CASH BOOST: Newcastle Show Association president Brett Gleeson is relieved after a state government financial lifeline. Picture: Jonathan CarrollTHE state government has declared the Newcastle Show must go on, throwing the iconicbut financially troubledattraction a $40,000 lifeline just days before the gates open.

Parliamentary Secretary for the HunterCatherine Cusackannounced the 11thhour grant on Wednesday afternoon, having earlier visitedNewcastle Show Association president Brett Gleesonto deliver the news in person.

“I wasn’t surprised–I wasrelieved,” Mr Gleeson said.“It will keep the show alive for another year.”

Organisers had become increasingly worried in the lead-up to Friday’s launch as they were yet toreceive confirmation from the state government the grant had been given the green light.

In January, Mr Gleesonrevealed to theNewcastle Heraldthe show was on the brink: it had just $10,000 in the bank and no reliable source of income.

The grant announced by Ms Cusack on Wednesday will fill a shortfall in sponsorship, Mr Gleeson said, who predicted the showwill now break-even.

As well as announcing a one-off$40,000 in funding, Ms Cusack also committed to a review that would“investigate alternative revenue streams to keep the Newcastle Regional Show afloat beyond 2017”.

She said the show association had“literally suffered from a perfect storm”, with itsfunds“bled dry” by theformer Labor government’s decisionabolish the former Newcastle Showground and Exhibition Centre Trust in favour of Venues NSW, which transferred income from the site to thestate government.

Show association: grant has ‘kept show alive’ Reader and Star giveaway winner Lisa Chawner photos from the show.

Reader and Star giveaway winner Lisa Chawner photos from the show.

Reader and Star giveaway winner Lisa Chawner photos from the show.

TweetFacebook“It would keep the money here rather than sending it to the state government’s coffers,” he said.

Labor haspreviously urged the government “excise the Newcastle showgrounds, including the Entertainment Centre, and return it to the care and control of a Newcastle Showground Trust”.

Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp lamented that Venues NSW wasusing the city as a “cash cow”, but thegovernmentargued Labor was to blame for management arrangements.

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