Press Conference

  • Transcript, E&OE
Topics: T20 Cricket World Cup; Crown allegations; Shayna Jack.
29 July 2019

Simon Birmingham: T20 World Cup is going to be an amazing opportunity for Australian sports fans, for international cricket players, the women's tournament happening in February next year. The men's tournament playing through October, November next year. But it's also an incredible tourism opportunity for Australia. We saw last time Australia hosted a World Cup, there were around 100,000 people visited Australia to attend and participate in the World Cup.

What we're looking for in hosting the T20 World Cup is to make sure that we do even better and that's why the Morrison Government is investing $5 million to particularly target the Indian market and to boost and grow tourism to Australia, cricket tourism to Australia from the Indian market where we know of course, there are millions of people across India who are just so passionate about their cricket and their desire to be able to watch it, scream, yell, cheer, for their side and see the best cricket played in the world which is going to happen right across Australia.

This $5 million investment is an opportunity for us to hit for six the Indian tourism market, make sure we get more people here celebrating, watching cricket and ultimately supercharge our tourism industry.

Tourism Australia will be using this investment to support the promotion of travel packages through a mixture of platforms using traditional media and new media opportunities. And they'll be making sure that we get value for money for taxpayers by attracting thousands of additional tourists to Australia who ultimately are going to spend up across hotels and restaurants.

What we really want to do is not just have cricket fans coming and watching the match, we want to make sure those cricket fans are leaving the match, spreading out to regional Australia, enjoying our unique tourism experiences and being able ultimately to go home and recommend to their friends, family and otherwise that they ought to come here too. I want to invite my colleague and friend Richard Colbeck the Minister for Sport to say a couple of words. And Nick from T20 World Cup to say a couple words and then we'll take some questions.

Richard Colbeck: Thanks Simon. These two events happening next year, give Australia the opportunity to again demonstrate our wonderful capacity in hosting global sporting events at a time when we're looking to host, putting in a bid for the Olympic Games in 2032, Women's Soccer World Cup in 2023. These two events give the opportunity for Australia to demonstrate our enormous capacity in a friendly way to host the World for a major sporting event. And hopefully, draw in significant crowds.

The objective is to have well in excess of a million spectators at these events and particularly on the event of the final for the Women's T20 World Cup in March next year, we're looking to have the largest ever crowd at a women's sporting event at the MCG. So a number of things that we can target as part of this at a time when our, particularly our women's team are doing so spectacularly well winning the Ashes in the UK, in recent times, we hope we can see them bring that fantastic form back to Australia for the T20 World Cup next year and look forward to the men emulating the women's success in the Ashes that are starting on Thursday night. A huge opportunity for Australia and a very exciting couple of events to be conducted next year.

Simon Birmingham: Thanks Richard.

Nick Hockley: Thank you. Good morning everyone. It's such a pleasure to be here in Manuka Oval, one of our fantastic venues for the T20 World Cup and with the Cricket World Cup, the 50 over version in England now complete, we can proudly say that Australia 2020 is the next major global cricket event. The women's event is happening in less than seven months' time and then we have the men's event in October – November next year. We saw in England just huge numbers of really passionate fans from all around the world and absolutely we're looking forward to welcoming the world to Australia next year. I'd like to give an enormous thank you to the Australian Government for all their support and also for our partners and governments all around the country. Major events like this don't happen without the fantastic support and particularly this morning's announcement is going to really contribute to many more people coming from India and from the subcontinent, from around the cricketing world. And we look forward to giving them a really, really warm welcome next year. Thank you very much.

Simon Birmingham: Excellent. Alright. We'll take some questions. First of all on the announcement. Anybody?

Question: Are you expecting people from America to come as well? From the US considering they're such big sports fans?

Simon Birmingham: Well look, we're hoping to get cricket fans from all over the world. Now, the US is not quite as renowned for its cricket fans as other markets. Clearly, we're hoping that the excitement out of the 50 over World Cup that saw England win will turbocharge the Poms to come and we're hoping that the Kiwis having felt the despair of losing in such an exciting final will get them across. As Richard said, we're hoping the excitement that is surrounding women's cricket at present will get many more people visiting for the women's tournament at the start of next year and ultimately, the Americans and others are all welcome and encouraged to.

But this is particularly investment to target the Indian market which has so many millions of passionate fanatical cricket fans and we want to make sure that many of them hop on a plane and come to Australia to watch the matches.

Question: Minister, it's being claimed that Ministers asked the former Border Force Commissioner to suspend visas for high rollers on behalf of Crown, why should those people get special treatment?

Simon Birmingham: Well I'm not aware of the particular claims. What I would assure Australians is that our law enforcement agencies are given the powers to do their jobs and to ensure that they protect the operation of all of Australia's business activities, including the operation when it comes to gambling institutions and those law enforcement agencies work closely with state regulatory bodies and to ensure that the laws of both state and national are upheld.

Question: The particular claims are that two ministers and one backbencher asked a Border Force commissioner to speed up those visas. That's the particular claim. Isn't that least a breach of the ministerial code of conduct if anything?

Simon Birmingham: No. Again, I'm not aware of the specifics of those particular claims. I've seen the stories overall as they relate to the Crown and what I would tell Australians, as I said before, is that our law enforcement agencies work closely with regulatory bodies particularly at the state and territory level and to ensure they uphold the highest of standards in the conduct of those gambling entities.

