FIONA PHILLIPS MP, MEMBER FOR GILMORE: It’s great to be at the Kangaroo Valley Showground with members of the Kangaroo Valley Show Society.
We know how important our local Ag Shows are in our community and this beautiful community here, I remember being at the Kangaroo Valley Show and it was so important for this community that had been through the bushfires and to have everybody come together it was so important for everyone.
So that’s why I’m really happy to announce that the Kangaroo Valley Show Society will receive $32,000 under the Federal Ag Shows Program to help with facility improvements here.
I think if anybody had been to the Kangaroo Valley Show recently they would have seen the beautiful work that members and the whole community had put in here.
I remember going around and meeting people in the poultry pavilion and they had lost things during the fires but were still able to enter things into the Show and into the pavilion. So I think that this shows how important it is and I’m just really happy to support that.
There’s also $37,000 for the Kiama Show Society for facility improvements there.
Of course we’ve got a number of shows, it’s so important that we need to get more funding for our shows in general, but I’m really happy that this investment is being made.
JOURNALIST: A lot of people would say that farmers are the backbone of our country and they’ve had a tough time over the last six months, can you talk about the strong will and the tenacity that they’ve shown?
PHILLIPS: Oh sure, our farmers have been through absolutely everything. Going back to the drought, it’s so tough for them to get through that period. Farmers are still recovering through that. And then on top of that we’ve had the bushfire crisis that has impacted this community here, but right along the south coast.
We’ve then had floods, and I think we’ve had some rain here which is very much needed and then of course now we’ve got coronavirus.
But it’s also shown that our local food producers, our farmers, are so important to making sure we have that food security for everyone in the community.
JOURNALIST: Then why do you reckon local infrastructure, especially Showgrounds and areas, not necessarily like this one, but around the State have been ignored for so long when they’ve desperately needed funding to upgrade facilities.
PHILLIPS: Yeah look I think the government needs to invest more in country areas. I think the past 12 months and what we’ve seen, the resilient spirit of people throughout the bushfires, drought, and coronavirus, we have the most amazing people but we do need to invest more in our country areas and that means through our country showgrounds as well.
JOURNALIST: You can probably tell us how important is an area like this to the local community?
DAVE KENT, CHIEF CATTLE STEWART AND EX PRESIDENT OF THE KANGAROO VALLEY SHOW SOCIETY: When you look behind us Simon, everyone loves the Valley. They come over here and probably Kangaroo Valley Show is probably our biggest community event. It gets everyone from all walks of life to come here. Obviously it’s agricultural based and it’s a competition so everyone enters their best bull, or as we’ve already mentioned their best chook, or their best sponge in the Pavilion, or photo. It’s just good friendly competition and that’s the ethos of the whole show and the ‘Friendly Show’ is what we call it.
JOURNALIST: And Fiona mentioned obviously her memories earlier on, how important are those sort of memories to not only to rural and regional based people, but people who come and visit and carry those on for generations.
KENT: As a local here, as we all are that live here and take great pride in the community, it gives you not a bigger thrill than to see people come to the show for the first time just to say look this is a country show. I mean how do you work ou a country show – as we say it’s the friendly show – get the opportunity to show off all your wares and I mean people are just overwhelmed from grandparents down to young kids that we can show them cattle, poultry, we have sheep shearing – all those types of things – yet anyone can come along and get involved in the dog high jump show or the egg and spoon race or the iron man. So we have a lot of fun competition.
JOURNALIST: Yeah it sounds great and just in terms of the money can you give us a general idea of maybe what it’s going to go towards?
KENT: Ah yes, first of all on behalf of the committee we’d like to thank the federal government for giving that. We have been fortunate in the valley that over the years we have had a great committee, we’ve put things together, we put many hours of labour in to make the showground how great it is and to get these added funds to help run the show more smoothly. Often you can’t always take the weather with you is an old saying, but if we have a stinking hot day or wet day, those little infrastructures like we’re standing under now just make the world of difference and that money will go towards weather protection for patrons under the seats. Hopefully a little bit towards an area over near the cattle to help them out and their exhibitors out of the weather, maybe a few fans in the pavilion to make the produce last that extra day and we’re very thankful. It will be put to very good use.