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Sydney 2000 Games


A Strategy to benefit all Australians

The Commonwealth and the Bid for the 2000 Games


The Experience of Atlanta
Commonwealth Ministerial Committees
The Sydney 2000 Games Coordination Task Force



Sydney Airport
Border Agencies


Memorandum of Understanding
Infrastructure Development
Workforce Support
Ambush Marketing Legislation
Special Initiatives


Olympic Security Working Committee
National Security Intelligence
Border Control
Aviation Security
Carriage of Weapons Policy
Chemical, Biological and Radiological Response
Defence Support
Audits of Commonwealth Security Preparations
Games National Anti-Terrorist Exercises
Defence Force Aid to the Civil Authorities
Building Confidence
International Major Event Security Conference


Business Club Australia
Investment 2000
Trade Visitors – Australia 2000
Australia Sport International
Directory of Contractors to the 2000 Games
Australian Technology Showcase





Appendix I

Appendix II



The Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games (the Games) were the largest international event ever hosted by Australia. The Games covered a 60-day period, with the Olympics attracting more than 11,000 athletes from 199 nations and East Timor while the Paralympics saw more than 3,800 athletes from 123 countries. They were joined in Sydney and the interstate Olympic venues by numerous officials, International and National Olympic and Paralympic Committee members, Heads of State and of Governments, other VIPs and spectators. Australia was on show not only to those who were here in person, but also to the billions worldwide who followed the Games in print, on television, on radio and over the internet.

A Strategy to benefit all Australians

The Commonwealth Government recognised the importance of Australia staging a successful Games for the long-term benefit of all Australians on a number of levels. Success would reinforce Australia’s international standing as a leading sporting nation, promote its image from a geo-political perspective and offer opportunities for trade, business investment and tourism. The Commonwealth also recognised that the successful conduct of the Games would not be possible without the large scale support and cooperation of Commonwealth Departments and agencies in meeting a wide range of Games-related national responsibilities and in assisting New South Wales (NSW) government agencies and the organising committees stage the Games. With this in mind, the Commonwealth based its strategy to derive maximum benefit for Australia from the Sydney 2000 Games on delivering the following outcomes:

While the Games were extremely successful and these objectives were largely met, there were lessons learned that will assist the Commonwealth in its planning for future large events and may also be applicable to other national governments in similar circumstances. A number of planning and operational issues were critical for the Commonwealth in its endeavours to ensure the success of the Sydney 2000 Games. The range and relative importance of these issues in staging future events will vary according to the specific circumstances of these events. For other host countries the value of the Commonwealth’s experience will vary depending upon a number factors such as the form of national government, level of infrastructure, the national cultural overlay and geo-political circumstances. It can be expected, though, that, to some degree, there will be an enduring relevance in the lessons learnt from the staging of a particular Games.

In Australia’s case these key lessons are:

In the end, though, the fundamental enabling factor that allowed the Commonwealth to pursue and deliver comprehensively on its strategy to convert the international interest in the Games into long-term benefits for all Australians was the early identification, establishment and resourcing of Commonwealth agency requirements and whole-of-government coordination arrangements.


The Commonwealth and the Bid for the 2000 Games

Commencing with the Bid for Sydney to hold the 2000 Games, this strategy drove the Commonwealth’s involvement in the Games, involving a high level of cooperation with governments and agencies at the state and local level, the organising committees and the private sector. The decision by the Australian Olympic Committee, the NSW government and the City of Sydney to bid to hold the 2000 Games in Sydney recognised that, for the Bid to be successful, a substantial national effort would be required involving the Commonwealth Government. Regardless of the outcome of the Bid, it was felt the Bid process would provide an important focus for tourism, investment, marketing and trade, sufficient to justify the Government’s contribution to it. Indeed, in terms of international marketing, the bidding alone was a highly cost-effective method of promoting Sydney and Australia.

Support from the Commonwealth Government during the Bid took a number of forms. First, $5 million was provided to the Bid company with an additional $150 million pledged for facilities. Importantly, an undertaking was given to sell and transfer the site of the Newington Naval Armaments depot, which at the time was adjacent to the Homebush site, to NSW for the athletes village should the Bid be successful. Australian Loan Council approval was also given for an additional $300 million in borrowings so that an early start could be made on facilities at Homebush. Second, the Commonwealth made a number of commitments in relation to, inter alia, the movement of athletes into and out of Australia for the Games, the importation and re-export of goods and equipment to be used in the Games, the entry of horses for the equestrian events, taxation and health care for members of the Olympic Family. Third, the resources of the Australian diplomatic and consular network were made available to the Bid company to facilitate its activities internationally.



