ADJOURNMENT - Agricultural Shows

I'd like to pay tribute to the 50,000 Australians who volunteer every year to put on agricultural shows. It has been a tough year for those involved in preparing for, and putting on, agricultural shows. With COVID last year, 500 agricultural shows across Australia were cancelled and that meant no income for those show societies and no income for lots of the showies—the show men and women who put on various amusements that we all love to take our families to in side-show alley and other amusements at shows. It's a great Australian tradition of going to the show or the Ekka or whatever it's called, getting a dagwood dog, getting a show bag, seeing some cattle on show and, if it's your ilk, to go on some of the various rides that are there as well. It was a great enjoyment to take my own family last week to both the Yeppoon and Rockhampton shows. They were spoilt because we had an LNP stall at those shows, so they got to go to both and they loved it, having missed out last year. So I do want to pay tribute to all those people who do that. It was a tough year. The government did help throughout this process, and I want to congratulate the government on having already provided $34 million of assistance to 378 show societies to help them get through the last year. I believe there's another $700,000 in supplementary funding about to be awarded to around 110 shows. That has helped make sure that we can put on shows again and enjoy this great Australian tradition once more.

But I did speak to a number of showies last week, when I was at the Rockhampton and Yeppoon shows, and there are some more challenges emerging for those involved in shows. It's something I think we need to turn our attention to. The showies I spoke to last week are very concerned about the withdrawal of insurance services from their market. Apparently, there have traditionally been only two major providers of public liability insurance to those who run amusements or various rides in sideshow alley, and in recent months they have both pulled out of the Australian market, so the two providers of public liability insurance are no longer active in Australia. What that means is that those who operate rides or other amusements at agricultural shows are no longer able to do so if they are not insured. Already this has seen rides taken out of service. I spoke to one showie, who has parked one of his star attractions—the Star Flyer, I think it's named—in a shed somewhere in Queensland because he hasn't been able to get insurance. As more and more of these insurance contracts come due in the months ahead, we might face a situation where sideshow alley is no more. I want to make sure that we do not see sideshow alley disappear from the showgrounds of Australia.

I thank the Assistant Treasurer, Mr Michael Sukkar, for speaking to me about this this week. I've raised this with him, and I know he's already across and aware of these things and in discussions to see what we can do to keep sideshow alley alive. I also want to thank the Showmen's Guild of Australasia and their president, Mr Lewis Osborne, who I've been in touch with. He's provided me with much information about the current situation; it's an issue I've raised down here in Canberra this week. On their behalf, I'll be taking up this cause to make sure that we can see a solution here for many of these dedicated Australians who bring so much joy, often to country towns whose people don't have access to the Dreamworlds, Movie Worlds and major amusement parks of others but, for one short period every year, get to go on a Ferris wheel, a roller-coaster, a ghost house or some other ride. We want to make sure that kids right around the country continue to have access to that.

Most importantly, we want to make sure that the agricultural societies continue to be able to sell and market their own shows, because it's so important that we show the entire country how important our agricultural sector is and how much it provides to our country. The shows that are put on around the country are a great way of doing that every year.

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