Media Release – Tasmanian Agricultural Shows, 1 October 2021

Tasmania’s Covid response wrecking events industry

Two different states. Two similar events. Two different Covid responses.

The Covid response between different health agencies in different states is starkly laid bare this week as the Royal Perth Show in WA greets up to 60,000 visitors a day, while next month’s Royal Hobart Show has been capped at 30,000 visitors for the entire event.

The President of Agricultural Shows Tasmania, and CEO of the Royal Agricultural Society of Tasmania, Scott Gadd, says the Tasmanian events industry is being wrecked by illogical Covid restrictions that don’t apply in other comparable states.

A tale of two states

The Royal Perth Show is currently underway in WA with a crowd cap of 60,000 visitors a day. Next month’s Royal Hobart Show has been capped by local health officials at 30,000 visitors over four days.

Masks are not required for people attending the Royal Perth Show this week. Masks have been mandated for people attending the Royal Hobart Show next month.

The Royal Perth Show, hard on the heels of a successful AFL grand final, will be a financial success this year, with crowd numbers reaching close to 60,000 a day.

The Royal Hobart Show will be a financial loss because of Tasmanian health restrictions, but is proceeding in a difficult environment to honour 200 years of agricultural showing in Hobart: a national first.

Both Tasmania and WA are in a similar position in regards to Covid, with closed borders, and in Tasmania’s case, no Covid-19 circulating. “Tasmanian Government ministers publicly admit there is no Coronavirus in Tasmania”, said Scott Gadd.

“Yet they are using a plan made for a worst case outbreak scenario to close down events, instead of a scalable framework that can be tightened or loosened as the situation changes.

“The Tasmanian events industry is still trying to understand why a special arrangement was made to host 10,000 people at an AFL match in Launceston, while other events are restricted to just 5,000.

“Our best wishes to the AFL for achieving this, but the inconsistency of Government health orders is creating winners and losers in our Tasmanian events industry.”

Mr Gadd said the health response to Covid in Tasmania needed urgent review. “We have 23 agricultural shows across every part of Tasmania due to be held next year, starting in February. Some of them have been cancelled for two years, and as we approach the end of this year we have no idea if they can proceed in 2022.

“The Tasmanian Government needs to come together with the industry to map out workable solutions rather than simply handing down health edicts based on a plan which erroneously assumes Coronavirus is rife in this state.”