Council rejects Show proposal following auditor's report
Published on 22 December 2017
Following receipt of an auditor's report, the City of Launceston has decided against supporting a proposal from the Royal National Agricultural and Pastoral Society to purchase back the society's lease at Inveresk.
Aldermen voted to reject the RNAPS request at a closed Council meeting on Monday, October 18.
Earlier this year, the Society's board committed to present a report to the Council before Christmas about the outcome of this year's show and the event's fiscal viability.
Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said that the Council agreed that it was neither fair nor reasonable for ratepayers to continue to fund the event, and voted to deny the society's request.
"The City of Launceston has been a major supporter of the Royal Launceston Show for many years, including through the provision of event funding support, and through strategic support by way of assisting in the development of a business case for the society, in collaboration with the State Government," Mayor van Zetten said.
"As a Council, we believe we've acted in good faith and in the best interests of the community to help support the Royal Launceston Show.
"Clearly, the Royal Launceston Show is not the success it once. Falling patronage and changing community expectations have taken their toll on the event.
"We simply do not believe it is either fair or reasonable for ratepayers to continue to support this event.
"We also consider further investment to be an unreasonable and unjustifiable risk to ratepayer funds."
Mayor van Zetten said that while the Council acknowledged that the venue at Inveresk presented challenges for the society, the Council had endeavoured to accommodate the board's requests to the greatest extent possible.
"It's important to recognise that the society sold its former showgrounds site at Newstead of its own volition and that the Council is not responsible for the event's current location, nor its financial situation," Mayor van Zetten said.
"It's now up to the show society to determine its future direction."