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Thursday, 17 September 2015
Page: 7197

Senator BUSHBY (TasmaniaChief Government Whip in the Senate) (16:48): I rise also to address Senator Muir's motion on the economic, social and other benefits of motorsport in Australia.

Ever since I was a child I have been drawn to motorsport. I recall well the many Sunday mornings in early October each year watching 'the great race' as a child—with my most enduring memories being the epic battles between the big Ford Falcon coupes and the Holden L34 and A9X Toranas. And of course, the epic contests between Peter Brock and Allan Moffat and, later, Dick Johnson.

Senator Conroy interjecting

Senator BUSHBY: I am not sure what Senator Conroy will think of this, but I admit that in those days I was firmly in the 'Holden' and 'Brockie' camp. Maybe this was demonstrated when, as a 20-year-old, I purchased a 1977 5.0 litre LX Torana SS hatchback, heavily modified for Group 3 racing but de-tuned for road use. I wish I still had it; it would now be a very valuable collector piece.

Over the course of my adult life I have since participated in a number of entry-level motorsport events—mainly hill climbs, track days and the like. I have even managed to compete occasionally since I joined the Senate—most recently in the inaugural Targa Hellyer Gorge event in north-west Tasmania earlier this year. My interest is shared by many Australians—large numbers of whom participate and even more who spectate.

Senator Conroy: You are either a Ford man or a Holden man. I have never driven a Holden in my life!

Senator BUSHBY: I have a Ford in the garage down there now. Our combined passion—those many Australians who enjoy and appreciate motorsport—has created enormous benefits for this great country of ours. Indeed, it is a fact that motorsport is the fourth-most-watched sport in Australia in terms of spectator attendance, behind only Australian rules football, horseracing and Rugby League.

Last year I rose in this place to pay tribute a true international giant of motorsport and a truly great Australian, Sir John Arthur 'Jack' Brabham AO, OBE. Sir Jack was a pioneer of Formula One racing in Australia. He was a relatively late starter to Formula One racing, entering his first race at the age of 30 and winning his first drivers' world championship at the age of 34. He successfully defended his championship the very next year, and reclaimed the title five years later in 1966 at the age of 40. His success was credited to his personal qualities, including hard work, perseverance, flair and courage—traits that all Australians aspire to. I am certain that Sir Jack played a big role in cementing the popularity of motorsports in Australia.

Beyond the myriad 'larger than life' personalities and innumerable motorsport champions that the sport and its fans inevitably create, motorsport has provided some wonderful benefits to the Australian economy. Motorsport relates to any form of land-based motorised competition, regardless of whether it has four wheels, two wheels or any other combination. The various disciplines—listed in order from highest to lowest number of participants—include, speed, circuit, karting, rally, speedway, social, autotest, drag and off-road.

According to an Ernst & Young report, which I think Senator Muir also referred to—the Economic contribution of the Australian motor sport industry—commissioned by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, or CAMS, some of the economic contributions to Australia are remarkable. The Australian motorsport industry directly generates $2.7 billion of direct industry output and $1.2 billion of directly value-added contribution. This investment directly supports over 16,300 jobs in Australia. If you add indirect jobs, this figure increases to over 31,300 people working in the motorsport industry in Australia. In Tasmania, my home state, motorsports directly contribute an output of $98 million dollars with a value-add output of $42 million, and employs some 585 Tasmanians in full-time equivalent jobs.

There are spin-offs from having a strong motorsport industry, including innovation, some of which give Australia a cutting-edge advantage in the development of technologies. This technology can have practical application well beyond the motor industry. Another advantage of motorsports is to enable a very strong automotive aftermarket industry—which Senator Muir also touched on—providing numerous jobs and export opportunities which would otherwise not exist. The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association, or the AAAA, supports manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, importers, mechanical repair and modification services, and retailers of automotive parts, accessories, tools and equipment, as well as companies and consultants who service the automotive aftermarket industry.

