Last night at the launch of the Australian Event Awards, Sydney 2000 Olympic Chief, Sandy Hollway called on Government and Industry to instigate a deliberate, strategic expansion of the Australian events industry.
Hollway, who is also Co-chair of the Event Awards Judging Panel, called the events industry a National Asset, saying:
“Australians feel the ground shifting beneath their feet. They are correct. We have an economy which is seeing a relative decline in manufacturing, a skew towards mining which will not last forever, uncertainties in agriculture and in the future of many rural and regional communities, job insecurity and reduced productivity.
“So it is nothing short of a vital national imperative to shift towards clever, sustainable, international service industries. And the smartest, quickest, most cost-effective way to do that is to build on existing strengths. The events industry is one of those strengths.”
Mr Hollway also called on the FFA and Federal Government not to give up after their failed Football World Cup bid.
“Let’s learn the lessons rather than bear grudges,” he said.
“Let’s use the opportunity of hosting the Asian Cup finals in 2015 to give the Australian public — whether football supporters or not — a taste of what a tremendous community event the World Cup would be, on a par with the Olympics and just as capable of bringing benefit to Australia. Let’s put ourselves in a position to run a bid next time which is highly organized, technically excellent, smart and creative certainly, but grassroots in its inspiration.
“In the end, wide, deep and passionate public support — combined with a bid dedicated to honouring and promoting the sport itself and its history and growth in Australia — may be more crucial to success than a big bidding budget.”
He also used the occasion to call on Government to make a commitment to a major Indigenous Arts Festival, something which he says is a missed opportunity.
“What country has more need of this, as Australia continues to grapple with the deep challenges of bringing indigenous people fully into Australian society? And what country is better placed to do it, given our two big competitive advantages – we are home to possibly the world’s longest enduring culture, and we are second to none in organising major events?”
Sandy Hollway has also proposed “That one of Australia’s capital cities should stage an Indigenous Arts Festival of world standing every two or four years, to honor and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, and indigenous cultures from around the world, as a major new visitor attraction”.