From the time Sydney was awarded the 2000 Games in September 1993, the Commonwealth Government progressively increased its involvement in the preparations for the Games. In early 1996 the first Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Sydney 2000 Games was appointed. During this period the Commonwealth provided funding for the construction of Games facilities, the sale and transfer of land to NSW for the athletes village, the development of ambush marketing legislation and the establishment of an Olympic Athlete Programme. From a planning and coordination perspective, Commonwealth Departments and agencies were brought together into a Commonwealth reference group, and Commonwealth officials became increasingly involved in planning groups with NSW agencies and the organising committees, fulfilling, where it was possible at the time, commitments made by the Commonwealth during the Bid. It is fair to say, though, that during this initial period the Commonwealth tended to react to policy and planning issues rather than taking the lead. Progress in preparing for the Games was uneven across Commonwealth agencies.

The Experience of Atlanta

The Commonwealth took the opportunity in 1996 to observe at first-hand in Atlanta the mammoth undertaking of staging an Olympic Games. Commonwealth Ministers and senior officials returned with a clear understanding of where effort and resources needed to be directed to achieve a successful Games in Sydney and to deliver on the strategy of providing long-term benefits to Australia. The Atlanta experience highlighted the importance of security, transport, telecommunications and information technology. It also indicated that dignitary handling and servicing the unaccredited media would be critical points of exposure for the Commonwealth at the Sydney Games. More fundamentally, the Atlanta experience underscored the vital need for the Commonwealth to be engaged comprehensively and to ensure a whole-of-government approach prevailed through strong coordination arrangements.

Commonwealth Ministerial Committees

Following the Atlanta Games two Commonwealth Ministerial Committees were established to oversee the Commonwealth’s security and non-security preparations for the Games. These committees were advised by high level officials groups which the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) serviced. The Ministerial Committees provided policy direction for the Commonwealth’s involvement in the Games. They also advised Cabinet on the financial aspects of the Commonwealth’s participation and handled the first stages of the negotiation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Commonwealth and NSW Governments for the provision of financial assistance to the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG).

The Sydney 2000 Games Coordination Task Force

Recognising the need for greater effort as the Games drew closer, in early 1998 the Sydney 2000 Games Coordination Task Force (the Task Force) was established in PM&C. The Task Force brought together within one unit the coordination of the security and non-security aspects of the Commonwealth’s contribution to the staging of the Games. The Task Force also serviced both the Prime Minister and the Minister Assisting. The work previously done by the Ministerial Committees was passed to Cabinet. The Task Force monitored and critically assessed the state of overall preparedness for the Games and reported this on a regular basis to Cabinet on non-security matters and to the National Security Committee (NSC) of Cabinet in relation to security and Defence issues.

The Task Force worked collaboratively with Commonwealth Departments and agencies to develop strategic framework documents to underpin planning for security and non-security preparations. With some matters, such as with security, defence support, communications and Sydney Airport, the Task Force worked mainly behind the scenes to drive the necessary outcomes. In other areas, the Task Force took the lead as with media management and public information and dignitary handling. It also handled policy advice on a range of Games-related matters, many of which will be covered later in this report.

The coordination role of the Task Force was achieved largely through a reference group structure for both non-security and security (including defence) support. On the security side a higher level liaison group acted as a clearing-house for progressing difficult issues and shaping the Commonwealth’s interaction with State and offshore agencies. The work of these groups was complemented by high-level and regular contact with key executives in SOCOG, the Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee (SPOC), the Olympic Coordination Authority (OCA), the Olympic Roads and Transport Authority (ORTA) and other NSW agencies.

Coordination was further strengthened through two reviews of security preparations and one review of non-security preparedness at key points in time out from the Games. The reviews were conducted by the Task Force and involved all Commonwealth agencies and key clients. These arrangements, and the cooperative, productive relationships that underpinned them, provided a strong mechanism for staying focussed on achieving the Commonwealth’s strategy for the Games.

