Launceston Show pleas ready soon

URGENCY: Steven HernykMr Hernyk said that by the end of the week, he would have submissions in to the State and federal governments and the Launceston City Council for funding and support to pay off the Royal Agricultural and Pastoral Society’s $200,000 debt and place the society on a viable financial footing so that the 133-year-old show could continue.

This needed to happen before the next creditors’ meeting in early January, when a decision would be made on whether to liquidate the troubled operation.

The show society directors called in Mr Hernyk as administrator nearly a fortnight ago to take over in an attempt to save the historic Northern show and set it up for the future.

He said that after he had talked with all levels of government and examined the business of the society, it was clear that the agricultural event had missed out on the promised initial infrastructure funding that would have kept it viable at Inveresk.

“The show society was in financial difficulty before it left Elphin because harness racing had left the site and that revenue had dried up,” Mr Hernyk said.

“One of the options presented to it was to sell Elphin and be part of the Better Cities programme.”

Under the Federal Government-funded Better Cities programme, the show society’s Elphin site was to be sold to make way for the Newstead College development and the residential sub-division that now exists. The society was to be part of the redevelopment of the old Northern railyards at Inveresk.

Mr Hernyk said he had written agreement from 1998 that the society would receive $1.7 million to build the infrastructure needed at Inveresk to run the annual Launceston Show.

“For whatever reason, that money was never forthcoming,” he said.

Instead, the society has spent from $20,000 to $80,000 each year providing power, toilets, temporary fencing, lighting and other basic facilities before financing each year’s event.

“No other show in Australia has those initial annual costs,” Mr Hernyk said.

Despite this, the show had made a profit every year except one since the move to Inveresk.

Mr Hernyk wants an immediate injection of funds from the State Government to pay off the debt and support from both the Launceston City Council and the Federal Government to provide the sustainability to maintain the show as an ongoing event.

He has received written confirmation this week from the Showman’s Guild that it will pull out of Tasmania if Launceston – the State’s biggest show – doesn’t continue.

The society is not bankrupt and creditors would be paid 100 cents in the dollar if it was wound up, Mr Hernyk said.

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