It has been an extraordinary first half of the year, even for an organisation that was founded in 1848! The past four months have been particularly challenging for The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV).
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our organisation. In addition to the cancellation of the 2020 Royal Melbourne Show, we have been unable to hold events at Melbourne Showgrounds due to the restrictions on mass gatherings, resulting in a 90% reduction in revenue. We have undertaken many changes to the business to ensure we remain viable and in the best position possible to bounce back when restrictions on mass gatherings are lifted.
I am pleased to advise that RASV is playing an important community service role during COVID-19. We are assisting the Department of Health and Human Services establish a pop-up COVID-19 testing site at Melbourne Showgrounds. The convenient vehicle drive-through testing site is designed to ensure our community can access safe and reliable testing facilities. For further information visit the Department of Health and Human Services website here.
Federal Government announced funding for Royal Shows
We are very pleased that the Federal Government recognises the importance of the Royal Shows to the community and have announced funding for the Royal Agricultural Societies. This funding will provide the opportunity for the RASV to recover from COVID-19 and to commence planning for the delivery of the 2021 Royal Melbourne Show. I want to take this opportunity to thank Rob Wilson, Chair of Agricultural Shows Australia (ASA), who was instrumental in securing the funding.
Melbourne Showgrounds master plan - Our Showgrounds, Our Future
Despite these challenging times, we have much to look forward to as we develop a master plan for Melbourne Showgrounds to shape Our Showgrounds, Our Future. The plan will identify how the site can be improved to maximise its potential as a centre for agriculture, events, exhibitions, and wider community use.
We have commenced the first stage of community consultation to ensure the much-loved precinct can best serve the needs of Victorians now and for generations to come. A dedicated Our Showgrounds, Our Future website has been created as a platform for the community to come together, comment and share ideas about the future of Melbourne Showgrounds. I encourage you to complete the survey by 5pm 30 June, share your thoughts and memories, and sign up for project updates.
An update on the RASV Board
I am most grateful to our Board of Directors who are devoting a significant amount of additional time to the master plan process and also providing tremendous support and counsel to management and staff throughout these unprecedented times. As the 2020 AGM approaches, it is an opportune time to advise you of some changes to the Board made earlier this year. Dr. Catherine Ainsworth, who joined as an RASV Director in 2017, was appointed to the position of Deputy Chair in March.
Dr. Ainsworth’s appointment was made with Scott Chapman resigning as an RASV Director earlier this year. Scott was appointed as a Director in 2009 and we appreciate his significant contribution to the RASV, serving on the Audit & Risk Management and the Nominations & Performance Board Sub-Committees as well as the role of Deputy Chair from 2016-2020.
Vale Geoff Beard and John Holt
I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge RASV Life Councillor Geoff Beard and RASV Life Member John Holt who both passed away recently. Both men were highly respected and admired contributors to the Royal Melbourne Show. Geoff was a past RASV Horses in Action Committee Chair and a stalwart of the equestrian community and John was a Royal Melbourne Show Woodchop Coordinator for many years. Our sincere condolences and best wishes go to their families and friends.
Queen's Birthday Honours
I wish to also acknowledge the Queen’s Birthday Honours that were awarded to our close stakeholders Dr Jo Newton OAM, Deputy Mayor of Melbourne Arron Wood AM and Mr Graham Day OAM for their incredible work. Congratulations! the Queen’s Birthday Honours are very well deserved.
Thank you to all of our wonderful members and stakeholders
Finally, I want to thank you for your ongoing support of the RASV, particularly those of you who have renewed your membership this year. Your membership is more vital than ever to assist the RASV in continuing to celebrate agriculture, cultivate events and strengthen communities.
To find out more information about the program of RASV events and activities, I encourage you to read the articles below. Included are details about the launch of the new broadcast-quality Encore Virtual Studio at the Melbourne Showgrounds, details on our Melbourne Showgrounds master plan, the launch of the RASV Hoof and Hook Competition and the opening of entries for the 2020 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards.
I look forward to sharing more updates with you throughout 2020. In the meantime, I wish you well and take care.
Chief Executive Officer
Melbourne Showgrounds master plan commenced
Contribute to the future of Melbourne Showgrounds and visit the Our Showgrounds, Our Future website to have your say here.
RASV announce Hoof and Hook competition
A regional ‘hoof and hook’ competition will replace the Royal Melbourne Show Beef Carcase Competition this year. Read more.
Royal Melbourne Wine Awards entries now open
The judging of Australia’s best wines will occur over five days from 5-9 October, at Melbourne Showgrounds. Read more.
Encore Virtual Studio launched at Melbourne Showgrounds
New broadcast quality virtual studio now available at Melbourne Showgrounds. Read more.