From July 2000 the Task Force moved to an operational focus and restructured to establish a coordination group in Canberra and to place senior staff in key positions forward in Sydney at the Main Press Centre, the NSW Police Strategic Command Centre, the Protocol Coordination Centre and Sydney Airport. During the period of the Games the Task Force provided an extensive monitoring, reporting and briefing service to the Prime Minister, Minister Assisting and a number of senior Commonwealth Ministers.



Australia’s Olympic and Paralympic Teams for 2000 were the largest ever fielded. For the first time, our Paralympic Team had competitors in all 18 sports. While Australia has a long history of sporting success disproportionate to its size, the teams at the Sydney 2000 Games achieved the best results ever: more medals, more gold medals, and in more sports than ever before in both the Olympics and Paralympics. The Commonwealth was an important contributor to this success, through the extensive funding it provided for the preparations of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Over six and a half years from July 1994 to December 2000, the Commonwealth Government provided $140 million for athlete preparation for the Games, in addition to existing funding for elite sport. Some $6.125 million was made available in the four years leading into the Paralympic Games to train Australia’s Paralympic athletes. In addition to this funding, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), particularly through the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), provided the expertise and infrastructure necessary for successful elite athlete training.

Australia’s Olympic team of 632 athletes won 16 gold, 25 silver and 17 bronze medals. Of the 152 Olympic athletes who won medals in Sydney (this includes members of winning teams), 113 of the medallists were current or former AIS athletes. This represents 75 per cent of the Australian athletes participating in the Games that won medals. For sports in which AIS programmes exist, 85 per cent of Australian medal winners were current or former AIS scholarship recipients. For the Paralympic Games, Australia entered a team of 283 athletes, 54 of whom were current or former AIS athletes. Current and former AIS athletes won or contributed to the winning of 39 gold, 18 silver and 16 bronze medals. Of the total medals won by Australians, AIS athletes represented 62 per cent of gold medals, 46 per cent of silver medals and 34 per cent of bronze medals won, and 56 per cent of all Australian medals won.

The success of the Australian teams at the Sydney 2000 Games reflected the Commonwealth Government’s decision to provide financial support specifically to ensure Australia’s athletes had the maximum opportunity to perform at their best at the Games. This support was channelled through the ASC’s Olympic Athlete Programme, which was devised, implemented and administered by the ASC with the support of the national sporting organisations and the Australian Olympic and Paralympic Committees. The outstanding achievements recorded are testimony to the success of this initiative.

Following the success of the Australian teams in Sydney in winning more medals in more sports than at any previous Games, the Commonwealth is providing additional funding so that the Australian teams at the Athens Games have every opportunity to emulate the success of the Sydney teams.



The scope, scale and complexity of Commonwealth agencies delivering services in support of the Games was quite remarkable. More than 30 Commonwealth Departments and agencies were involved in supporting the Games. This assistance involved a wide range of areas including national security, communications, training in sports doping controls, drug research, quarantine, tourism and trade promotion, border controls and weather forecasting. Levels of involvement varied between agencies, with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) bearing the heaviest absolute load, making 5,500 personnel available during the Games.

The scope and complexity of the Commonwealth’s involvement is illustrated by the different policy and pricing bases established for the delivery of government services, which recognised the different roles being undertaken by Commonwealth Departments and agencies. The assistance covered purely commercial relationships, such as those negotiated by Telstra (1)as a Games sponsor and the Royal Australian Mint for the Olympic and Paralympic coin programmes. Then there were a whole series of contractual agreements at commercial prices for the delivery of specialised but contestable services such as drug testing, weather forecasting and spectrum management. There were other goods and services provided at concessional prices, recognising that mutual benefits would accrue to the organisers and the Commonwealth. This included elements of Defence support. Finally, there were very substantial services and capabilities provided free-of-charge that fall within the Commonwealth's own areas of responsibility, ranging from enhanced Customs processing to national intelligence and security support to the NSW Police.

Border control and the role of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) is a good example of such complexities. First, border control, including DIMA's role, was a significant and important tier in our overall security strategy. This dimension was a Commonwealth responsibility and provided at no cost. Second, there was the mutual benefit in linking electronically DIMA's clearance and visa system with SOCOG's accreditation system. Consequently, SOCOG was only charged the cost of the electronic link itself. Third, DIMA's Translating and Interpreting Service provided supplementary interpreting services under a fee-for-service agreement with SOCOG.

