Legislative Council: Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Maitland Rural Show

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (14:58): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister update the chamber about her visit to the Maitland show over the weekend and inform us about the importance of these rural shows to their local communities?

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! I call the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development.

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:59): I thank the honourable member for his question. Rural shows are not just a day of fun for families, friends and visitors, though they certainly are fun. Rural shows, such as the one in Maitland over the weekend, have an important role in the social and economic fabric of the communities they are involved in and have a special role in bringing communities together. Indeed, on an economic basis, national figures show that agricultural shows across the country contribute more than $1 billion to the economy annually. They attract more than six million patrons and are supported by more than 50,000 volunteers.

The 144th Maitland show was truly a testament to not only the community that it serves but also to the thousands of people over multiple generations who have exhibited, judged, participated or visited, in the process helping to keep the show and all those like it across regional areas relevant, exciting and a much anticipated event in the calendar each year.

When I mention the generations who have all contributed to the success of shows, such as the one in Maitland, I must say it is truly heartening to see younger generations of South Australians who are taking a keen interest in the progress of our regions, as the future custodians of our ever-evolving agricultural industries and regional communities.

The future of rural shows across the state appear to be in good hands if the young people who I have had the privilege to meet, through initiatives such as the Young Rural Ambassador and Rural Ambassador programs, are anything to go by. I had the great pleasure at the weekend of spending time at the show with people such as Nick Rodda, who is the Show Society president and is a former participant in the Rural Ambassador Program. Also, Michael Hollow, who participated in a Q&A with other rural ambassadors, such as Lisette and Henry and others, talking about how much they had benefited from the Rural Ambassador or Young Rural Ambassador programs.

This year's Maitland show was another fantastic event, with competitions spanning from floral art to home brewing and almost everything in between, and of course, as the Hon. Kyam Maher will be particularly interested to note, the sausage roll competition. He has a degree of expertise in this area, and I couldn't help thinking he perhaps would have been ideal as a judge of that particular competition.

The Hon. K.J. Maher: I have done that before; judge sausage rolls at shows.

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: Indeed, and I believe the Hon. Mr Maher has done the job before at other shows, and perhaps the question remains of why wasn't he there at Maitland with me? It would have been an excellent opportunity, and I will make sure that I invite him along next time. As an example of the breadth of involvement in the show, I had the great pleasure of talking to Margaret, who is a judge there. She is almost 90 years old, and she was very busy in terms of judging the cakes, particularly the genoa cake, as I was speaking with her. I would also like to say thank you to Margaret for all of the time that she has put in to supporting the local show.

Entertainment at the Maitland show was aplenty, with V8 utes, ute muster, horse rides, car clubs, animals of course, music, food and fireworks. There really was something for everyone, and it was great to see so many people enjoying the great weather and things to do and see. One thing that I think was particularly appreciated by the local community was how many of the events were actually free. Once they got inside the gates, there were many events there that were actually provided free of charge.

I also had a great privilege of assisting Nick Rodda, the show president, to judge the best pet category as well as the best business stand. I thank the Maitland Show Society and Nick for the invitation to open the show. I congratulate them on another successful event and wish them every success for the 145th show next year, and hopefully many more beyond that.