Chief Executive Update - June 2021

The recent Victorian Government announcement regarding the further easing of restrictions in Melbourne and regional Victoria is welcome news and a positive step forward towards events being held again soon at Melbourne Showgrounds.

The signature event for the RASV is the Royal Melbourne Show and there is less than 100 days until the opening day this year. Despite the recent COVID lockdown in Melbourne, we remain confident that Victorians will be able to come together to celebrate the much-loved Royal Melbourne Show in 2021 from Thursday 23 September to Sunday 3 October at Melbourne Showgrounds.

“It’s time to celebrate Victoria – It’s Show Time” is our creative inspiration for the 2021 Royal Melbourne Show. In addition to celebrating and promoting Victorian agriculture, food, community services and regional areas, we plan to present a fresh new entertainment program at the 2021 Royal Melbourne Show to showcase Victoria’s talented creative industry.

The support and counsel we are receiving from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) in assisting us plan and deliver a COVID safe event is outstanding. We are most grateful for their interest and enthusiasm for the Royal Melbourne Show to proceed this year.

RASV Beverage Awards

Prior to the recent lockdown in Victoria, the RASV proudly held the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) Presentation Dinner in the Victoria Pavilion with more than 850 guests attending. Thirty-five trophies were awarded to breweries from around the world, with Dollar Bill Brewing from Ballarat awarded the prestigious title of Champion Australian Beer for their Gold Teeth Wild Ale. Ms Danielle Green, Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria, attended the evening and awarded the inaugural trophy for Champion Victorian Brewery to Footscray’s Hop Nation.

It was incredibly pleasing to deliver a successful AIBA in 2021 and I extend my sincere thanks to the beer industry in particular the judges and stewards, valued sponsors and partners and the AIBA Industry Advisory Group members of Tina Panoutsos, Craig Bowen, Justin Fox, Warren Pawsey and Billy Ryan for their involvement.

On the back of this highly successful AIBA program, we have recently opened entries for the 2021 Australian International Coffee Awards (AICA). First held in 2013, the AICA are recognised as Australia’s premier international coffee roasting and cold brew competition that attract entries from around the world. Entries close on Friday 16 July and judging will be held from Monday 9 to Wednesday 11 August at Melbourne Showgrounds. In a new initiative this year, the trophy winners will be announced on International Coffee Day on Friday 1 October in the MasterChef Pavilion at the 2021 Royal Melbourne Show.

Melbourne Showgrounds

The versatility, value and importance of Melbourne Showgrounds has been on show again in recent weeks during the COVID lockdown. Responding quickly to the heightened demand of COVID-19 testing, a second COVID testing centre was opened on-site, enabling testing in both Building 1 (Exhibition Pavilion) and Building 7 (Grand Pavilion). In addition to this, the Showgrounds Vaccination Hub is operating efficiently in Building 4, with up to 2000 vaccinations administered daily.

I am very grateful and proud of the RASV team who have been agile in responding to recent COVID outbreaks. The RASV team have assisted DHHS and Western Health scale up operations as required to maximise the number of COVID tests and vaccinations completed at Melbourne Showgrounds.

The recent COVID-19 lockdown has unfortunately impacted a number of trade shows and exhibitions scheduled to be being held at Melbourne Showgrounds during June and July. We are continuing to work with the organisers of each of these exhibitions to find alternative dates later in the year.

Equitana is one of the major events effected and as result Equitana 2021 will now be held at Melbourne Showgrounds from 11-14 November. We look forward to working with Rob Lockwood and his team at Equitana to ensure the event is highly successful.

RASV’s Regional Board Meeting

Each year at least one RASV Board meeting is scheduled to be held in regional Victoria and this year, the May Board meeting was held at the VEMI Conference Centre situated at the foothills of picturesque Mount Macedon. The May Board meeting was the first meeting for our three new RASV Directors Tina Savona, Kate Fraser and Kate O’Sullivan.

A highlight of the Board’s visit to Macedon was a visit to the fabulous Hanging Rock Winery & Vineyard and Speckle Park cattle stud. I sincerely thank John and Ann Ellis, owners and long-time Melbourne Royal exhibitors (both wine & cattle) for hosting us and for sharing views on the value of RASV competitions and awards. John and Ann’s valuable insights and feedback was a timely reminder of the intrinsic value, both commercial and social, that the RASV competitions and awards offer to producers.

Left to right:  Top Row: Darryl Ferris RASV Company Secretary, Directors: Dr. Peter Hertan, Darrin Grimsey, Kate Fraser, Rob Millar, Jason Ronald OAM.  Bottom Row: Kate O’Sullivan, Matt Coleman, Dr. Catherine Ainsworth, Noelene King OAM, Tina Savona, RASV CEO Brad Jenkins

Left to right: Top Row: Darryl Ferris RASV Company Secretary, Directors: Dr. Peter Hertan, Darrin Grimsey, Kate Fraser, Rob Millar, Jason Ronald OAM. Bottom Row: Kate O’Sullivan, Matt Coleman, Dr. Catherine Ainsworth, Noelene King OAM, Tina Savona, RASV CEO Brad Jenkins

Victorian Agricultural Shows (VAS) Convention

Our President, Matt Coleman is delighted to be a guest speaker at the forthcoming Victorian Agricultural Shows (VAS) Convention in Bendigo from 25-26 June. Matt will provide an update on the RASV and Agricultural Shows Australia (ASA). Also representing the RASV and speaking at the VAS Convention will be Karen Vassallo, Executive Manager Marketing & Events, and Christian Graff, Manager Risk and Safety, presenting on marketing and risk management respectively.

Members and our Community

Congratulations to Mr John Patterson, long time Royal Melbourne Show exhibitor who received an Order Australia Medal (OAM) for service to horse racing in the recent Queen’s Honour list. On behalf of everyone at the RASV, I congratulate John on receiving this wonderful recognition.

The Ekka, the Royal Queensland Show is the next Australian capital city Royal Show due to be held from 7-14 August. Please note that as part of a series of COVID safe measures and restrictions, the RNA will have capped entry numbers and is unable to provide reciprocal benefits to our members or members of any other Royal Agricultural Societies in 2021.

Finally, thank you to those of you who are financial members of the RASV for 2021. Your membership is highly valued and very much appreciated. If you are not a current financial member of the RASV, I encourage you and your family and friends to consider joining, particularly if you plan to exhibit at the 2021 Royal Melbourne Show. RASV membership is extraordinary value and provides you with access to a range of valuable and exclusive membership benefits including discount on competition entry fees, admission for you and a guest to the 2021 Royal Melbourne Show with access to premium hospitality areas.

Thank you once again for your ongoing interest in the RASV and I look forward to providing you with the next update in July. In the meantime, take care.

Brad Jenkins
Chief Executive Officer