In addition to Commonwealth agencies providing quality government services, the Commonwealth also assisted Games organisers and States with their service delivery levels by making skilled staff available through secondments. SOCOG particularly valued the ability to make use of expert logistics managers drawn from the Defence Force. Use of secondments also helped to integrate the NSW Police Force’s intelligence and security planning with that of national agencies.

In providing high quality services to support the staging of the Games, a number of Commonwealth agencies developed innovations that will have longer-term benefits. The Bureau of Meteorology developed systems for much more locally specific weather forecasting, which were of particular importance for the Olympic sailing events. The Australian Communications Authority has written a world-first guide to telecommunications facilitation for events of this scale. DIMA accessed a new electronic visa system to improve entry arrangements for the Olympic and Paralympic families. Across all areas of involvement, Commonwealth Departments and agencies demonstrated Australia’s professionalism and commitment to the Games.

Sydney Airport

This was particularly evident at Sydney Airport, where the cooperation of the various stakeholders involved in airport service delivery, including border control agencies, the airport operator and airlines, demonstrated a commitment to ensure that the arrival and departure experience of visitors to Australia for the Games was a favourable one. This cooperation, together with additional airport staffing resources, improved infrastructure and off-airport processing for athletes and officials at the Games village, provided for the smooth facilitation of passengers and cargo without compromising border integrity. International media stories suggest that most visitors were pleasantly surprised at the level of service provided by airport agencies and the speed with which airport formalities were completed.

This outcome did not come easily. The airport is operated by a wholly-owned Commonwealth company and represents a complex operational and policy environment involving many Commonwealth agencies working with numerous State and business organisations. To handle the increased aircraft and passenger traffic and the special needs of Olympic and Paralympic family members, while staying within the normal airport operating limitations with regard to curfew, hourly aircraft movement rates and noise sharing, an unprecedented level of cooperation and coordination between agencies was required. A series of meetings at Chief Executive Officer (CEO) level of all relevant agencies, including the NSW Games-related organisations, over the two years preceding the Games was beneficial in this regard. While the meetings were primarily aimed at monitoring infrastructure and capacity development at Sydney Airport, they also laid the foundation for the intense planning and operational interaction that was needed between all the agencies concerned. In the final run-up to, and during the Games, senior management of the airport operator coordinated detailed planning. A valuable feature of this process was a regular telephone link-up of agencies at senior level. Implementation of the Games overlay for the airport was given effect by a multi-agency operations centre that operated from early August until the beginning of November 2000.

Good weather conditions for most of the Games enabled the airport to maintain maximum runway capacity without any substantial delays, including a record 1,013 aircraft movements on 2 October 2000. Over the period from 1 September to 5 October, aircraft movements totalled 30,604 – an increase of almost 17 per cent over the same period in 1999. International passenger arrivals were up 22 per cent and international passenger departures were up 14 per cent on 1999 figures.

In these circumstances, the outcome for the Commonwealth and Australia was excellent. The level of service for people moving through the airport received highly favourable comment. The success stemmed from detailed planning to ensure that not only could the airport capacity cope with the load, but equally importantly, the airport experience would be a positive one at the personal level.

Border Agencies

There is no doubt that the work of the Australian Customs Service (Customs), the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) and DIMA made a major contribution to the success of the airport experience and the Games as whole. Considerable effort was devoted to a coordinated information campaign to ensure Olympic and Paralympic family members and other overseas visitors were aware of Australia’s immigration, quarantine and entry control requirements. In addition to handling efficiently the significantly increased volume of people and goods entering Australia, these agencies worked closely with the organising committees on issues ranging from the protection of intellectual property to the import, quarantine and re-export of horses for the Olympic equestrian events. DIMA, as previously mentioned, established the first electronic entry system for use during an Olympic Games. The system guaranteed Olympic and Paralympic family members smooth and efficient arrival and departure arrangements.


Quality Commonwealth service was also especially evident in the vital area of communications. In the initial stages of the Commonwealth’s planning for the Games, the bringing together of the communications requirements of the various stakeholders was identified as a major challenge. This flowed from the congested nature of Sydney’s radio frequency spectrum, the small separation distance between Games venues within the Sydney Basin and the potential for electromagnetic interference generated by the medium frequency band radio transmitters in the Homebush Bay area. The Commonwealth, through the Australian Communications Authority, worked with SOCOG and the Sydney Olympic Broadcasting Organisation (SOBO) to identify their communication service needs and then explore the communications regulatory issues and radio spectrum options relevant to the staging of the Games. Part of the solution for the Sydney Games involved the Department of Defence making available some of its spectrum. Given the considerable and growing demands for the use of the radiofrequency spectrum, it will be increasingly difficult for major events on the scale of the Olympics to be handled in the future without significant detailed planning and an early recognition of the challenges to be overcome.