Total value of Australian parts manufacturing is estimated to be worth $5.4 billion each and every year. It is difficult to value the aftermarket proportion of production, but, given the decline in local new car manufacturing, it could be assumed that a large part of this contribution is within the aftermarket. The largest areas of production include exhaust systems and other parts and accessories, accounting for 39.4 per cent of the automotive aftermarket industry, with motor reconditioning accounting for 14.9 per cent, seats and interior components 9.8 per cent and brakes and parts 6.5 per cent. The AAAA believes the total size of the industry will grow to $34 billion and has great optimism about the future. Recently, 76 per cent of AAAA member companies shared an expectation that their businesses will continue to grow. This sort of optimism breeds confidence in the economy and helps provide the certainty needed for new job creation in Australia.

Looking more closely at motorsports participants' direct contribution to the economy, the average annual spend per participant on motorsport related activities is $12,000 to $15,000 and the average spend on motorsport vehicle purchases and modifications is $60,000. Whilst these numbers appear high, as I will later illustrate entry cost does not prove to be an insurmountable barrier for those wishing to enter the sport. In other words, the average costs are skewed due to the investments at the high end of the sport.

Motorsport events generated 30 per cent of the motorsport industry's output, namely $800 million in direct industry output, $400 million in value added and 5,050-odd jobs. In analysing a single event, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix held in Melbourne each year, the scale of the sport becomes obvious. Based on an Ernst and Young report in 2011, this event singularly increased the Victorian gross state product by around $39.34 million and created an additional 411 full-time equivalent jobs. I suspect the contribution of this event to the economy has only grown since 2011. The Grand Prix also provides significant branding and positioning for Melbourne and Victoria, both nationally and internationally. Past Melbourne F1 Grands Prix have each provided a media or advertising equivalent value in excess of $35 million to the state. The event also attracts over 230,000 international visitors each year and generates significant benefits, including tourism attraction, investment attraction and community involvement.

There is a myth about motorsports, and that is that relatively few people can participate due to the high cost of competing. If that were the case, then I am sure that neither Senator Muir nor I would ever have had the chance to participate. The fact is that there are around 55,340 Australians who compete in motorsport in Australia every year and a further 17,420 people who officiate. There are 76,775 other people who are members of motorsport related clubs. There are 334 tracks and venues throughout Australia, 1,390 motorsports clubs and 6,250 events are conducted annually. Clubs and participants are involved in circuit racing, rally driving, off-road, speed, autotest, social, drag racing, go-karting and speedway. Direct participant expenditure accounts for around 49 per cent of the Australian motorsport industry's output. Importantly, around 30 per cent of participants, as noted by Senator Muir, are based in regional areas and around 85 per cent of tracks and venues are located in regional areas.

I am proud to say that in my home state of Tasmania more than 5,000 people compete in motorsports—the highest per capita participation rate in the country. Tasmania has 20 motorsport tracks or venues, 72 motoring clubs and an average of 273 events per year, proving that it punches very much over its weight. Tasmania hosts the whole gambit of motorsports, from stock cars to go-carts and everything in between, from Symons Plains in the north, which hosts an annual round of the V8 Supercar championship, to Baskerville in the south, soon to host the National Historic Race Meeting in October this year.

Along with the V8 Supercar round, the highest profile event on the Tasmanian motorsports calendar is undoubtedly Targa Tasmania. The 2016 Targa Tasmania will see a potentially record field as it celebrates the milestone 25th running of this iconic event. The genesis of Targa racing goes back to the Targa Florio, which was an open-road endurance automobile race held in the mountains of Sicily near Palermo from 1906. The Mille Miglia continued this legacy in continental Italy and was held 24 times from 1927 to 1957—13 before the war and 11 from 1947. The Targa Tasmania continues in the tradition of Gran Turismo, or Grand Touring, and is a tarmac rally that travels over 2,000 kilometres with over 40 competitive stages on closed roads for the true motoring enthusiast, catering for up to 300 selected cars approved by invitation.

