President's Update: COVID-19

I write to you all in what are challenging and extraordinary times for all of us, including The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV).

The RASV has a proud history of celebrating agriculture, cultivating events and strengthening communities and much of what we do has been put on-hold as we deal with the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Over the past three weeks, major events, exhibitions and venues have all but ceased operation of their regular scheduled programs. This is also true at Melbourne Showgrounds. It’s certainly no longer business as usual. No one knows how long this issue will continue to affect us, but from recent government announcements one would expect at least 6 months. This is challenging and we are working in a dynamic and complicated environment.

We are still planning for the 2020 Royal Melbourne Show to go ahead at this stage. The issue of COVID-19 is evolving rapidly and we are considering various options as contingencies. We will continue to monitor the situation and adhere to the regulations and advice issued by the Federal and State Government and relevant health organisations as it unfolds.

This week we received a message of support from the Victoria Governor and RASV patron Her Excellency, The Honourable Linda Dessau. We thank her for her kind words.

Reluctantly we have had to postpone the 2020 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards (April) and the 2020 Australian International Beer Awards (May) with options to defer either or both to later in the year being considered.

The issue is evolving rapidly, however, we will endeavour to keep you informed. Be assured that the Board and Executive will continue to take considered and decisive action to best prepare the organisation to withstand this challenging period. In the meantime, please continue to listen out for further Government COVID-19 announcements and advice.

Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding during these unprecedented times. Please take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Matthew Coleman