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Monday, 26 March 2001
Page: 25693

Dr Theophanous asked the Minister for Trade, upon notice, on 8 February 2001:

(1) Have there been any positive developments in relation to a fair resolution of the matter regarding the virtual ban on Australian businesses from tendering for project surrounding the 2004 Athens Olympic Games?

(2) Has he had any response to the letters he wrote to the European Union and to the Government of Greece in relation to this matter?

(3) Is the Government planning any further initiatives with regard to solving this problem of discrimination against Australian business by the Athens Olympic authorities?

Mr Vaile (Minister for Trade) —The answer to the honourable member's question in relation to Austrade is as follows:

(1) Greek companies are showing a great deal of interest in obtaining Australian expertise or working with Australian companies to boost their bids for work related to the Athens 2004 Olympics.

More recent tenders have allowed non-GPA companies to be included in consortia as 'special consultants' up to a value of between 5 and 20 percent of the total value of the tender.

On 8 February, 2001 tenders were issued by the Ministry of Sport actually requiring tenderers to have specific 'Olympic knowledge' by including 'special consultants' in their consortia.

One Australian company has already won work as a special consultant.

The GPA only applies to public works tenders for design and construction, it does not apply to the sourcing of goods.

(2) A reply has been received from Mr Pascal Lamy, Commissioner for Trade, European Union confirming that the decision on whether or not to accept the participation of Australian companies is 'ultimately up to the Greek authorities'.

Answers are awaited to the letters written to the Government of Greece.

(3) Strong representations at government and diplomatic level will continue.

Recruitment is currently underway for a Senior Trade Commissioner who will be appointed to Athens for the express purpose of assisting Australian companies to win business related to the 2004 Olympics.

Austrade is keeping Australian companies informed on a regular basis.