Date: June 29, 2009

Minister for Sport takes to green

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The Hon Kate Ellis MP, Minister for Sport and Richard Marles, Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation and Industry have welcomed delegates from the Australian Golf Industry Council (AGIC) to Canberra today for a series of meetings with a range of MPs.

“Golf is incredibly important to the Australian government,” said Ms Ellis on the lawns of Parliament House after receiving a golf lesson from PGA professional Jake Nagle, grandson of Australian great Kel.

“In terms of reaching government objectives, it is (the government’s) objective to have a healthy community. It is our objective to have a strong economy. It is our objective to have well supported and well operating large industries. It is our objective to boost tourism and to do a whole range of things that golf- out there as a silent achiever- is already doing. And today is about recognising that.”

Golf Australia CEO Stephen Pitt added, “Golf has an enormously positive impact on the health and happiness of more than a million Australians. "

Max Garske, CEO of the PGA of Australia added, “golf is an extremely diverse industry and we cut across so many portfolios including trade, international affairs and a whole range of areas so today is really about working out how we can further leverage our sport.”

Throughout today AGIC delegates have met with a range of Ministers and their representatives covering a diversity of portfolios including Regional Development, Trade, Women, Tourism and the Environment.

At the forefront of priorities for the delegation is conveying the substantial value of the Australian Golf Industry that directly employs 23,000 Australians and contributes $2.7 billion to the national annual economy.

Meetings will continue throughout the afternoon before a dinner tonight at which five-time British Open Champion Peter Thomson, AO CBE, and Dawn Fraser, AO MBE, will take to the stage as guest speakers.

“My involvement as a patron of the ALPG has also allowed me to gain a better understanding of the golf industry as a whole. I now understand that golf is much bigger than many would realise – a $2.7 billion dollar industry which makes it bigger than the racing industry,” said Dawn Fraser of her involvement with the AGIC.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Ministers this week and look forward to being part of the industry presentations which I am sure will open a few eyes, and hopefully result in an ongoing cooperation between the AGIC and Government.”