Targa Tasmania also draws concepts directly from the best features of the Coupe des Alpes and the Tour de Corse to create the world's largest tarmac rally with a cross-section of marvellously restored classic vehicles, as well as the latest in grand touring and sports vehicles.    Notable past and current competitors have included Barry Sheene, Dick Johnson, Sir Jack Brabham, Jim Richards, Michael Doohan, Murray Walker, Peter Brock and Sir Stirling Moss. The event traverses every electorate in the state and Tasmanians look forward to the excitement the event brings each year, not to mention the economic benefits. Competing in Targa Tasmania is on the bucket list of many motoring enthusiasts across Australia and even the world The Tasmanian government sees Targa Tasmania as a pillar of its strategy of making Tasmania the boutique events capital of Australia. Events generate great economic and cultural benefit for the state, as well as being a key driver towards the government's target of attracting 1.5 million visitors each year to Tasmania by 2020. Capitalising on the popularity of Targa Tasmania, as mentioned, the inaugural Targa Hellyer Gorge was held in February this year. This modified event provides a number of hill climbs and time trials and is designed as a way for those looking to get into Tarmac rallying to get a taste of touring motor sports and test out their own skills and their vehicles.

Beyond the economics and participation, motorsport contributes in other ways to Australia's social profile. We can be proud of the fact that, according to Volunteering Australia, 36.2 per cent of people aged 18 years and over participate in formal volunteering each year.    Motorsport makes a rich contribution to volunteering. There are 17,419 licensed volunteer officials in Australia who are responsible for running the majority of motorsport events each year. This figure underestimates the true number of motorsport volunteers. If all of the unlicensed volunteers involved in motor sporting events, charity events, club events and in other ways could be added up, perhaps the true number of volunteers may be a factor of 10 on that number.

Motorsport also offers up opportunities for Australians of a variety of ages and genders to compete. Unlike so many other sports, the competitor age profile peaks in the band with an age profile of 55 to 64 years old and has a rapidly growing rate of female participation. Indeed, my eight-year-old daughter, Emily, will tell you, if you ask her, that she wants to be a racing car driver when she grows up. There is also overall rapid growth in motorsport participation, with over 45 per cent of participants being involved with the sport for less than five years. This fact alone should ensure that policymakers are vigilant in ensuring the ongoing health of the sport, especially when considering the average participant enters six events every year, pays for nine nights away and on average takes 1.8 people away with them, which further increases the penetration of the sport into the community.

According to a recent CAMS official survey, over 80 per cent of respondents indicated that to be with family and friends is a very important, or somewhat important, factor in choosing to participate in motorsport. As Senator Muir noted, these are much higher numbers than most sports and sporting codes in Australia. It demonstrates that motorsports are family friendly and often undertaken with other family members. Policymakers need to pay close attention to participants who have indicated that they are seeking improved venues and facilities, more events, new and different events, streamlined regulations, improved event awareness and improved training and coaching.

Motorsport also plays an important role in advocating for road safety and related themes. In May 2011, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile—otherwise known as the FIA, which is much easier to pronounce—launched its Action For Road Safety in support of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety. The FIA's initiative aims to lower the alarming figures associated with global road accidents and to spread the safer motoring message. CAMS Ignition is a road safety initiative supported by the FIA under the FIA Action for Road Safety program. This initiative focuses on educating Australia's pre-licensed youth. Driver education delivered through CAMS Ignition is designed to assist young people to develop awareness of their involvement in motor vehicles and road use. In 2013, over 4,000 Australian young people participated in the program. In addition to this road safety initiative, there are numerous other levels of involvement with road safety, including campaigns around defensive driving, speed control and drink-driving.

Corporate involvement in motorsport also contributes both economically and socially. An example of this is MTAA Super's sponsorship arrangements with V8 Supercars Australia, a part of which seeks to encourage young students into the retail motor trades and to support existing apprentices already studying through a number of initiatives.

Australians are very philanthropic. According to Philanthropy Australia, Australian households donate more than $2.4 billion to philanthropic causes, with business donations exceeding $850,000 on top of philanthropic organisations, which have distributed over $1.7 billion over the last decade to worthy causes. Motorsport well and truly pulls its weight when it comes to its share of philanthropic giving, as also noted by Senator Muir. It is not often that motorsport philanthropy is recognised and, on behalf of the numerous philanthropic causes which are supported by the sport, I would like to recognise a few in this place today.

