Dispute threatens $18m worth of Rocky Show rides
5AM: THE arrival of a new $2.5 million mega-ride and $18 million worth of other equipment hinges on the outcome of negotiations between the Rockhampton Show Society and the Showman's Guild of Australasia.
Just two weeks out from the Rockhampton Show, the parties are yet to reach an agreement on which rides will be on offer at the event.
Guild president Luke Hennessy and members of the Show Society remain hopeful a positive outcome could be reached, which would see the organisation's 100-plus year partnership continue.
Working with over 300 shows nation-wide, the guild has a Memorandum of Understanding between QCAT and shows, which sets out conditions for affiliation.
The guild claims the MoU had been broken by the Show Society when they advised of last minute layout changes which could affect up to 75% of guild members at Rockhampton.
Mr Hennessy said issues were raised after the 2016 event, but committee members from each party "walked away, shaking hands, moving forward for this year".
Issues were raised in November and at Easter which Mr Hennessy believed at the time had been dealt with satisfactorily.
About three weeks ago, Mr Hennessy and two senior guild executives flew to Rockhampton for a site tour and to work on an agreement.
However, that was unsuccessful.
"It's paramount we reach an agreement with the Show Society because the show is such an important event in the Rockhampton calendar," Mr Hennessy said.
"We really, really need to reach an agreement with the Show Society, which we are still in negotiation with.
"But we can't agree to an area with a sideshow area that's going to be dysfunctional.
"To have a few changes, it seems like a really small thing, but the slight couple of changes can really affect the whole area.'
The agreement would see the guild organise positioning of its members to produce the most effective layout for patrons.
In the case of an agreement not being reached, Mr Hennessy said individual operators would decide whether to attend the event.
"If we have an agreement, everyone comes in force, but if we don't have an agreement we can't control what our members do from there," he said.
Mr Hennessy said it was vital the community supported the show.
"They need to get behind it and get involved with it," he said.
"That's where we want to be, in there supporting it. It's a very hard decision, but it's a business for all our members. Sometimes people are travelling 12 months a year and the way the economy is at the moment you can't do it for practice."
A spokesperson for the Show Society said they were continuing to work through a number of complex issues relating to the MoU, but confirmed there was not yet an agreement between the parties.
They said the dispute stemmed from a decision to move the wood chop area after advice from Workplace Health and Safety following the 2016 event.
The spokesperson said it was also a practical move, with complaints from wood chop competitors they couldn't hear calls over noise from nearby rides.
The society are hopefully of reaching a mutually agreeable solution for all parties.