MAFFRA and District Agricultural Society will receive more than $254,000 from the federal government to build an all-weather dome over part of its cattle pavilion.
Gippsland MHR Darren Chester said the dome would create a multi-purpose space that could be used for many different purposes by numerous community groups.
“This dome will turn one end of the pavilion into a versatile covered event space, both during the Maffra Show and throughout the year, that can be used for exhibitions and live entertainment,” he said.
“The Maffra Agricultural Society is making a significant investment in community infrastructure at the recreation reserve. When it’s finished, they will have a new venue to host all kinds of events.”
Agricultural society president Tim Dwyer said the dome would cover about 60 square metres at one end of the old open-air cattle pavilion.
“This area will be opened up to provide better access into the food and wine area, which will be housed in this protected space, and then flow through to the cattle exhibits,” he said.
“The food and wine court has been an area of major growth at the show over the past 15 years, but bad weather has regularly impacted on it. The dome will help us to plan activities with a degree of certainty, while also providing major savings on marquee hire.
“We are ready to get the project started and will use local businesses wherever possible.”
The money for Maffra is part of more than $630,000 allocated to Gippsland through the federal government’s Regional Agricultural Show Development Grant Program.
Yarram Agricultural Society will also receive $115,190 to increase the capacity of its poultry pavilion to hold more indoor exhibits, and to provide more rides and attractions, including a monster truck circus show.
Mr Chester said the funding was a welcome boost for the volunteers who worked for the agricultural societies and others who supported the annual shows.
“It can be difficult the raise the money needed to undertake significant projects of this kind, particularly in our farming communities hit by drought, bushfires and now the coronavirus,” Mr Chester said.
“The shows are an important opportunity for communities to come together, to discuss the issues they are facing and to celebrate all that is great about where they live and the contribution they make.
“I am proud to support our local agricultural societies and help them to grow and strengthen their shows and continue traditions that stretch back well over a century.
“This funding is also an investment in our local facilities, which I hope will help support local jobs, both as the work is undertaken and afterwards when opportunities come up to use these venues in new ways.”