Taxation issues required close attention from the time of the Bid through to the close of the Paralympic Games and beyond. With the exception of payments to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which, under the terms of the Host City Contract, were required to be free of withholding tax, no special taxation arrangements were put in place by the Commonwealth for the Games. The Commonwealth was concerned, however, to ensure that the application of the taxation regime was achieved at least cost and inconvenience to the Olympic and Paralympic families and organising committees. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) was required to make decisions on SOCOG’s liability for sales tax. SOCOG’s income tax status also had to be determined. While the Commonwealth was prepared to repay any income and sales tax paid by SOCOG, the NSW government in late 1997 amended the SOCOG Act to remove SOCOG from the ambit of the Commonwealth’s income and sales tax laws.

The ATO was also called upon to assess the taxation implications of sponsorship contracts and to provide detailed advice on the application to SOCOG’s activities of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) introduced on 1 July 2000. The ATO devoted considerable resources to resolving the many issues that arose, and assisting all those involved with the Games to comply with their taxation responsibilities, including SOCOG to meet its fringe benefits tax obligations on perquisites extended to its employees. The ATO arrangements worked well and drew favourable comment from those who became its clients, including those from overseas who incurred Australian tax liabilities.



The Commonwealth provided the organising committees with substantial direct financial support. Some $50 million was provided to cover the cost of the GST on Olympic and Paralympic tickets. The introduction of the tax from 1 July 2000 might otherwise have created financial difficulties for SOCOG, because the prices of its tickets had largely been agreed with the IOC well before this date. The Paralympic Games received special consideration by the Commonwealth in targeting its support to the organising committees. In particular, the Commonwealth provided SPOC with up to $35 million to underwrite its expected budget shortfall and cover risks to its budget, allowing SPOC to focus its efforts on making the Paralympic Games an outstanding success.

Memorandum of Understanding

Under an MoU, signed in December 1998, between the Commonwealth and NSW Governments, the Commonwealth agreed to provide up to $32 million in additional support for the Olympics - $30.79 million for payment to SOCOG to help it to satisfy its requirements for a range of Commonwealth and other services, facilities and equipment to assist with the staging of the Games, and $1.21 million for the purchase of hospitality boxes and tickets to the Games. The development of a number of flow-on agreements between agencies required close monitoring and intervention from time to time by the Task Force. Early visibility of difficult and complex issues to the senior management of all parties and a subsequent mutual commitment to resolve them is essential to meet the tight time-lines that invariably arise in preparing for a Games.

It is worthwhile noting that, as part of the MoU arrangements, Defence leased a number of properties in the Sydney region to OCA. Without the range of Defence properties to call on, NSW agencies would have been hard pressed to find alternative sites that would have allowed the Games to progress as smoothly as they did. The availability of warehousing and hard stand, whether from Defence or other government or commercial sources, needs to be identified and addressed early in preparing for a Games.

The Commonwealth also anticipated that NSW agencies might submit late requests for additional Defence support in areas covered by the MoU. The Commonwealth remained sensitive to the needs of the organising committees and other NSW Games agencies. For example, a delegation process endorsed by the Government allowed Defence to meet a request for over 130 bus drivers at very short notice.

Infrastructure Development

The Commonwealth Government provided the NSW Government with $150 million towards the costs of constructing Games facilities. An additional $25 million was also provided to assist the relocation of the Sydney Showgrounds to Homebush. As already mentioned, during the Bid phase, Australian Loan Council approval was given to allow NSW to borrow an additional $300 million so that an early start could be made on the development of facilities in Sydney Olympic Park.

