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Government support for {Paralympics

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Media Release Jackie Kelly Minister for Sport and TourismWednesday, 28 July 1999 Government Support for Paralympics

The Federal Minister for Sport and Tourism and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Sydney 2000 Games, Jackie Kelly, said she was delighted to join the Prime Minister in providing additional support for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.

The Federal Government has announced it will subsidise the attendance of school children from around Australia at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, at a cost of around $1.5 million.

The Prime Minister also announced that the Federal Government will contribute over $500,000 to make the Paralympic Torch Relay a national event, incorporating all State and Territory capital cities.

“Today’s announcements by the Prime Minister are a further demonstration that this Government is working hard with the Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee (SPOC), headed by its Chief Executive Officer, Ms Lois Appleby, to ensure that the Paralympic Games are every bit as successful as the Olympic Games”.

“Lois Appleby and her colleagues are working hard to encourage all Australians to attend the Paralympics and we want to help”, Jackie Kelly said.

“As many Australian children as possible should witness the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games - our athletes are among the best in the world. Our children should be encouraged to experience first hand the triumph of our athletes who overcome their disabilities to excel”.

Australia came second in the gold medal tally at Atlanta and Australia’s team in Sydney will be the largest and strongest ever.

Many schools are already participating in SPOC’s Link Elite Athlete Program (LEAP). The subsidy announced by the Prime Minister today will be tied to the participation of schools in LEAP. The level will vary depending on the distance by road from the student’s school to Sydney Olympic Park.

The Minister said she expects more schools to participate in LEAP, as a result of today’s announcement, and give their students a chance to share in Australia’s sporting achievements.

Under the Federal Government’s initiative, children more than 200 kilometres from Olympic Park will receive $10 each, those more than 400 kilometres away will receive $20 each, those more than a 1000 kilometres away will receive $40 each, those more than 2,000 kilometres away or in Tasmania will receive $100 each and those more than 3,000 kilometres away will be entitled to a subsidy of $200 each. It is expected that more than 40,000 children will benefit from this assistance.

Parliam ent H ouse, C a n b e rra A CT 2600 Tel: (02) 6277 7080 Fax: (02) 6273 4571

“The Howard Government’s subsidy, when combined with SPOC’s innovative ticketing policy of allowing ticket holders to view a number of sports each day at Sydney Olympic Park, will leave some 170,000 Australian school children with lifelong memories of having witness outstanding sporting achievement."

SPOC has welcomed the Government’s initiative. Lois Appleby has said that “Thanks to the Federal Government’s support, school children from across Australia will be able to experience the Paralympic Games, and the 2000 Paralympic Torch Relay will be a national relay for the very first time in Paralympic history”.

Ms Appleby added, “The world’s Paralympians are great role models, especially for school children because of their energy, optimism and athletic achievement. We are thrilled that the Howard Government has provided this additional financial support to ensure the Sydney 2000

Paralympic Games will now be within reach of all Australians”.

Jackie Kelly said that the Prime Minister’s announcement to broaden the Paralympic Torch Relay to make it a national event will see the excitement of the Paralympics shared by every capital city in Australia before the Paralympic Games even begin.

“All Australians - including Paralympic champion Louise Sauvage’s parents who live in Perth - will now be able to join in the excitement of the Paralympic Torch Relay”.

Plans are currently being formulated for the Torch Relay to commence with a lighting ceremony in Canberra on 5 October and to visit all other state and territory capital cities. On 11 October the Torch Relay will commence a tour of regional centres in New South Wales and the greater Sydney region before finishing at the Paralympic Opening Ceremony on 18 October 2000 .

The Sydney Paralympic Games will be one of the world’s largest sporting events in the year 2000. With 4,000 athletes from 125 countries expecting to compete, it will be larger than any previous Paralympics. The Federal Government is committed to funding half the expected

deficit (up to $25 million), meeting SPOC’s GST liability of ticket sales at a cost of around $1.6 million and devoting almost $5.5 million to the preparation of Australia’s team for the 2000 Games.

As a further indication of the Government’s commitment to the Paralympic Games the Prime Minister proudly agreed to open the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.

Media Inquiries: Peter Cassuben 02 9247 5378 or 0417 980 009 CMR 334