Major motorsport events such as the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, the V8 Supercar Clipsal 500 Adelaide, NRMA Sydney 500 and many others have major charity partners. Over recent years, the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix has teamed up with the Good Friday Appeal, which raises money for the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne through its Race for the Kids initiative. The V8 Supercar Clipsal 500 Adelaide has partnered with Asthma Foundation SA, a member of Asthma Australia, providing the opportunity to fund vital asthma research and education programs and provide life-changing information and support for those living with asthma. The money raised is used by Asthma SA to directly support children with poorly controlled asthma through a paediatric asthma educator initiative. The V8 Supercar Sydney NRMA 500 joined with the Leukaemia Foundation to raise money and awareness against this acute illness, helping Australia's only non-profit organisation dedicated to the care and cure of those with blood cancer and related blood disorders. The organisation funds blood cancer research and provides services to support people with leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma at no cost. These major event related charity partnerships often underpin the major fundraising drives of charities involved and exist at all levels and varieties of motor sport.

In addition to major event based charity partnering, as also noted by Senator Muir, there are other motorsport events which are dedicated to philanthropic ends. Again, all of these kinds of events are worthy of mention; however, I will share a couple of these with the Senate on behalf of all of the others to pay them their due tribute. Such has been its success, I would think almost every Australian would have heard of the Variety Bash—an event held across every state and territory of Australia. The Bash has been staged by Variety since 1985 and the spirit of the original idea has been retained. Every entrant has to raise money for Variety and all vehicles must be 30 years old or older at the time of entry and be non-performance modified The bash is not a race, rally or speed trial; rather, the single most significant rule of the bash is to relax and enjoy the Australian outback and help raise funds for kids in need.

The Black Dog Ride involves groups of motorcycle enthusiasts who ride together to raise awareness and money for suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Lifeline Australia is one of the biggest, and worthiest I might add, recipients of money raised by the Black Dog Ride. I would like to commend to the parliament the work that Steve Andrews has done in founding and managing the Black Dog Ride. Another great event is the Hogs for the Homeless charity ride. The Hogs for the Homeless event is a charity motorcycle ride, founded by rugby league legend Fittler, aiming to raise funds to support Father Chris Riley's Youth Off the Streets.

The great philanthropic work through charitable partnerships with key motorsport events and philanthropic specific events is matched by the generous individuals within the motorsport industry. To name two great motor sporting philanthropists, it is hard to go past Mark Webber and Garry Rogers. As many of you would know, Mark Webber is best known as a former Australian Formula One driver, with nine victories and 42 podium finishes achieved at arguably the pinnacle of world motorsport. In humility, Mark Webber said:

I've visited a few hospitals in Australia and it's in those places that I've seen people who were much less fortunate than me. People for whom every day is a struggle. As I started to do well out of my own profession, it made me want to give something back and to help people back home. I don't like to shout about it, but that's my philosophy and that's what I'll continue to do.

Mark Webber's philanthropy extends to the Mark Webber Foundation, the Aylesbury College Trust and Wings for Life.

I am guessing not as many people have heard of Garry Rogers. Rogers, owner of Garry Rogers Motorsport, is partnering with the Volvo factory racing team Polestar to bring the Swedish manufacturer to the V8 motor racing circuit. In doing so, he is pioneering a new kind of sponsorship deal, one which seeks to also have an altruistic element. This altruistic approach may well become the template for all major sponsorship deals across all sports in the future.

Already we have seen V8 Volvos roaring around racing circuits in Australia supporting charities like beyondblue, which is a national initiative designed to raise awareness of anxiety and depression, and the Cure for Life Foundation, which seeks to accelerate treatments for brain cancer. Indeed, philanthropy and the social benefits which it can and does provide have become synonymous with motorsport.

I finish by endorsing Senator Muir's words in recognising the enormous benefits that motorsport brings to Australia on a whole range of levels, not just measured in the enjoyment experienced by participants and fans, but also measured by the economic, social and philanthropic advantages that it provides to the Australian community.