Plans to swap Launceston Show Day public holiday with a day off for Agfest shot down

Crowds were down for this year's Royal Launceston Show. Picture: Paul Scambler.
Crowds were down for this year's Royal Launceston Show. Picture: Paul Scambler.

A move to investigate changing the Launceston Show Day public holiday to coincide with Agfest was voted down at the Meander Valley Council’s meeting on Tuesday.

Councillor Bob Richardson brought the issue to the council’s attention, saying the main stakeholder was not the show society or Agfest organising committee but the general public. 

“In this case clearly the people of the Meander Valley are not supportive of the Launceston Show Day because they are not attending,” Cr Richardson said.

He said three shows across the state were held at the weekend and all were well attended, from Westbury with 3,500 people to Brighton which had about 23,000 through the gates.

“Not 9000 over three days (like the Royal Launceston Show), 23,000 on one day, because they have got the product right,” Cr Richardson said.

“The small shows are doing well because the show society is reading their audience and putting on a program that attracts people.”

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When asked if he had consulted with members of the show society or Agfest committee before bringing the motion to the table, Cr Richardon said he did not find it necessary because it was about the people, not the organisations.

But Cr Ian Mackenzie said the discussion was premature and would be the nail in the coffin for the Launceston Show.

The show society is in the process of compiling a report about the event and its long-term sustainability.

Cr Mackenzie also indicated that the council “would have a fight on its hands” with Agfest organisers if it planned to move a public holiday to the same time as the agricultural event.

“I am 99.9 per cent sure that Agfest will fight this all the way … the exhibitors and committee don’t want it,” he said.

“It actually costs them for it to be a public holiday … when I was once the Agfest site manager, every time this question was put forward (we found) penalty rates for public holidays would do more harm.”