TASMANIAN Agricultural Shows, the peak representative body in the state, has once again called on the State Government to ease restrictions on large-scale events.
In a statement released last week, Tas Ag Shows called for a continuation of talks that began in late 2021, where government representatives met with event organisers from across the state to set a framework for the events industry in 2022.
The call came as – just three weeks into the new year – three of the state’s 23 shows have been cancelled or postponed.
“Tasmania was meant to be opening up this year, but continuing tough restrictions by the State Government on non-celebrity events make it either too complex or too financially risky to mount many activities,” the statement said. “Given the widespread prevalence of the virus now, Tasmanian Agricultural Shows acknowledges a loss of confidence in the community about attending many events.
“The Government must re-focus on underwriting event activities, as it indicated it was open to consider in 2021. There has been no further communication from Government on this now urgent need.”
The statement said the current pandemic landscape was created by the decision to re-open the state’s borders in December, and therefore a degree of responsibility falls on the Government to “consider ways to restore the confidence of the public in attending events”, and reconsider “illogical, event-killing restrictions”.
“Even though Covid-19 and Omicron have now become dominant throughout Tasmania, the local events industry remains subject to onerous restrictions imposed back when the strategy was to keep Tasmania virus-free.”
“This is the third year of pandemic chaos for Tasmania’s events industry, the pandemic has now reached into every part of the state, infection could occur on any bus, in any cafe, shopping centre, or entertainment venue, while restrictions are eased for major, ‘celebrity’ events, tougher restrictions that severely impact on local events are now irrelevant.”