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Newsletter Issue 10 April 2005

One year to go

The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games ‘family’ celebrated one year to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Melbourne Games by creating a giant ‘1’ at Rod Laver Arena on March 15.

More than 1000 stakeholders gathered at Rod Laver Arena to celebrate the milestone including Australian athletes, the Games Sponsor Family and members from Victoria Police, Tourism Industry, local government offices and emergency services crews. Victorian Premier Steve Bracks said that the celebration was a reminder that in 365 days time the biggest sporting and cultural event that Melbourne has ever seen would be upon us.

“At 8pm on Wednesday 15 March 2006 the Opening Ceremony will begin at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as we welcome athletes and officials from all 71 Commonwealth nations to share in the spirit of sport and culture at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games,” Mr Bracks said “The eyes of the world will be on Melbourne come March 2006”.

Chairman’s message

As we celebrate one year to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, it is timely to reflect on significant milestones that have occurred in the first few months of 2005.

During January, Federal Treasurer the Hon. Peter Costello launched the Melbourne 2006 Volunteer Program at Melbourne’s Federation Square. The program received an overwhelming response, with applications closing just a week later as subscription levels of 20,000 were reached.

The Volunteer launch in January was followed by the unveiling of the Queen’s Baton Relay international route by Prime Minister John Howard and Victorian Premier Steve Bracks in Canberra on 10 February. At Buckingham Palace, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II presided over the ceremony that launched the innovative Baton on the longest, most inclusive relay in Commonwealth Games history, covering over 180,000 km and every ocean and continent in the world.

We were also delighted to welcome several new sponsors to the Commonwealth Games Family. Telstra became the fourth M2006 Partner, while Nestlé Peters were welcomed as a Games Sponsor. Yakka and the Royal Australian Mint jointed the team as Official Providers. Our media family has also expanded, with Southern Cross Broadcasting and ABC Radio joining as our official radio broadcasters.

And last, but far from least, the Games ticket ballot opened on 13 March. With more than 1.2 million tickets available, there is undoubtedly a ticket to suit all Australians.

The excitement and enthusiasm generated by these events in Melbourne, Canberra and London are testament to the fact momentum is now in full swing.

Ronald J. Walker AC CBE

Ticket Ballot book launch

More than 1.2 million tickets were released to Australian sports fans in the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Ticket Ballot which opened to the public on March 13. This is believed to be the largest ever offering of publicly available tickets in Commonwealth Games history.

Of the tickets on offer, more than 600,000 are priced at $60 or less, making tickets to the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games the most affordable and accessible ever.

Releasing full details of the ballot and ticketing allocations, Victorian Premier Steve Bracks said the majority of tickets to all sessions across 31 competition venues was being made available to the public through the Ticket Ballot.

“This Ticket Ballot gives all Australians the best opportunity to access seats to the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, and is the fairest and most equitable way to ensure everyone can experience live Games action,” Mr Bracks said.

“For example, across 12 sessions of swimming, there will be around 55,000 tickets across all price categories available to the general public.”

Federal Minister for Arts and Sport, Senator Rod Kemp and Games CEO John Harnden, were also on hand to launch the Ticket Ballot at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on March 13.

Mr Bracks said with more than 1.2 million tickets up for grabs in the ballot, sports fans would have access to more tickets at the 2006 Games than at any previous Commonwealth Games – 20%, or around 200,000 more tickets, than the November 2004 commitment.

“The Ticket Ballot is a great result for everyone and ensures all Australians have equal chance of getting the seats they want to the events they want to see,” Mr Bracks said.

