Cost hike hits show
By SALLY GORDON
OPERATIONAL costs for the Maclean Show will soar to almost $20,000 this year, with organisers facing a sharp hike in security fees.
Maclean Show Society president Don Cameron said this year, organisers have been forced to pay around $5000 just for security.
He said increasing costs would not cripple the 2006 show but added to fears smaller agricultural shows could die in the future.
This year, an extra three security guards are being employed to patrol grounds after an incident on the final day of the show last year involving alcoholfuelled youths.
Two permanent police officers and five security guards will be hired to ensure the safety of patrons.
Mr Cameron said police officers would be paid between $70 and $80 an hour, per person to control crowds.
He said the show's beefed-up security was regulation.
"It's the law, we have to do it," he said.
"We've always had security but we've had to upgrade it this year.
"You hope you don't have any problems in the showground, but you never know, and this is the law, you have to make things safe for people."
The president claimed the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the future of the show always loomed, particularly in the face of increasing costs.
"It's always there, it's getting harder and harder each year to run the show with the overall costs rising and finding things to keep the crowds entertained," he said.
"Generally it's the same case for all smaller shows. Finance is a big problem ... it costs a lot of money to run it and this year after we've paid for security, insurance and all the incidentals, we won't have much change out of $20,000."
Over the past few years organisers also have had to contend with a drop in agricultural exhibits.
This year there will be no cattle entries at Maclean due to other competitions running at the same time.
But, Mr Cameron said renewed interest in goat and horse showing should fill the gap.
The Maclean Show is being held May 2-3.
The Lower River event is followed by the Grafton Show, which this year will run over May 5-6.