Major Sporting Events (Indicia and Images) Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021

25 Oct | '2021


I rise to speak on the Major Sporting Events (Indicia and Images) Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021. Major events have historically been inextricably linked with tourism on the Gold Coast, which, according to Destination Gold Coast, was around a $6 billion industry before the pandemic. Events like Magic Millions, Polo by the Sea, the Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercars, the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, the Surf Life Saving Championships triathlon, the bowls—the list goes on.

The City Heart Taskforce that I convened last May as my local response to COVID-19 has three executive members who represent the events sector on the Gold Coast. The first is Adrienne Readings, the general manager of the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, who has a long history of delivering stellar business events for our city, including the Gold Coast Reimagine Jobs, Skills and Industry Forum in September 2020—the Gold Coast’s first COVID-safe event after the pandemic hit. During the pandemic, the federal government delivered $50 million to support business events to subsidise organisations for their trade show costs by up to 50 per cent. Of course, this assistance has been incredibly difficult to realise with the ongoing Queensland border openings and closures, and the border is now not due to open until 17 December. I encourage CEOs across Australia to book their business event at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre for next year. Get in early and secure your spot to come up to the Gold Coast for a fabulous event at that event centre.

The second City Heart Taskforce member is Jan McCormick, the CEO of Major Events Gold Coast. As Australians know, the Gold Coast—and particularly Moncrieff, my electorate—has a proud history of events. Southport, specifically the Broadwater Parklands, is where the Gold Coast Show is held, and they received $44,440 from the federal government to assist with the event earlier this year. Most recently, just a few weeks ago, the Diwali festival was held at the parklands, where 2,000 people of Indian origin, through GOPIO, met to celebrate the hope of a new year. It was my absolute delight to address and support those who attended, along with the member for Fadden. Broadbeach hosts the annual Blues on Broadbeach, and it received $200,000 of assistance from the federal government last time it was held to ensure it was a COVID-safe event. I attended that event, which was fantastic for local business. The Broadbeach precinct came alive for locals to enjoy music and the entertainment. Surfers Paradise had a new event, Springtime, scheduled for earlier this year, and the federal government delivered $1.5 million to support that event through the Recovery for Regional Tourism fund, but it was most disappointingly cancelled due to COVID restrictions being put in place again by the Queensland state government.

The third member of the City Heart Taskforce from the events sector is John Howe, the chairman of iEDM, who has been in events delivery for 40 years. Since 2008 his business has delivered iconic events such as the V8 Supercar events across Australia, the international boat show, the Pan Pac swimming championships, the Rugby League World Cup, the Adelaide International in WTA tennis and the Formula One Grand Prix, just to name a few. You can imagine the difficulty that this business and many others have endured during COVID, trying to find ways to work with restrictions, suppliers and many other challenges they’ve faced over the last 19 or so months.

I thank these three City Heart Taskforce executive members for their input and their capacity to work with me, as chair, to fully inform the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and other ministers about the difficulties in the sector during this period associated with Queensland state border closures and, to a lesser extent, the international border closures as well.

The Gold Coast has a long and proud history of major events, including, of course, the very successful 2018 Commonwealth Games that our city hosted. We have had the announcement of the South-East Queensland 2032 Olympics, which, indeed, is a long way off but represents a historic opportunity for the Gold Coast development across sport infrastructure and many other areas a decade before the Games and a decade after the Games. The Gold Coast is earmarked to host nine events across seven venues, five of which are in my electorate. We’re thrilled that that event, or part of it, is going to be on the Gold Coast.

The question is: how will this bill affect major events being held on the Gold Coast, at Metricon Stadium or at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre or, indeed, at Royal Pines Resort? It specifically protects sponsorship and licence revenue from the events being undermine by unauthorised commercial use of event indicia and images under the Major Sporting Events (Indicia and Images) Protection Act 2014, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, hosted by Australia and New Zealand, and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022, both recognised as major events.

As the minister outlined in the other place, the FIFA Women’s World Cup will see 32 teams compete across Australia and New Zealand. It will be the first FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in the Asia-Pacific region and the first ever to be held in the Southern Hemisphere. The FIFA Women’s World Cup teams will include many of the world’s most talented female footballers and showcase international football to diverse audiences in Australia and around the world. The FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament is scheduled for July to August 2023, with five Australian cities to host the match content. He also stated the T20 world cup will see 16 of the world’s best men’s teams come to Australia to play T20 cricket, with potential broadcast and digital audiences reaching in excess of 1.5 billion people from more than 200 countries worldwide, showcasing our country. These T20 world cup teams will represent the pinnacle of international sporting competition and include some of the world’s most talented male cricketers. The T20 world cup tournament is scheduled for October to November 2022. The coalition government has committed to providing intellectual property right protections for the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup consistent with that provided for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, the AFC Asian Cup 2015 and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

As recognised under the Major Sporting Events (Indicia and Images) Protection Act 2014, the FIFA Women’s World Cup and T20 world cup present a great opportunity to showcase Australia from a tourism, trade and event delivery perspective. The protections proposed for the two events in this bill are essential to building a lasting legacy and attracting commercial partners that will invest in major sporting events held in Australia and into the future. Major events have long been targets of those who would seek to create an impression of association with the event in order to achieve commercial gain without having purchased the rights. This is not acceptable, and so our government is acting to protect this sector. This type of activity is known as ambush marketing by association. It has the capacity to diminish the value of sponsorship, to reduce the incentive for organisations to enter into commercial arrangements with events and to reduce the overall event revenue, possibly increasing financial impact on the government to support such events.

While it’s important to protect major sporting event sponsors from ambush marketing, the rights of the community to freedom of expression must also be respected, particularly in relation to words and expressions that have passed into common usage. A pragmatic approach has been taken, with generic words and references excluded from the list of protected expressions. A number of exceptions will also exist in relation to the events, allowing for the continued operation of rights and liabilities under the Trade Marks Act 1995, the Designs Act 2003 and the Copyright Act 1968—a good vintage, ’68; the provision of information, criticisms and review of the events such as in newspapers, magazines and broadcasts; and the use of protected indicia and images for the reasonable needs of sporting bodies in relation to fundraising and promotion, and communities and businesses to engage in city dressing and festival promotions supporting the events in non-commercial ways.

The new event protections will cease to have effect approximately one year after the completion of the events, which is 31 December 2024 for the FIFA Women’s World Cup and 13 November 2023 for the T20 world cup. The bill also removes the schedule protecting the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, which is no longer required and makes a minor and technical amendment to the Sport Integrity Australia Act 2020 to correct the erroneous reference to an article of the World Anti-Doping Code.

In closing, we on this side have taken the steps necessary to protect the major event owners and organisers who rely heavily on revenue generated by television rights, ticket sales, sponsorship and licensing, to ensure that their event can be delivered and that it continues to be an attractive and viable financial proposition to future host countries and, indeed, businesses, like IEDM on the Gold Coast and others around our country. It is our government who is acting to take steps necessary through this bill to legislate against those who would seek to be associated with major events by spuriously claiming association without purchasing the rights to do so. It is our government who is putting a stop to unfair ambush marketing for our very, very important events industry, particularly on the Gold Coast.

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