By TONY FOSTER
THIS year’s Brighton Show was a fantastic success, with some 20,000 people attending the one-day event.
The Brighton success certainly disproves the theory that agricultural shows are on the demise, based on dwindling attendances and even cancellations of shows in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.
If shows are well organised, remain true to their rural origins and provide good value entertainment for patrons, there is no reason why they cannot continue to be enjoyed for many years into the future.
The Brighton Show provides a showcase of the agricultural riches of our municipality and the surrounding region. As a rural and residential municipality on the outskirts of Hobart, Brighton is perhaps the perfect location for such an event and it is interesting that in one day, Brighton’s show attracted 50 per cent of the number of people that attended the Royal Hobart Show over four days!
A feature certainly is the involvement of the Jordan River Learning Federation School Farm, with students demonstrating their rural learnings and the value of this facility to our community.
There are also spin-offs for businesses, with the number of visitors to Brighton also supporting local service stations, the bakery, hotel and the like.
With entry charges of $10 for adults and $25 for families, the Brighton Show is affordable and with the entertainment and displays, represents good value for money for locals and visitors alike.
I have no doubt, that if this trend continues, the Brighton Show could, in time, become the most important agricultural showcase in southern Tasmania.
All credit for this must go to Brighton Show President Geoff Jackson and his hard-working committee and to the many others who contributed to this year’s success.
The committee is keen to improve facilities at the showgrounds and thanks to the intervention of local Federal MP Brian Mitchell, can now apply for Commonwealth Government funding under a new Agricultural Show Community Grants program launched by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The initial funding guidelines ruled out the Brighton Show as it was deemed to be ‘not rural enough’ because of its proximity to Hobart. Yet the Launceston, Devonport and Burnie Shows were eligible to apply for grants.
Mr Mitchell accurately pointed out that the Brighton Show was one of the biggest and most traditional agricultural shows in Tasmania, with sheep, cattle and goats and the wares of the CWA major attractions every year.
He described the claim that Brighton was less rural than Launceston as a joke.
Apparently, the Federal Government has seen the sense of the argument and the Brighton Show will now be able to apply for funding under the grant program. Hopefully, this will see the development of improved facilities to cater for exhibitors and patrons that will see the continuation of the success so clearly demonstrated by this year’s event.
Council will provide all the assistance it can to support a funding application from what is Tasmania’s best organised, most traditional and successful agricultural show.
As this is my final column for 2019, I would like to commend Brighton Councillors, management and staff for their efforts on behalf of our municipality over the past year and also take this opportunity to thank community members for their support.
I wish all a happy festive season, a merry Christmas and a successful and safe new year.
Tony Foster AM OAM JP is Brighton Mayor