Senator Kemp said the Commonwealth Games provided an opportunity for all Australians to come together in Melbourne next March.“There will be a shared sense of pride in our country as we celebrate a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said

In other key ballot features:

• Almost 650,000 tickets are available for the general public to the 12 sessions of Games action at the MCG, including the Opening and Closing ceremonies;

• 293,528 tickets are available for family packages;

• People will be notified of ballot results from mid-May, with credit cards debited from 13 June for successful applicants, and tickets mailed out in December

• Unlike other major sporting events, credit cards will not be debited until fans know if their order has been successful;

• It is not a case of ‘first in, best dressed’ – as long as applications are received by the ballot closing date of 22 April (midnight AEST), everyone has an equal chance;

• With the exception of the Opening and Closing ceremonies, swimming and the gold medal bout of the boxing, there is no ticket over $100;

• Tickets applications can be made on-line at www.melbourne2006.com.au.Games CEO John Harnden used the launch of the Ticket Ballot to explain to the public the benefits of opting to “Accept a Lower Price”.

“If your first choice of price level is unsuccessful and there are tickets still remaining in other price categories at that session, the ballot system will try to allocate your ticket request at a lower price level,” he said.

“Regardless of the price category people buy in, the Melbourne Games will certainly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Limits apply to all ballot applications to ensure as many Australians as possible have a chance to access tickets. The limit is 20 tickets per individual session, except for diving, swimming, synchronised swimming, regional basketball and some shooting events where tickets are limited to four per session.

The Ticket Ballot closes on April 22, 2005. To apply go to: www.melbourne2006.com.au.

Queen’s Baton Relay begins groundbreaking journey to Games

On Commonwealth Day – 14 March 2005 – Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II signalled the beginning of the relay when she passed the baton to international supermodel and proud Australian, Elle Macpherson, during an official commencement ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London, England.

The celebration took place within the historical Palace forecourt, attended by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, CGF President Michael Fennell, Victorian Minister for the Commonwealth Games Justin Madden, M2006 Chairman Ronald J Walker, a host of Commonwealth dignitaries and a vast international media contingent.

From Buckingham Palace, the baton travelled along The Mall via a succession of international athletes, including Australia’s Catherine Freeman, and the UK’s Dame Kelly Holmes and Amir Khan.

The relay was integrated into further Commonwealth Day celebrations, capturing the imagination of the gathered public at several events, including a special observance at Westminister Abbey, during which the baton was presented to Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria.

From London, the baton travelled first to Manchester, host city of the most recent Commonwealth Games and on to Cardiff, Wales, where the relay originated in 1958.

During its epic year-long journey across every continent and ocean, the relay will generate excitement and share the message of goodwill as it weaves its way closer to the opening ceremony of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Thanks to funding provided by the Australian Government, and for the first time ever, the relay will visit all 71 nations of the Commonwealth – home to almost one third of the world’s population. No Games relay has ever visited all member nations, making the Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton Relay the most inclusive ever.

More than 60 per cent of Commonwealth nations will be hosting their first Queen’s Baton Relay, including the tiny island nations of Saint Helena off the coast of Africa and Niue in the South Pacific.

Hundreds of welcome ceremonies and other community festivities are being held along the relay route, enabling many millions of people across the globe to join in the celebrations for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

The relay serves as a live countdown clock. Each day as the baton journeys closer towards its ultimate destination, we will be reminded of how soon it is until the games begin. Follow the baton around the Commonwealth by checking updates on www.melbourne2006.com.au.

Millionaire champions’ challenge

Australia’s highest rating game show, the Nine Network’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” celebrated the release of the Games Ticket Ballot with a ‘Champions Challenge’ in March.

Past and present Commonwealth Games sports stars were paired together to raise money for their chosen charity. Stars of the track and field Tamsyn Lewis and Steve Moneghetti were joined by husband and wife diving duo Robert and Chantelle Newbery, while Shane Kelly and Katie Mactier represented Track Cycling. The final pairing consisted of Australian Netballer Eloise Southby and ‘queen of the pool’ Petria Thomas.

As the lights dimmed on set and the audience cheered, Eddie began the show with his famous fastest fingers first. Shane Kelly proved he may be fast on his bike but he is even faster with his fingers.

Winning the first round in just 5.17 seconds, Shane and Katie had their moment in the spotlight to compete for their chosen charity of Parkinson’s Australia.

Shane’s father lives with the disease, so the charity he chose was close to his heart. The pair ended their winning streak to bank $16,000 for Parkinson’s Australia.

