By CLARE HAYES
IF country show organisers are forced to pay for police security they will struggle to stay afloat.
Wauchope Show Society president John Graham told the Port News the cost could reach more than $10,000 a show and was too much money for a non-profit organisation to bear.
His comments are in light of a state government decision to waive police fees for a conference of wealthy business leaders in Sydney, compared to the "user-pays" system for organisers of country community events.
Wauchope Show organisers do not use police security. They pay just over $3000 for independent security – six guards on the gates, two at the bar and guards on the office.
But, Mr Graham said, if a proposed policy suggesting shows have a police presence and pay for it is endorsed, the show might not go on.
"It's not fair on a community group, a non-profit organisation, which struggles for funds all the time,"he said.
"We have to cover all our maintenance and then it costs a lot to run a show. How can rich people get away without paying?
"We would be in trouble if we had to pay $77 per hour per officer. I believe the Hawkesbury show paid $13,000 for police security. That is a cost no society could bear."
Mr Graham believes it is up to the discretion of the local area police commander as to whether there is an unpaid police presence at shows.
If police turn up to keep a check on things then Mr Graham said he welcomes them. He also said the Wauchope Show Society would not be able to pay for a concentrated police presence if they had to.