Workforce Support

In its support for the workforce needs of the Games organisers, the Commonwealth had two objectives: to maximise the number of unemployed Australians who could use the Games to gain employment and work experience; and, to ensure that the organisers could draw on appropriately skilled workers. The former objective was pursued through the Sydney Jobs in 2000 package, which was launched by the Minister for Employment Services and the CEO of SOCOG in February 2000. This included upgraded electronic access to job information and recognition of Games volunteer work as fulfilling mutual obligation requirements for social security recipients. The latter objective was assisted by encouraging employers to recognise the training and career opportunities in Games-time positions and by relaxing compulsory superannuation requirements where staff had to be brought in from overseas because of skill shortages in Australia.

Ambush Marketing Legislation

The Olympic Insignia Protection Act 1987 protects the Olympic rings symbol, motto and a number of designs, such as the torch and the Australian team mascot, which can change from Games to Games. In 1996 the Commonwealth provided additional protection for Olympic insignia through the Sydney 2000 Games (Indicia and Images) Protection Act 1996. This Act was introduced in recognition of the national significance of the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the organisers’ critical need to raise large amounts of funding to stage them. The legislation was time-limited and expired on 31 December 2000. Its particular purpose was to help ensure the organisers’ revenue streams by protecting sponsorships against ambush marketing. The Commonwealth strongly supported this legislation in practical terms by its border control agencies seizing imported goods that were in contravention of the Act.

Special Initiatives

The Commonwealth support to the Games also included a range of special initiatives that were focussed on improving the conduct of the Games.

Drugs in Sport - When the Commonwealth Government announced its Tough on Drugs in Sport strategy in May 1999, it had already recognised that the Sydney Olympics would represent an important focus for Australia’s drugs in sport policies, already among the toughest in the world. Ahead of the Games, the Government introduced heavy penalties of up to a $100,000 fine and/or five years imprisonment for the importation of certain performance-enhancing drugs. Wide support from the international sporting community and governments around the world is essential to combat the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Australia entered over 20 bilateral drug-testing agreements to ensure athletes were subject to rigorous drug testing whether at home or overseas. The Commonwealth Government hosted the International Drugs in Sport Summit in November 1999, beginning a new era of cooperation between government and sport to combat doping. Australia also became a member of the newly established World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Foundation Board.

The Australian Sports Drug Agency trained SOCOG doping control volunteers in collection methods. It also provided government-funded drug tests as part of SOCOG’s test event programme over the 18 months leading up to the Olympics, providing an extra deterrent for Australian and international competitors. The Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory, which is accredited by the IOC, was contracted to SOCOG to provide analysis of urine samples for the Games. The laboratory also collaborated with the Australian Institute of Sport to develop a world-first blood test for erythropoietin (EPO), which was approved by the IOC for use, in combination with a French urine test, in pre-Games testing.

The IOC conducted pre-Games out-of-competition testing for the first time at the Sydney Olympics, in line with recommendations put to it by Australia. The Commonwealth assisted by funding 200 of the 402 pre-Games tests as part of its public interest testing programme. The pre-Games testing programme increased the chances of cheating athletes being caught, especially in conjunction with WADA’s undertaking to conduct 2,500 out-of-competition tests in 2000, most before the Olympics. Seven athletes who produced positive tests were withdrawn from Olympic teams before the Games. Australia’s recommendations also led to the IOC reforming its test results management procedures, for the first time having an independent observer, WADA, oversee the Games drug-testing programme. The IOC sanctioned eleven athletes for doping during the Olympics.

Oceania Leg of the Olympic Torch Relay - Because Australia wanted to include other nations in our region in the excitement of hosting the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Government funded the Oceania leg of the Olympic Torch Relay. This took the Olympic torch to 12 Pacific Island countries and territories, generating widespread goodwill and positive publicity in the Pacific. The local populations enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate and participate in the excitement of the Torch Relay.

Sporting Assistance to the Pacific - The Government established the $4 million Australia South Pacific 2000 programme to ensure that our neighbours in the South Pacific could take advantage of Australia’s hosting of the Games. A regional sports development and cultural exchange programme, Australia South Pacific 2000, provided sporting infrastructure to 17 Pacific Island states and helped 29 athletes from Pacific countries qualify to compete in the Sydney Olympics.

Extension of the Paralympic Torch Relay - Commonwealth Government funding of $500,000 to SPOC allowed the extension of the Paralympic Torch Relay to all State and Territory capital cities as well as around major NSW population centres. The funding ensured that the Paralympic Torch Relay was a national event, which succeeded in focussing public attention and enthusiasm on the Paralympics in the lead-up to those Games, continuing the celebrations brought to different States by the travels of the Olympic Torch.

