Agfest should only be public holiday if show folds: mayors

Calls to change the Royal Launceston Show public holiday date to the Friday of Agfest are “premature”, says City of Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten. 

Alderman van Zetten said the City of Launceston was waiting for the findings from the show society before considering the change. 

“The Launceston Show Society board has committed to presenting a report to the City of Launceston before Christmas about the outcome of this year's show and the event's future,” Ald van Zetten said. “In my opinion, discussions about moving public holidays are a bit premature when we aren't yet armed with the facts.”

The Meander Valley Council will discuss whether the date should be changed for the municipality at its meeting on Tuesday. 

“I also understand there have been no formal discussions with the Agfest committee,” Ald van Zetten said.

His views were echoed throughout the rest of the north with a number of mayors saying they wouldn’t support the move unless the show had officially folded.

Northern Midlands mayor David Downie, Break O’Day mayor Mick Tucker and Dorset mayor Greg Howard acknowledged Agfest was the state’s premier agricultural event. 

“Agfest attracts a lot of people, it makes sense for [the change] to happen,” Cr Downie said. 

He said if his council supported the change,  they would discuss it, but there were no plans to yet. 

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George Town mayor Bridget Archer said it was disappointing to see he decline in agricultural show numbers, but said it could be discussed with her council if it was required. 

“I think there could potentially be some benefit in having a public holiday associated with Agfest given its popularity, but whether that necessarily has to be at the expense of another event, then I’m not sure,”she said. 

West Tamar mayor Christina Holhmdahl was unavailable for comment. The calls to change the date are being lead by Meander Valley councillor Bob Richardson. He will move a motion at the council’s November meeting asking councillors to write to Minister Rene Hidding asking for the change.