Member for Parkes Mark Coulton with exhibitors and prize-winning Charolais bulls at Warialda Show this year.

Country shows will go ahead across regional NSW despite the crippling drought and devastating impact of the bushfires, with the NSW Nationals in Government to sponsor the popular agricultural events that help boost businesses and community spirit.

The announcement of sponsorship grants of up to $5000 available for shows from the $170 million Drought Stimulus Package will be a huge boost to regional communities.

We know that people in rural and regional NSW are hurting, and country shows have always been part of the social fabric. To be able to keep these shows going this year will be a huge benefit to these communities, both as a moral boost as well as an economic boost.

Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said drought and bushfires had prompted the cancellation of more than a dozen country shows in recent months and government sponsorships would assist organisers of future shows in 2020 with costs associated with putting on the events.

“In drought regions local businesses are struggling to find the money they’d usually provide for sponsorships, and we’ve seen how bush fires on the South Coast resulted in cancelled shows where showgrounds became evacuation centres,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Country shows draw huge crowds which gives local businesses exposure and a chance to showcase products or increase sales, creating work for suppliers, keeping money flowing through towns.”

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said organisers could use the sponsorship money to employ local contractors, hire local equipment or for other show-related expenses.

“Shows bring together all the best things about a community, they give people a reason to come together and have fun, whether that’s cheering at a wood chopping event, competing for the best raspberry jam or visiting the livestock sheds,” Mrs Taylor said.

“As we deal with the devastating impact of bush fires and drought, it is going to be important for people to have a way to escape the pressures they are facing.”

Given the drought has affected most of regional NSW in 2019 and bushfires have touched many areas of the state, every show society in regional NSW will be able to apply for funding for their country show.