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Thursday, 13 September 1984
Page: 996

(Question No. 974)

Senator Martin asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, upon notice, on 14 June 1984:

(1) Which countries have been invited to contribute their ships and crew to the 'tall ships' visit to Australia for the Bicentenary.

(2) Which countries have accepted the invitation.

(3) How much of the cost of the visit will be met by the Commonwealth Government or any Commonwealth-funded organisations.

Senator Ryan —The Minister for Home Affairs and Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) and (2) Official invitations were issued by the Australian Government late in 1983 to countries to contribute their ships and crews to the tall ships event for the Bicentenary. The following countries, which own sail training vessels, were invited to participate in the event:

Asia Indonesia, Japan.

North America Canada, United States.

Europe Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, USSR, Yugoslavia.

Latin America Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Middle East Oman.

An invitation has also been issued to the British Government to be represented in the Parade of Tall Ships. The British Government does not, itself, own or operate a sail training vessel. An invitation has been issued as well to the owners of a privately owned New Zealand vessel to participate in the event. It is intended to issue invitations in due course to other non-government foundations and organisations which own suitable ships.

The Australian Bicentennial Authority commenced the necessary formal presentations explaining the nature of the event in April 1984.

There are several major difficulties that need to be resolved by most of the countries to whom invitations have been extended: adjustments need to be made to academic year training schedules to accommodate the long voyage to Australia; European vessels have a heavy program scheduled for 1988; the voyage will be expensive for nations and crew changes will be required; and there will be considerable competition from other events planned around the same time.

Despite these potential difficulties and the short period since the invitations were issued, two countries, Spain and the Federal Republic of Germany, have already formally accepted. Strong expressions of interest have already been received from a number of countries including Latin American countries recently contacted by the Australian Bicentennial Authority. Encouraging discussions held with authorities that own vessels from Europe and elsewhere taking part in the Tall Ships event held at Quebec in June indicated enthusiasm for the Australian event. The two sail training associations which co-ordinate international Tall Ships activities have taken the unique step of already according planning priority to the Australian event in 1988. However, a firm commitment by most nations invited to participate cannot be expected for some time. In most cases the final outcome of deliberations will not be known until 1986.

(3) The Australian Bicentennial Authority has allocated $4m to the staging of the visit of Tall Ships to Australia. The major proportion of the costs incurred by vessels visiting Australia will be met by the countries that own the vessels.