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Thursday, 14 February 2019
Page: 10249

Senator RUSTON (South AustraliaAssistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific) (12:53): The purpose of this bill is to protect sponsorship and licensing revenue from the International Cricket Council T20 World Cup Twenty20 from being undermined by ambush marketing, which is the unauthorised commercial use of event indicia and images. This will be achieved by including the T20 World Cup as a recognised major sporting event under the Major Sporting Events (Indicia and Images) Protection Act 2014.

The bill also takes the opportunity to remove schedules relating to the historical sporting events that are no longer provided protection under the act, being the Asian Football Confederation, Asian Football Cup 2015 and the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. The bill is consistent with the approach the Australian government took when it legislated to protect the indicia and images of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup 2015, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. It also meets a commitment by the Australian government to provide such intellectual property rights protection of hosting the T20 World Cup.

Hosting the T20 World Cup in Australia provides a unique opportunity to showcase our country to the world from a tourism, trade and event perspective. Event owners and organisers like those for the T20 World Cup rely heavily on revenue generated by television rights, ticket sales, sponsorship and licensing to ensure their event can be delivered and continues to be an attractive and viable financial proposition to future host countries. It is this profile and these commercial realities that necessitate the sorts of protections that are proposed for the T20 World Cup in this bill.

The bill will protect the use of a range of expressions and images associated with the T20 World Cup, with the aim being to prevent an unauthorised user from applying those indicia and images to suggest a formal association with the T20 World Cup. This act, known as 'ambush marketing by association', has the capacity to diminish the value of sponsorship, reduce the incentive for organisations to enter into commercial arrangements with events, and reduce the overall event revenue. In turn, this has the ability to increase financial impacts on government to support such events. While it is important to protect the T20 World Cup sponsors from ambush marketing, the rights of the community to freedom of expression must also be respected, particularly in relation to words that have passed into common usage. A pragmatic approach has been taken, with generic words and references excluded from the list of protected expressions.

In line with the Australian government deregulation agenda, the bill is not intended to increase the burden on business or affect their everyday operations. The bill fully protects the rights of existing holders to use T20 World Cup indicia and images to carry out their business functions. The T20 World Cup schedule proposed in the bill will cease to have effect after 30 November 2021, approximately one year after completion of the T20 World Cup. This is consistent with other major sporting events protected by the act. I thank the members for their contribution to the debate and I commend the bill.