DISPUTE: The Rockhampton Agricultural Society and Showmens Guild can't agree on a key piece of land at the bottom centre of this picture.
DISPUTE: The Rockhampton Agricultural Society and Showmens Guild can't agree on a key piece of land at the bottom centre of this picture. Contributed

After Rocky's show split, chances of a reunion are fading

A TRAPEZIUM is the proper name for a triangular-shaped block of land that lies at the heart of the bitter Rockhampton Show dispute.

The land dispute - which saw the Rockhampton Show torn into two rival shows in 2018 - is headed for a dramatic intervention by Rockhampton Region Council after news has emerged of the Showmens Guild rejecting Rockhampton Agricultural Show Society's offer of a compromise.

The offer saw the agricultural society (literally) giving ground ahead of their self-imposed August 31 deadline to reach a resolution before they would start exploring their options for alternative ride operators for next year's show.

After the rival shows were held in June, Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow said the ongoing disagreement was damaging to the reputation of the city.

Mayor Margaret Strelow demanded a resolution to the show split.
Mayor Margaret Strelow demanded a resolution to the show split. Allan Reinikka ROK260618abudget2

She demanded the warring parties sort out their differences (by mediation if necessary) and reserved the right of the council in their role as the landlord of Rockhampton Showgrounds to intervene and force land allocations if a reunion compromise couldn't be reached.

When Rockhampton Agricultural Show Society chief executive Julie Collins was asked what would happen in the case of a council intervention, she admitted they were powerless to stop it but wondered how it would be possible.

"We've had a meeting with the mayor and that was not discussed, it was a suggestion which I don't know whether there's been enough consideration put into the logistics on how that could work,” Ms Collins said.

Keen to negotiate a solution, Ms Collins produced a draft map, featuring a trapezium space sharing compromise, allowing a strip of guild rides to back onto the wood chop.

SHOW COMPROMISE:  Rockhampton Agricultural Show Society has given ground and provided extra space for the Showmens Guild in the disputed area of land.
SHOW COMPROMISE: Rockhampton Agricultural Show Society has given ground and provided extra space for the Showmens Guild in the disputed area of land. Contributed

"There would be space, you could put temporary fencing up (to protect against flying wood chips) but they wouldn't be able to have a generator here as the wood choppers count on hearing the announcer,” she said.

"They've asked us for a suggestion, all we're required to do is give them space, how they use that is up to them.”

She sent the proposed map to the Showmens Guild at the start of August and awaited the outcome of their Thursday meetings as to how they would proceed on the space issue.

Rockhampton Show Society management committee member Julie Collins
Rockhampton Show Society management committee member Julie Collins Chris Ison ROK060415cshow1

Another sticking point for an agreement was the fact that for the past four years, the guild has not shown the show society their their insurance certification to run the rides with adequately trained staff, which Ms Collins regarded as a potential future deal-breaker.

She said this was particularly important in light of incidents at shows held around the country and the fatal ride disaster at Dreamworld.

Showmens Guild

The Australian Showmens Guild responded to Rockhampton Agricultural Show Society's proposed layout changes and addressed concerns regarding insurance certification.

Luke Hennessy from the Showman's Guild of Australasia talks about the upcoming event at Callghan Park after negotiations on space at the show grounds fell down with the Rockhapmton Agricultural Show Association.
Luke Hennessy from the Showman's Guild of Australasia talks about the upcoming event at Callghan Park after negotiations on space at the show grounds fell down with the Rockhapmton Agricultural Show Association. Chris Ison ROK280518cfestival3

Fresh out of a meeting with guild members to discuss whether show rides and wood choppers could co-exist, the Showmens Guild Rockhampton president Luke Hennessy said his members rejected the society's map.

"We asked the Rockhampton show society to provide us with a positive option to take back to our members but have received nothing so far,” Mr Hennessy said.

"Just the same situation that we disagreed to back in January of this year.

"Our members did not want to accept the proposed map.”

He said the situation had grown past the initial issue of site displacement.

"Both the show society and Showmens Guild will have to agree to many of the evolving issues which are now present after the 2018 split,” he said.

"Gate entrance price, entertainment, etc.

"We believe that the August 31 deadline is too short to iron out all the issues between both parties.

"I will be meeting up with the Rockhampton representatives at the upcoming Ekka in an attempt to move forward with the 2019 show.”

Luke Hennessy, Rockhampton president of the Showman's Guild of Australasia
Luke Hennessy, Rockhampton president of the Showman's Guild of Australasia Chris Ison ROK280518cfestival2

Mr Hennessy said the insurance certification was simple to address.

"Presenting our insurance is not an issue,” he said.

"Each Showmens Guild member must be adequately insured as a condition of the membership. This is checked by our committee and presented when required.

"Showmens Guild representatives work closely with workplace health and safety to assist in carrying out audits on all equipment and training.

"This ensures customer safety to show-goers throughout Queensland.”



Gallery: 2018 Barra Bounty 'bigger and better' than ever

premium_icon Gallery: 2018 Barra Bounty 'bigger and better' than ever

BIGGEST barra winner: 'It was the fish of a lifetime'

Lauga pushes to cap leases for low income earners

premium_icon Lauga pushes to cap leases for low income earners

ANTI-poverty forum raises awareness of pay day lenders

Generous offer for tradies hit by builder collapse

premium_icon Generous offer for tradies hit by builder collapse

Local landlords encourage businesses to rise from the ashes

Local Partners