Next to step up to the stage were Rob and Chantelle Newbery.

The couple had also chosen a charity close to their hearts to compete for. The Newbery’s son, Jet, was born 11 weeks premature and the couple believe they owe a lot to the Perinatal Research Foundation based at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

With the game in full swing, the Newbery’s were heading toward the million dollar mark, but decided to stop and take the money at $125,000.

By this time the siren had sounded leaving Tamsyn and Steve, Petria and Eloise without the chance to play for their chosen charities, but part of a special night of entertainment and fund raising. The Millionaire special was a great promotion for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and host Eddie Maguire promoted the Ticket Ballot Book at every opportunity.

With over $141,000 going to charity, it was ‘game over’ but well played by all athletes.

The “Who wants to be a millionaire Champions’ Challenge’ was not only an opportunity to raise money for charity but it also co-incided with the launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay in London and Ticket Ballot Book in Australia – a great way to promote the Commonwealth Games across Australia on the Nine Network, the host broadcaster for the Melbourne Games.

Canada counting down

To mark the countdown to the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, Tourism Victoria (Australia), the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation and Commonwealth Games Canada hosted a special kickoff event in Toronto with athletes and dignitaries on March 15.

Canada will send a team of close to 400 athletes, coaches, and support personnel to the Melbourne Games.

Representing the Victorian Government at the function in Toronto was the Hon. John Pandazopoulos, Minister of Tourism.

“The Commonwealth Games began in Canada 75 years ago and our two great nations have enjoyed a friendship and rivalry in sport ever since those first games in Hamilton,” he said.

“So it’s appropriate that we mark the countdown to Melbourne 2006 together, here in Canada.

More than 30 Canadian Commonwealth Games athletes, past and present, were on hand at the event. It included a demonstration by rhythmic gymnast Alexandra Orlando, who recently won gold at the Elite Canada rhythmic gymnastics competition and is a medal hopeful at the Melbourne Games.

“The Commonwealth Games represent the second largest multi-sport event in the world and the timing of the Melbourne Games couldn’t be better,” added Thomas Jones, Commonwealh Games Canada’s Chief Executive Officer. “With strong government and private sector support, Canadian athletes are poised to achieve unprecedented results over the next several years. The Melbourne Games represent an important milestone in our evolution as a leading sport nation.

”The first games ever were held in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1930 and were then known at that time as the British Empire Games. They had just 400 athletes from 11 countries, in only six sports. At the Melbourne Games there will be more than 4,500 athletes representing 71 Commonwealth Games nations who will compete in 24 disciplines (12 individual sports and four team sports). Another unique feature of the Commonwealth Games is the inclusion of 12 events over four sports for elite athletes with a disability (EAD).

Canada has hosted the games four times and 2006 in Melbourne will mark the fourth time the Games have been held in Australia. Melbourne also hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics and is the home of the Australian Open tennis championships and the Formula One Grand Prix.

“The Commonwealth Games offer us an opportunity to acquaint Canadians with all that Melbourne and Victoria have to offer,” added Mr. Pandazopoulos. “Melbourne is friendly, welcoming and culturally diverse, with a myriad of sights and attractions that we’d love to share with more Canadians.

”To find out more about the International Tourism Program visit www.melbourne.com.au

Athlete Profile – Adam Basil

Star of the track, Adam Basil had a hard decision to make at 16 - get drafted into the AFL or represent his country in athletics?

“It was difficult being a Melbourne boy, but I just couldn’t pass up the chance to represent my country,” says Basil.
Set to be a star to watch for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, Basil is looking forward to the challenge.

“Whenever I hear the words Melbourne 2006 it excites me. To race in front of family and friends is a once in a life time opportunity and the Australian public love their sport so the crowd will be amazing”.

Basil began his sprinting career at Athletics Essendon making his way through the ranks winning the 100m and 200m junior championship eight times in a row creating a national record.

A career highlight saw Basil competing in the Athens Olympics 4x100m team coming in sixth place, a positive sign for next years Games.

