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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 206


Mr WHITE(10.33) —I welcome the opportunity to pursue this matter a little because I am not sure whether the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism (Mr John Brown) is genuine in what he is saying. In case the Minister does not understand, the proposals that the four or five companies were asked to put forward were general proposals as to what they could do, but those companies have never been given the chance to tender for the contract which the Government has let, or is about to let, to a company called Raffi, one of the principals of which is a man called Mr Rodgers.

I am not disputing the $18m and the other things that the Minister mentioned. The Minister knows as well as I do that there is considerable concern in other countries about the Federal Government's support for Expo 88. If he is not sure, I will read from the report of the Commissioner-General of the Bureau of International Expositions who says that `the presence of the Federal Government hardly makes itself felt'. That is what the Commissioner-General says. He goes on to say that Canberra's lack of commitment is equally noticeable on other fronts. He goes on to say that funds for the Federal Australian pavilion have been juiced. This is the report of the Commissioner-General on the Federal Government's involvement in Expo 88. Of course, the States, except for Tasmania, taking a lead from the Federal Government, have all been reluctant to come forward.

Let us get back to this audio-visual contract which is really the centrepiece of what I am saying. The Government is all set, despite what the Minister says, to give one company-AAV I think it is called-a $2m contract. It is about to let a $7m contract to a company called Raffi, a principal of which is Mr Bob Rogers. If that contract is not let and if it goes to an Australian company we will all be very pleased. I ask the Minister to look at the laughing stock he will make of this country if he puts an American company into the Australian Expo, the centrepiece of our bicentennial year, and bypasses Australian companies which are well and truly able to do the job. That is the guts of it. I ask the Minister in all sincerity, for the sake of Expo 88 to get behind it in a more meaningful way, to get the pavilion under way and to ensure that the audio-visual contract is let to an Australian company.