Question: Should there be an inquiry if those claims ring true?

Simon Birmingham: Well, I'll wait to see the detail before I cast judgment.

Question: Well if you haven't seen the detail then generally isn't this a sign that there should be concern over China's influence in Australia via Crown?

Simon Birmingham: Well again as I said, we have in Australia extensive law enforcement agencies that are in place that work closely with state regulatory bodies. Now the Attorney-General I'm sure will be briefed in relation to some of the allegations that are in the media today and to make sure that the law enforcement agencies have the powers at hand to work effectively with those state regulatory bodies who have the oversight directly of casinos such as Crown.

Question: Just back to the cricket, what sort of numbers are you expecting for Manuka Oval?

Simon Birmingham: Well for Manuka Oval, look, I'll ask Nick if he wants to predict crowd attendance here in Canberra. But what we saw as I said last time Australia hosted the 50-Over World Cup was around 100,000 additional tourists to Australia associated with hosting that major cricketing event. In terms of the Indian market, we attract around 370,000 tourists from India at present. And what we hope is to see that really spike up next year as a result of this targeted marketing to get more of those Indian tourists to come to Australia specifically for the men's and women's T20.

Nick Hockley: So we're looking forward packed stadiums, supporting all the different teams from around from all around the country. I remember back to the 2015 Cricket World Cup here at Manuka. We had Afghanistan play against Bangladesh and it was an absolute full house, so you know whether it's Australia competing or whether it's any of the other teams we're expecting really strong support and we'd encourage people – tickets to the women's events are on sale at the moment and we encourage people to jump on get in early so they don't miss out.

Question: Is $5 million enough money to target all of India? Is that the- how was that budget arrived at for such a big continent like India with 1.3 billion people?

Simon Birmingham: Well as with any budgeting decision, of course, you can always spend more. But we have to spend within our means too. The $5 million is a substantial investment to target one event essentially in terms of the T20 World Cup; two events in the sense of the women's tournament and the men's tournament. But one marketing activity driven into a single market – India – it will be sufficient to sustain across multiple platforms. And that's what we hope will help to get the best possible yielding result for the Australian economy. Tourism is a huge driver of the Australian economy. Around one in 13 jobs across Australia are related to the tourism sector, and so investment in major events like this and getting more tourists to them, helps to secure jobs for Australians right across the country.

Question: Has there been a figure reached for targeting other countries as well, like England or like Pakistan, New Zealand, any other big cricketing nations for example?

Simon Birmingham: So we've been seeing significant growth in the Indian market recently, and we see this opportunity around the World Cup as particularly unique to India to not just get more tourists coming for the events but also to provide a further lift in those Indian tourist numbers. That will then be sustained over years to come is our plan. In relation to other more mature tourism markets where Australia already has large visitor numbers, such as the UK, then of course promotion of the World Cup will be integrated into Tourism Australia's normal marketing activities as they collaborate with the rest of their partners.

Question: Just on – for Minister Colbeck if you don't mind – about the Shayna Jack drug scandal, do you think this has been an embarrassment for Australian sport?

Richard Colbeck: I think it quite clearly is something that we don't want to see. We want to see clean sport. That's a very, very clear perspective of the Australian Government. I think the Australian community wants to see clean sport. So we are all concerned that we have this particular event at this point in time. It is embarrassing, and obviously we've got a process to go through now to see how it all plays out but. It doesn't really matter whether it's at a global level or whether it's a local or interstate level. We want sport to be clean. We want athletes to be able to compete against each other on a real basis without any involvement of enhancements.

Question: Do you support Mack Horton's stepping down from the podium?

Richard Colbeck: Well as I said last week that was a matter for Mack and if he wants to make any more statements about that that's a matter for him. But it's not something that we want to get involved in. We clearly want to see sport clean. So any statements that support clean sport we support in that sense.

Question: Just on women in T20: do you support Cricket Australia's push to ensure that women get the same amount of prize money next year?

Richard Colbeck: Well I think that it'd have to be an aspiration in all sports, and you see a lot of work being done in a number of sports around that sort of equality. I think when you look at the performance of the Australian women's cricket team that we've seen over recent times – particularly in the current Ashes competition – you look at the quality of the sport. I think that the work that's being done in that sense speaks for itself.

Question: Why do you think Shayna Jack came up with the idea that she had some kind of personal problem rather than come out with the truth at the beginning?

Richard Colbeck: Look I can't speak for where Shayna's mind was at that point in time. We weren't aware of it until Saturday, that Shayna had tested positive until Saturday. So, it's very difficult to comment on any of that, and I suspect all of that will come out as part of the investigation.

Question: Should Swimming Australia have been more transparent with what they knew about the positive drug testing, given that they knew about Shayna Jack's results two days before Mack Horton's podium protest and knew about it for several days until she announced that she had tested positive?

Richard Colbeck: I think the thing that you need to look back to is what the rules are around revealing information of this, and they're pretty clearly defined. So, Swimming Australia wasn't in a position to actually say anything as I understand it basically because of the rules of governing information around these sorts of events. So it's very difficult to make any other comment given that they are the rules of the process that exist in this circumstance.

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