WONTHAGGI could see the end of the Bass Coast Summer Agricultural Show if their recurring council grant isn’t increased.
The show has been rolling along nicely for the last few years with sponsorship deals and the support of the Bass Coast Shire Council.
But mandatory occupational health and safety, and insurance requirements, means the costs have crept up every year.
“There’s some things we can’t ignore, particularly insurance,” secretary Rosemary Loughnan told councillors this month.
“It’s becoming harder to make a dollar.”
January’s show was a hit with the local community, but the society relied on surplus funds to make it through to the next year.
The show is almost four months away and they’ve only got enough cash for one more show.
In January, the show generated around $10,000 of ticket sales.
“While it doesn’t sound a lot, it’s a lot for a small not-for-profit show and so we were counting on that money to keep us in surplus, as we had been the year before.”
The society, keen to see the show continue, pulled apart every aspect of the show and found ways to save money.
It’s helped a lot, but they’re asking councillors to review the Bass Coast Shire Council’s recurring grant.
“We are a little bit on shaky ground, but extremely positive we can keep working,” Rosemary said, adding that she is extremely grateful for the council’s support.
“We do put on a great event, but we’re struggling at the moment, we’ve hit a bit of a rough river patch, which is pretty much Bass Coast Shire weather.”
The society receives about $5600 a year for the show.
Ms Loughnan said the society has also lowered the admission cost.
“We rather have a lot of people there, than people saying ‘I can’t afford to go to the show’.
“Some people in this community never get out of Wonthaggi, so we bring that type of entertainment to them.”
Cr Les Larke asked Ms Loughnan if she had a dollar figure in mind of how much the society would need for the show to continue.
“I will take anything,” she replied.
“People say you got to aim high when we talk about money with the shire, and I think ‘Yeah, right’.
“No, we’re going to share this with lots of other grants, but I know we deliver,” she said of the alcohol and smoke free event.
“Our OH&S is spot-on. We don’t cut any corners.
“We’re not interested in being cheap.”
Council officers are preparing a report into developing a program to review annual events and increase grants, where necessary.