OUTCOME 3: Public understanding in Australia and overseas of Australias foreign and trade policy and a positive image of Australia internationally
The department contributed strongly to the Governments support for the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, particularly in relation to high-level visitors, security issues and the international media.
We managed the Governments involvement in the federally funded Oceania leg of the Olympic torch relay, which visited 12 countries and territories in the Pacific. This initiative generated widespread goodwill and positive publicity for Australia in the Pacific. Appreciation was evident from comments from Pacific leaders who acknowledged Australias generosity in sharing the Olympic spirit with the region.
In close coordination with the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG), we developed detailed plans for the entry, handling and security of visiting dignitaries, access to ministers, the provision of Commonwealth hospitality, the handling of any asylum cases and foreign policy issues. We made arrangements for the diplomatic and consular corps to perform their functions appropriately during the Games.
Olympic media services
The department was the lead partner in establishing a state-of-the-art media service centre in Sydney for the Olympic period. The Sydney Media Centre, a joint initiative between the Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments, with additional private sector sponsorship, promoted Australia through presentations and exhibitions on Indigenous issues, technological innovation, investment and financial services, multiculturalism and the environment. The Centre serviced several thousand journalists, accredited and unaccredited, in the lead-up to and during the Games.
We developed a dedicated Internet site to assist visiting media. The site provides current news, features and background information on major Australian economic, scientific and social themes, and an email service enables media to seek responses to specific questions. Between May and the end of June 2000, the website recorded more than 10 500 individual visitors to the website, almost 70 per cent of whom were based outside Australia.
Australia South Pacific 2000 program
The sports component of the Australia South Pacific 2000 program has provided a sporting infrastructure in 17 states and territories over the past six years. The program helped 29 athletes from Pacific island countries qualify to compete in the Sydney Olympics. Australia benefits directly from the program as 69 per cent of the funds were spent on Australia-based expertise or sport and ancillary services.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledged the program as a model for other regions. It attracted additional investment from ministers and sport leaders from many Pacific island nations as well as from the IOC. In recognition of the programs success, the Prime Minister announced an extension of its sports component through to 2006.
The AustraliaAsia Sports Linkages Program is a departmental initiative in South and South-East Asia taking advantage of Australias experience in many areas of sport. The program operates in 11 countries and has made a significant contribution to sports development at the community and elite levels in both able-bodied and disabled disciplines. Sport and government leaders in the region have acknowledged the benefit of the program, particularly in its contribution to the preparation of athletes for qualification in the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
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