The Hon. R.L. BROKENSHIRE (15:57):. I rise in this matter of interest today to talk about agricultural shows and in particular on this occasion the Port Elliot Show. The Port Elliot Show was held recently on 7 and 8 October. It is a two-day show and it is a feature show now for the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Many years ago, my hometown and others in the district had shows as well. Unfortunately, we have seen a shrinkage of shows, but both the Port Elliot Show, the Strathalbyn Show and the Yankalilla Show are still very good successes and attract a lot of support.
I want to congratulate the whole committee. I know that the chair and all of the committee work very, very hard throughout the whole year. I particularly congratulate Gayle Garrett, the secretary. Having had my wife and children involved in a lot of different committees, I know it is the secretary that ends up having the heaviest role in background support to the requirements of the committee to get the shows happening each year.
Unfortunately this year, as it turned out, I was not able to attend the Port Elliot Show, but I did appreciate the invitation. However, since the show I have talked to a number of people who have said that this was one of the most successful agricultural shows that they had been to and that they thought that particularly the Port Elliot one this year was an outstanding success.
Unlike last year, when I was able to attend and a decision was made, because it was such a wet year and a wet period at that time, to cancel it, the weather was superb for the two days, and it was reported to me that they had extremely good crowds. I understand that those who had stalls there were also pleased with the day.
The Port Elliott show was established in 1869; it has been going for a very long time, and I am confident it will go for a long time into the future. One thing that did disappoint me was the cutting of funding through the primary industries minister, the Hon. Leon Bignell, to the shows right across South Australia. I think, from memory, it was around $40,000 a year that PIRSA was making available for these shows – an incredibly small amount of money in the big scheme of things, but that money was distributed across country South Australia to assist with the running of these shows, to assist with supporting trophies and other requirements of each individual show.
When you see the exorbitant waste the government is guilty of on a regular basis here in the parliament – reports that we read in the media and information we receive from colleagues – for it to be penny pinching and cutting $40,000 from the shows is just unacceptable.
The Hon. R.L. BROKENSHIRE: Some of the ministers would spend that sort of money just in business class fights overseas in one year. But that money is important and, as we head towards the election, I will be calling on the government and the opposition to reinstate that small but very important amount of money.
We need to keep the social fabric of our country strong. Shows are one of the ways of doing that as they bring the community together with the agricultural sectors and those who are involved in horse events, and the like. When I was younger, I used to help with my father-in-law’s stud, because he was always keen to support the Port Elliott show, and I remember going down there and grooming and leading the cows through the shows at Port Elliott, which was always a lot of fun. Sometimes we came back with some great ribbons for some of the best cows in the herd.
It brings young and older people together, and gives kids the chance to have a bit of fun with their families. It is time that there was a refocus on the importance of these shows and just what they do for country South Australia, particularly in our area on the Fleurieu Peninsula, where we have the advantage of being able to offer city people the chance to bring their children and families to experience country life.
A lot of that does occur, with people travelling from Adelaide to Port Elliott and other shows on the Fleurieu Peninsula, and I wish them much success into the future and encourage the hardworking volunteers on the committees. It is an enormous amount of effort they put in to continue that, but these shows are important to country South Australia and to all South Australians.