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08 September 2021
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The State Government has put aside another $300,000 to support agricultural societies recover from cancelling their annual shows due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas has officially opened the Agricultural and Pastoral Society Grants Program for this year, with grants of up to $10,000 available to successful applicants.
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Agricultural shows across the Wimmera-Mallee are among the many events to fall victim to the pandemic and subsequent restrictions, lockdowns and general uncertainty.
Ms Thomas said agricultural shows played a significant role in regional Victoria’s vibrant calendar of events, promoting the agriculture industry and showcasing the best of the state’s livestock, local art, craft and artisanal produce.
She said the events, drawing on volunteers to their committees from across the community, were also important social institutions.
“From the very young to the very old, Victorians love their local show and the pandemic has again played havoc with these local institutions – that’s why we’re providing this vital support,” she said.
“Agricultural shows are a significant part of not only regional Victoria but the entire state, providing opportunities for up to 50,000 volunteers and attracting about two million patrons annually.”
Recipients can use grants for a variety of purposes, including implementation of COVID-safe measures and support for the use of technology to encourage remote participation in show activities.
They could also use them to develop infrastructure, increase community involvement and improve show planning activities.
The annual grants program continues to support up to 90 percent of the total cost of projects. Earlier this year, the government announced 46 recipients from a 2020 program, which shared in almost $300,000.
Recipients used the grants for various projects, including purchasing a grandstand, extending a shearing pavilion, providing sanitiser stations, the installation of solar panels and the purchase of portable animal yards.
Ms Thomas said the government would continue to support agricultural and pastoral societies and their communities and economies and support regional jobs as the state united to combat the pandemic.
Applications for the Agricultural and Pastoral Society Grants Program are open until October 3.
More information is available online at agriculture.vic.gov.au.