Organisers of the Planting Festival in Woodfordia have announced the festival will not go ahead this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Organisers of the Planting Festival in Woodfordia have announced the festival will not go ahead this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus claims Coast event as others hang in balance

WOODFORDIA organisers have made a pre-emptive strike on coronavirus by cancelling an upcoming event as the pandemic claims other major events across the nation.

Among the major casualties is the Australian Grand Prix, Cricket Australia has banned crowds from the SCG at tonight's Australia v New Zealand match and Download Festival has been cancelled with headliners My Chemical Romance dropping out of their Australasian tour.

COAG (Council of Australian Governments) will today discuss the pandemic as pressure mounts on governments to restrict and cancel public gatherings.

The Mooloolaba Triathlon is scheduled to draw a major crowd to the region on the weekend, but there has been no announcement at this stage on how it will be impacted, if at all.

This morning Federal Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien said the Federal Government was in ongoing discussions with the nation's health experts about how best to manage public gatherings.

Woodford Folk Festival announced on social media yesterday that it had decided to cancel and give a full refund for the Planting Festival, which was due to be held at the Woodfordia parklands in the Sunshine Coast hinterland on May 1 to 3.

Organisers of the cultural, musical and artistic event made the announcement with "deep regret and much sadness", and said uncertainty hung over when tickets would be released for their major event, the annual Woodford Folk Festival.

"Just one infection in our construction camp for The Planting would cause the site to be closed and the festival to be cancelled at the last minute," the post stated.

"The Planting is only a two and half day festival, however, with the identification of even one case at the festival, the potential negative impact on other attending members of the community could last from weeks to months."

Mr O'Brien said Prime Minister Scott Morrison was losing sleep over the crisis, but was focused on getting expert advice, "making decisions and moving on".

"Everything we do has to be focused primarily on keeping Australians safe, protecting their health and also keeping the economy moving, so that people can stay in their jobs and households can continue to enjoy their standard of life," Mr O'Brien said.

"When it comes to making big decisions about events and whether people should attend, ultimately Government has to hear the advice of its experts and first and foremost that's our chief medical adviser and we need to continue to do that."

Mr O'Brien said his job as a parliamentarian was to act on the best expertise the country had to offer.

"Those discussions are being had at the moment, they are ongoing, they will continue to be ongoing," he said.

"Australians can take comfort in the way the Government has continued to keep ahead of this. Australia has already proven that it's managing this well and while we don't know what the future holds, people can rest assured that Scott Morrison is certainly barely sleeping, but just focused on getting this advice, making the decisions and moving on."