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Agriculture stories

Long run over for ag shows

The Royal Launceston Show, which has been running for 144 years, was closed in December three months after the Devonport Show had been scrapped after a 108-year run. The President of the Royal Agricultural Society, Jock Gibson, said the Launceston closure would be a great loss to the city and would have serious implications for other agricultural shows in Tasmania. Costs of running the shows have risen and crowd numbers have dwindled, in Launceston's case down from about 30,000 several decades ago to a low of about 9,000 in 2017. After the Launceston City Council declined to renew the society's lease, the Mayor, Albert van Zetten, said aldermen had been working with the show society for a number of years. "They’ve been trading at losses, or close to break even, for some time. We’ve had a statement come from their auditors to say that they are financially unviable, something that we took into consideration." The Royal Hobart Show is seeking to secure its future by leasing parts of the Royal Hobart Showgrounds for retail developments and the society has been promised a $1.5 million State grant to progress the projects if the Liberal Party is re-elected. The Chief Executive of the Royal Hobart Show Society, Scott Gadd, told The Sunday Tasmania the society had been obliged to find new revenue sources as show income had declined. The society recorded a $326,000 loss in 2016-17, despite a $426,000 return from leasing land to Bunnings. The four-day duration of the Hobart event is under discussion.

8 February 2018, Edition 191

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