Sydney World Masters Games 2009 and Jobs

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SpeakersSpeaker; Paluzzano Mrs Karyn; McKay Ms Jodi
BusinessQuestions Without Notice, QWN

Page: 13614

Mrs KARYN PALUZZANO: My question is directed to the Minister for Tourism. What is the latest information on the World Masters Games and the impact it will have on jobs in New South Wales?

Ms JODI MCKAY: I thank the member for Penrith for her question. She certainly knows the effect that the World Masters Games will have on western Sydney, in particular. Today marks 200 days until Sydney plays host to the 2009 World Masters Games from 10 to 18 October. It is the largest multi-sport event in the world and it gives us the chance to showcase our city and again demonstrate our superior experience in staging major events.

The SPEAKER: Order! I call the member for Murray-Darling to order for the second time.

Ms JODI MCKAY: It is good to see the member for Terrigal in the Chamber. We will see mature-age sports men and women from all over the world converge on Sydney for nine memorable days of serious sport and serious fun.

The SPEAKER: Order! Members will cease interjecting, including the member for Murrumbidgee and the member for Willoughby.

Ms JODI MCKAY: Most importantly for our State, this is about serious spending. Initial estimates for the World Masters Games indicate the event will bring around $50 million to the State's economy—and much of this spending will occur in western Sydney, with the event's home at Sydney Olympic Park and hubs at Blacktown, Bankstown, Penrith and the central business district. As a government we have committed $8.5 million to this event as well as in-kind services, so this is quite a return on our investment. We expect around 25,000 people to compete in the World Masters Games. One-third of these will be international visitors, one-third will come from interstate and one-third will come from New South Wales. The international competitors will come from more than 100 countries, but the largest groups we are expecting will come from Canada, the United States of America, New Zealand and Europe, and they will bring their friends and families with them.

The SPEAKER: Order! The House will come to order. The member for Murrumbidgee and the member for Willoughby should conduct their conversation outside the Chamber. The Minister for Tourism has the call.

Ms JODI MCKAY: The history of previous World Masters Games reveals that one in two competitors will also bring friends and family. Research also indicates that Games competitors will holiday in the host country either before or after the Games, which means they will spend valuable dollars on travel and other tourism-related activities, supporting jobs in New South Wales and providing a great boost for the economy. We expect that the current global economic situation will impact on people's decision to travel to the Games; however, there will be no better time to visit Sydney. With 200 days to go until the Games in Sydney, 6,700 people have officially registered, and that tally is growing daily. In addition, an impressive 15,000 room nights have been booked through the Sydney 2009 World Masters Games Travel Office in accommodation across Sydney. More than two-thirds of those room nights are outside the Sydney central business district. Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park and Blacktown are the most popular areas outside the central business district, but rooms have also been booked in Penrith, Bankstown, North Ryde and Liverpool.

The 2009 World Masters Games will reaffirm the ability of large-scale events to stimulate the economy. An independent economic impact study estimated that the last World Masters Games held in 2005 in Edmonton, Canada, injected $52 million into that country's economy and created more than 1,400 direct jobs. As members will be aware, the Sydney 2009 World Masters Games Organising Committee was established in 2004 and has been working hard to plan and deliver this event. It may be of interest to the House to know that the Opposition supported the establishment of the organising committee at the time, but I highly doubt that this support was in recognition of the fact that the Games would deliver jobs and investment for New South Wales.

The SPEAKER: Order! The House will come to order. The Minister for Tourism has the call.

Ms JODI MCKAY: It had more to do with the fact that those opposite thought they were a walk-up start for government. That was particularly evident when the Opposition said:
      In 2009 the Coalition will oversee the Games as the Government of the day.

Mr George Souris: There is no way I would have said that.

Ms JODI MCKAY: That was not sourced to you.

The SPEAKER: Order! The House will come to order.

Ms JODI MCKAY: I am pleased that the member for Upper Hunter and others in the Opposition support the World Masters Games. I encourage them to take their support to a different level. The member for Murrumbidgee might be interested to know that a person does not have to be a professional athlete to compete in these Games.

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Murrumbidgee will cease interjecting. The Minister for Tourism has the call.

Ms JODI MCKAY: He is very keen; he wants to know what he can compete in. Anyone is welcome to have a go and compete in one or more of 28 sports on offer. For instance, I am sure that the shadow Treasurer would be a chance in the individual pursuit.

The SPEAKER: Order! I urge the Minister to complete her answer.

Ms JODI MCKAY: Members of the Liberal Party and The Nationals may even consider entering the orienteering competition, because it might point them in the right direction with their policies.

Mr Brad Hazzard: Point of order: There is no standing order against corny rubbish, but there is one about tedious repetition. Mr Speaker, I ask you to bring the Minister back to the question or to sit her down.

The SPEAKER: Order! I remind the Minister of my earlier ruling about the length of answers. I ask her to conclude her answer. The member for Clarence will come to order.

Ms JODI MCKAY: I have not checked for the member for Clarence whether boxing is included. Unfortunately for the Opposition, fence-sitting is not a sport at these Games. If it were, it would be the only chance members opposite would have of winning an event.