RNA 'Ekka' decision will be made soon

RNA working very closely with state government that it could be used as an emergency hospital

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The Ekka grand parade - file picture

The Ekka grand parade - file picture

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Queensland Ag Shows state competition finals cancelled for 2020 while Ekka yet to make the call.

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The history books of the Brisbane showgrounds could be re-written with the RNA working very closely with state government for the convention centre to be used as an emergency hospital if the COVID-19 outbreak reaches the severe stage in Queensland.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the facilities at the Royal Queensland Show property followed by Brisbane's convention centre in South Bank would be used in a "worst case scenario".

An RNA spokesperson confirmed on Monday it is working very closely with the Queensland Government to ensure the Brisbane Showgrounds can be utilised as effectively and as quickly as possible to provide temporary hospital accommodation and other health needs as required.

"The RNA is dedicated to providing all the assistance and support it can to Government and the health authorities in these very challenging and uncertain times," they said.

"Our convention centre can be transformed into a functioning hospital and we will provide every assistance we can to the Government to ensure this occurs for the people of Queensland."

Over the past 144 years, the Brisbane Showgrounds have been used to help the community in times of crisis, including being used as a treatment centre in 1918 for those suffering from Spanish Influenza to an evacuation centre for those impacted by the devastation of the 2011 Brisbane floods.

During the Second World War, it was again occupied from late 1939 to 1944 by military authorities as a venue for training, accommodation and embarkation of troops.

Troops at the exhibition grounds initially slept in pig and cattle pens; the bars beneath the John MacDonald Stand became wet canteens; and troop trains departed from the railway platforms normally used by show patrons.

In 1940 and again in 1941, the military vacated the grounds temporarily for the August Exhibition.

Following the entry of Japan into the war in December 1941, American troops were stationed at the showgrounds and the Exhibition of 1942 was cancelled, but a limited Ekka was held in 1943 and 1944.

The spokesperson said "with the announcement of the ever increasing social distancing measures being implemented by the Federal Government on a daily basis it is looking less likely the 2020 Royal Queensland Show will proceed."

"Considering this we are liaising with Queensland Health on a daily basis and a final decision will be made on the show in the coming weeks."

Queensland Ag Shows State Competition Finals 2020 Update

At an Agricultural Shows Australia teleconference on Friday 27th March the decision was made to cancel the 2020 National Competition Finals for Rural Ambassador and Young Judges and Paraders that were to be held in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, in October.

It also determined that any competitors who had qualified for these finals in 2020 would be eligible for 2021.

There will be a further meeting of the ASA Working Group in May to discuss logistics for a 2021 competition.

As a result of this decision by ASA, the Queensland Ag Shows Board has also decided to cancel all Queensland Ag Shows State Competition Finals for 2020.

Any decision on 2021 eligibility will be determined at a later date. The decision to cancel the 2020 finals was to give some clarity to the position.

Queensland Ag Shows general manager Trevor Birmingham said shows and sub-chambers will now have to determine how this decision applies to their circumstances bearing in mind that there will be no progression to any Queensland State Finals in 2020.

"Further information about any 2021 competitions will be provided once the future direction is able to be determined when the full impact of the current situation is known," Mr Birmingham said.

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