The show must go on
By BELINDA SCOTT
KEEPING the show on the road is becoming an increasingly expensive operation.
Coffs Harbour Show is on this weekend and Coffs Harbour show secretary, Lorraine Tibbs, agrees with the NSW leader of The Nationals, Andrew Stoner, that country shows and their volunteers are struggling under the weight of red tape and costs.
These include the costs of security and policing and rising public liability insurance, coupled with the burden of complying with animal health regulations, new livestock identification rules and occupational health and safety requirements.
Ms Tibbs said insurance for the two-and-a-half day 2005 Show had topped $9000, while mechanical sideshow rides had to have a $20 million per claim cover and trade exhibits a $10 million cover, a doubling of previous requirements.
Ms Tibbs said private security costs for the 2004 show had been more than $8000, plus the costs of policing the show after dark, insisted on by the Coffs Harbour Police, of $1600.
She said OH&S requirements were increasingly onerous, while all exhibitors now had to sign waivers and carry their own insurance cover.
Ms Tibbs said people were happy to volunteer for physical work but increasingly reluctant to take on administrative roles.
She said members of the small but hard-working show committee now specialised in just one section of the show, so they could keep up with all the 'rules and regs' and concentrate on their area of expertise.
But Ms Tibbs and show society deputy president Leonie Everitt are upbeat about the show's future, pointing to a renewed interest in horses, riding and horse breeding in the district, with Arabian horses and miniature horses among those being featured this year and new competitions like cat and dog shows popular.
The 2005 Coffs Harbour Show begins at 1pm on Friday and show hours are 1pm-10pm Friday; 8am-10pm Saturday, and 8am-3.30pm Sunday and entertainment ranges from the FMX Kaos Freestyle Motocross riders and Sunday's demolition derby to the Australia's Living History demonstrations and a baby animal nursery.
Entry to the Show is $11 adults, $7 pensioners and children under 15. A family day pass is $28 for two adults and four accompanied children. Pre-bought three day weekend passes, $35 for two adults and four accompanied children under 15, and $18 for one adult and two children, are available from the Secretary's office until noon Friday.