Ride operators across the country are facing significant financial strain to operate attractions at agricultural shows across the country due to major public liability insurance hikes over the past two years.
With insurance premiums experiencing increases of more than 200 per cent, many small and family-owned operators are feeling the burden to make the contribution of amusement rides financially sound.
Showmen's Guild of Australasia committee member John Roberts said many ride operators associated with their organisation are struggling to achieve the $20 million insurance cover required to protect them from potential accidents at shows.
"There's a couple of blokes in our industry who have it, but not enough," Mr Roberts said.
"I'm about to go through the insurance renewal process myself, and have been told that, at this point right now, the $20 million is still unavailable.
"We can get $10 million in insurance and it's available to us right now, but what's the purpose if it won't be accepted at most of the events we attend; $10 million would be accepted at maybe 30 per cent of events we cover."
The Showmen's Guild of Australasia is responsible for 270 shows across NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Mr Roberts said there's no legislation to indicate operators need $20 million in insurance cover, rather it's discretionary.
"We don't believe COVID has had any impact at all on these insurance hikes, who's to know what the real story is," he said.
"We're reaching out to anyone who has contact or affiliation with the insurance industry to help us and represent us to secure adequate cover."
While admitting serious accidents on show rides are an irregular occurrence, Mr Roberts said there appears to be a disconnect between ride operators and insurers regarding the value of the show industry globally.
"We're under the same coverage as ride operators in the United Kingdom, United States etc., and are suspicious they no longer see the value in covering the industry," he said.
"Surveys have been conducted into the value of our industry, and the results from these surveys tell us as much as $100 million is generated from the travelling show amusement industry in Australia, which has flow-on effects on communities.
"Because of the pause on international travel, our shows have achieved exemplary business during COVID, and with communities continuing to open up, there's still great potential for agricultural shows to thrive further; we can't afford to lose them."