Subsidy for Schoolchildren to Attend the Paralympics - In response to a suggestion from SPOC, the Commonwealth Government recognised that attendance at the Paralympics would give schoolchildren a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience. In July 1999, the Government established a subsidy scheme to assist schoolchildren from around Australia to share in the Games spirit and to attend the Paralympic Games. Funding was provided for schools more than 200 kilometres by road from Sydney Olympic Park on a scale that increased the further away they were. The scheme was reviewed in May 2000, as increased information about the costs and take-up rates became available. The Government subsequently increased the subsidy rates, particularly for schools more than 400km from Sydney. More than 30,000 schoolchildren from schools from as far away as northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia were subsidised to attend the Paralympics. In addition to the educational benefits, the presence of schoolchildren in large numbers at the Paralympic Games added depth, colour, and excitement to the spectator crowds and proved to be one the Games’ most successful features.

Assistance for the Australian Paralympic Team - In addition to funding athlete preparation, the Commonwealth Government provided significant assistance to the Australian Paralympic Committee for the team costs of the Sydney Games. It contributed $550,000 to the Australian Paralympic Committee to cover the cost of fees for the Australian Paralympic team to enter the Games. Another $150,000 was made available to the International Paralympic Committee’s Solidarity Fund to help National Paralympic Committees from less well off countries send their athletes to the Paralympic Games.

Olympic Aid - The Government announced a donation of $1.5 million to Olympic Aid on the final day of the Sydney Olympics. It made the donation in recognition of the of the importance of the work of Olympic Aid, a charity founded by Olympic gold-medallist Johann Koss, in raising funds to assist people, especially children, in need. Olympic Aid also raised funds during the Sydney Olympics through public donations and internet auctions of memorabilia donated by high-profile athletes. Part of the money raised went to the 2000 Appeal for Sport Relief, which aims to introduce sport to refugee camps, in conjunction with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), through visits from Olympic athletes, training local coaches, providing equipment and rebuilding playing areas. The remainder went to expand the ASC’s Indigenous Sports Programme and to Australian charities, including the Patrick Rafter Cherish the Children Foundation, the Goolagong Sport Library, the Leukaemia Foundation and Children’s Cancer Institute.



Sydney and the interstate Olympic venues remained a safe and secure environment during the Games. This is a testament to the stability of Australia’s society and the fact that Australia is geographically isolated as an island state, resulting in a low threat environment. Australians expect security to be comprehensive and effective but unobtrusive, and the security measures for the Games reflected this and the country’s geo-political circumstances.

The NSW Police Service had primary responsibility for security for the Games. However, the Commonwealth Government supported it in areas where it has national responsibilities or unique capabilities, including: national security and intelligence; border control; aviation security; coordination of counter-terrorism response; coordination of dignitary protection; assistance from the ADF; and, some aspects of law enforcement. Commonwealth agencies worked closely with the NSW Police on Games security planning and with police services in other States and the Australian Capital Territory hosting Olympic football venues. All jurisdictions at the State and Commonwealth level used ‘best practice’ risk management process to model and develop their Games security overlay.

Olympic Security Working Committee

Major security policy issues requiring coordination between NSW and the Commonwealth were dealt with by the Olympic Security Working Committee (OSWC). The Committee was chaired by the NSW Police Commissioner and involved senior representatives from the Task Force, OCA, SOCOG, ORTA and SPOC with Defence and the Attorney-General’s Department also attending as observers. Matters were often progressed through on-going ad-hoc contact between the Task Force and the NSW Police Olympic Security Command Centre, a process greatly assisted by the placement of a Commonwealth liaison officer in the Centre from early 1998. This, and other forms of extensive personal contact between Commonwealth and NSW officials involved in security preparations for the Games, were instrumental in promoting understanding and in diffusing emerging difficulties. The experience of the Games was to emphasise the vital importance of developing productive interpersonal working relationships across the security domain.

National Security Intelligence

In response to the Games, the Australian national intelligence community reinforced and strengthened its existing domestic and international intelligence arrangements, including establishing closer collaboration with our major allies. The use of overseas intelligence partners’ expertise and their support in intelligence exchange was critical to managing such a large event.