“It is an exciting time so when competition training begins I don’t feel like I’m working because it’s my passion and that out weighs all the sacrifices”.

Competition training consists of 25 hours a week including high intensity speed work and weight training. On top of working part-time at Melbourne Grammar as strength and conditioning coordinator, Basil is studying Human Development at RMIT University

“You don’t compete for the money but when only one percent of the population are running for their country it’s worth it. Next year I want to run in the greatest stadium in the world, the MCG”.

Basil’s preparation for the Games is well underway and he is set to experience the same thrill as any AFL player - the possibility to compete on the sacred ground of the MCG in March 2006.

National Australia Bank’s Junior Games

Australia’s biggest outdoor sports carnival for children, the National Australia Bank’s Junior Games, has commenced its journey around Australia, beginning in Albany, Western Australia, on 4 March 2005.

In addition to being a great event, the Junior Games are a fantastic way for nearly 30,000 primary school children to experience the spirit and festivities of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

The National’s Junior Games will travel across the country for 40 weeks, visiting 34 regional and metropolitan areas.

Each session includes six track and field activities to entertain and engage students from grades 3-6, plus a nutrition and stretching circuit.

The event starts in Western Australia this month and finishes in Melbourne in November 2005.

The National Australia Group, Official Partner of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, is proud to bring you the National Australia Bank’s Junior Games.

For details on how your school can get involved visit national.com.au/juniorgame.

To find out the other members of our Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Sponsor Family visit www.melbourne2006.com.au

On the road with the Commonwealth Games

With the event season in full swing the Games team found their own unique way to be part of the action.

Known as Event Attack, the promotional stage is being transported to events via a very large semi trailer. Its first stop was the fastest event in town, the Fosters Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Karak and his Commonwealth Games sporting heroes were on hand to sign autographs and give the crowd an update on their Games training schedule.

Athletes who helped out at Event Attacks throughout March included cyclist Ryan Bayley, netballers Eloise Southby and Susan Meaney. Swimmers Brett Hawke, Michelle Engelsman and Shayne Reese; Track and field star Adam Basil and Lawn Bowler Barrie Leater.

Our custom designed movable and reusable promotional stage attracted impressive crowds. Event Attack took to the road for Moomba, Avalon Royal Air Show, a quick stop off to a huge crowd in Albury/Wodonga followed by an appearance at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show.

Everyone who visited the Event Attack van were given the opportunity to sign up an e-newsletter, meet Karak, the Games mascot and the chance to win exclusive Games tickets and merchandise.

Reunite with the people you love

Every year over 6.6 million people visit friends and relatives in Victoria. Now’s the chance to reunite with the people you love at the biggest sporting and cultural event in Melbourne’s history.

The Games offers friends and family the opportunity to meet in Melbourne, share in sporting history and experience a thrilling, action-packed program

So why not play tour guide to visiting friends or family? Be part of the excitement in Melbourne when the Commonwealth Games come to town it is going to make for an unforgettable experience.

Before filling out your ballot application, why not give your friends and family a call now, and plan your Games experience together.

Volunteers step up

The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Volunteer Program opened on 28 January, to an overwhelming response from people across Australia and around the world. Applications closed after more than 20,000 were received within a week of the launch by Federal Treasurer Hon Peter Costello.

The Melbourne 2006 Volunteer Program is funded by the Federal Government, acknowledging the vital role volunteers will play in the successful staging of the Games.

Over 9000 applications were received from the public on the first day alone, with international applicants being drawn from nations across the globe – from Azerbaijan to Wales.

“Volunteers are the unsung heroes of everyday Australian life through their unselfish service to the community,”said Mr Costello.

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks said “We want volunteers to get the most out of their Games experience, and hopefully use it as a springboard for new opportunities – whether it’s volunteering in their local area or opening the door to a career”.

During the Games, Volunteers will perform a wide range of duties including meeting and greeting at the airport, spectator assistance, tourist information, athlete and coaching support services, driving, and technical assistance.

