordinator Frank Angarane said.
“I’m in the process of developing a program to review events and increase support where necessary.”
Mr Angarane said he expects this process to be finalised in the next month for council to review.
In the meantime, Mrs Loughnan said the society had done what it could to save money for the next show.
“We’ve ripped the show apart and I believe we have saved where we can,” she said.
“We have found ourselves on shaky ground, but we are extremely positive we can keep working. We want to work with the shire and review our ongoing grant, which we do not take for granted. We are not ones to jump up and look to take money, but we are struggling at the moment. We have hit a rough patch in this Bass Coast weather.”
Despite this, Mrs Loughnan said she hopes to reduce entry fees next year so as many families as possible can enjoy the show.
“It’s a bit controversial, but we’ve decided to pull back what we charge. We’d rather have a lot of people there than have people say they couldn’t afford to go to the show,” she said.
“Some people never get out of Wonthaggi, so we bring that kind of entertainment to them.”
Cr Les Larke asked Mrs Loughnan if she had a dollar figure in mind, to which she responded she would like to have enough money in reserve to ensure there was another show.
“We deliver a good event and we don’t cut corners (with our occupational health and safety). Our exhibitors and general public are the priority and we don’t want to be cheap at the risk of someone getting hurt,” she said.
“We just want to do the best we can for the town.”

Keep the show going: the Bass Coast Agricultural Show society has appealed to Bass Coast Shire Council for more support after experiencing wet weather at the last event. Despite the conditions, siblings Shaye, Josh and Chelsea came from Kongwak to enjoy the show on their school holidays in January.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=22653

Posted by on Sep 19 2017. Filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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