More than 400 types of Volunteer positions at over 80 venues around Victoria will be performed by up to 15,000 Games Volunteers. These Volunteers will come from different age groups, diverse cultural backgrounds and possess various skills and abilities, but through a common passion and enthusiasm, will unite to make the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games a success.

Volunteer Program Assessments will continue throughout the year in both metropolitan and regional areas around Victoria and Australia. Keep an eye out for the Volunteers Update published quarterly by Fairfax Papers or by visiting our Website.

Hard Yakka

Iconic Australian apparel manufacturer Yakka – a third-generation, Melbourne-based company – was announced as official provider of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games workforce uniforms recently.

Yakka’s corporate apparel specialist, Dowd Corporation, will supply the Games workforce uniform, which will be worn by full-time staff at Melbourne 2006, technical officials, and up to 15,000 Games volunteers. Also included in the contract is the national Queen’s Baton Relay runner uniforms.

Dowd will produce a range of items from all-weather jackets, pants and polos to ponchos and drink bottles.

As part of the agreement with the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation, a minimum 75 per cent of the total value of the contract will be sourced in Australia.

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks congratulates Yakka’s workers on the Games sponsorship.

Sponsorship announcements– Telstra

Telstra was welcomed into the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Family in December – the fourth partner to join the biggest sporting event in Victoria’s history.

As Australia’s largest company, with a head office right here in Melbourne, Telstra’s announcement is another significant step in the countdown to March 2006. The telecommunications giant has supported many Commonwealth Games, Olympic and other sporting teams.

As a Melbourne 2006 partner, supply of telecommunications services will be crucial to the successful staging of the Games. Melbourne 2006 Chairman, Ronald J Walker said that he was delighted that Telstra had recognised the immense benefits of being associated with the Melbourne Games. In addition Telstra is the national partner for the Queen’s Baton Relay – the longest, most inclusive relay in history.

Nestlé Peters

In the same week that Telstra announced its Games involvement, Nestlé Peters held an event at their Mulgrave factory, celebrating their arrival into the sponsor family.

Minister Madden welcomed Nestlé Peters to the Commonwealth Games family. “Nestlé Peters have been associated with Melbourne for 70 years and today’s announcement confirms the importance they place on being associated with the biggest event in Victoria’s history”.

The sponsorship arrangement will see Nestlé Peters Ice Cream products available at all Games events and venues. Nestlé Peters Ice Cream is an Official Sponsor of both the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and the Australian 2006 Commonwealth Games Team.

Southern Cross and ABC local radio broadcast the Games

Southern Cross Broadcasting and ABC Local Radio have been awarded the rights as Official National Radio Broadcasters for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

This continues both networks long history of involvement in Commonwealth Games radio broadcasting, which began in Sydney for the 1938 then Empire Games. The announcement means that all Australians – from Bunbury to Box Hill – will be able to be a part of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games experience.

The broadcast rights deal was announced by Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, following his regular Tuesday morning interview with Neil Mitchell on Melbourne Radio 3AW.

Between the two radio broadcasters, Australia will receive comprehensive coverage of the Commonwealth Games, the majority of which will be live.

Queen’s Baton design–in brief

The Queens’ Baton Relay – a Games tradition that began at the Cardiff Games in 1958 – represents a chance for the Commonwealth Games host nation to demonstrate innovation, technology and expertise in constructing the vessel that takes the Queen’s message across the Commonwealth. The Baton for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games is no exception.

Designed and manufactured by Melbourne’s own Paul Charlwood Design, the Melbourne 2006 Queen’s Baton displays Australian design excellence and technological innovation at its very best, and takes the tradition of the Queen’s Baton Relay into the 21st century.

The revolutionary baton contains state of the art technical features, including:

• a global positioning system to track the baton’s location at all times;

• two tiny ‘baton cam’ cameras and a microphone;

• 200 lights, providing visual effects at key relay moments, such as during runner handovers. The lights are triggered by radio frequency identification devices housed in the baton stand and in runner thumb gloves; and

• interactive web-based features, allowing people across the globe to follow the baton’s epic journey as it happens.

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