During the Games, security intelligence advice was provided by the multi-agency Federal Olympic Security Intelligence Centre (FOSIC) staffed by the Attorney-General’s portfolio and other Commonwealth personnel. Establishing a single point of contact for the tasking and provision of security intelligence was effective and reduced confusion and duplication of effort. The arrangements allowed the Attorney-General’s portfolio to meet the requirements of Commonwealth Ministers, other agencies and of the Police Services.

Border Control

Australia’s border control arrangements were rigorous. Special arrangements were put in place so that character and security checks were carried out on all proposed Olympic and Paralympic family members prior to their accreditation by the organising committees, which was a different approach to that of previous Games host countries. This minimised the number of people with unfounded expectations of being allowed to enter Australia and simplified border clearance.

The Commonwealth Government gave due consideration to the special circumstances of the Games and allowed some athletes of character concern to enter, where in normal circumstances they would have been refused, and it also protected the Australian community by refusing entry to two persons of particular concern. The Commonwealth was careful in its management of this matter and used a high-level inter-departmental entry advisory group to provide comprehensive advice to Ministers that took full account of all circumstances including the context of the Games.

Aviation Security

For reasons of security, it was desirable to restrict access to certain areas of airspace during the Games. Implementing the restrictions raised a number of issues that took considerable effort to address. Under its governing legislation, Airservices Australia can declare restricted airspace only for reasons of safety, efficiency and the environment. It may not do so for reasons of security. For the Games, the NSW government introduced its own legislation to restrict airspace above Olympic venues. This was done to protect its sponsors and to maintain security. The legislation allowed for fines of up to $250,000 to be imposed and the airspace was regulated by OCA, with Airservices Australia using its incidental functions to warn aircraft of possible breaches and the NSW Police undertaking enforcement action.

Security at Sydney Airport received considerable Commonwealth attention. After the completion of major construction work in June, the Department of Transport and Regional Services conducted a security audit and identified and oversaw the introduction of treatment options needed to bring security to an appropriate level. Around this time an incident, which saw an intruder enter an aircraft, reinforced the need for a strong security focus on the airport.

Australia’s longstanding policy of not allowing armed aviation security personnel (‘sky marshals’) on flights into the country was maintained for the Games. The Government indicated to other governments that it was prepared to consider requests for sky marshals on Olympic Games-related flights based on risk managing a specific threat circumstance. No such requests were made.

Carriage of Weapons Policy

Australia also has a long-standing policy prohibiting foreign security personnel from carrying firearms within its borders. In large part, this policy reflects concern that armed foreign security personnel may react differently from Australian police who are used to Australia’s relatively benign threat environment, placing dignitaries and the Australian public at risk. An extensive campaign by Commonwealth and State agencies, particularly the Protective Security Coordination Centre and the NSW Police Service, to educate visiting dignitaries, their security personnel, and Olympic teams on Australia’s policy prohibiting foreign security personnel from carrying firearms was successful. An incident involving the import of anti-ballistic vests and holsters by Israeli security personnel does not lessen this assessment. The value of Australia’s policy in this area was clearly demonstrated in managing the close personal protection of dignitaries and athletes during the Games.

Chemical, Biological and Radiological Response

For the first time Australian jurisdictions, and especially NSW and the Commonwealth, considered and established coordinated emergency response mechanisms to deal with a substantial Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) incident. This included valuable input from fire brigades, police and ambulance services and the involvement of health agencies at the Commonwealth and State level. These developments reflected both the recognition of emerging trends in politically-motivated violence and the need to manage risk in the particular circumstances of the Games where an incident would have potentially disastrous consequences.

Progress was initially slow in establishing these CBR response mechanisms and required a concerted effort to bring together crisis and consequence management arrangements (2) in dealing with an incident. The use of desk-top exercises or work-shops facilitated by ‘an honest broker’, in this case the Task Force, were an invaluable means of promoting understanding of the issues, especially the fundamental point that CBR threats need to be handled from the outset as a criminal matter.

Capability development in this field involves long lead-times, making it difficult to respond to changes in the threat environment. Defence began planning in early 1997 to develop a world-class capability to assist States, should their initial response capacity be exceeded. This capability continues to be available, albeit on a reduced scale.

Defence Support

Defence support for the Games required the development of a number of other new capabilities, the mobilisation, as already mentioned, of a significant force (5,500 personnel) and extensive engagement with a wide range of Olympic, Commonwealth, State and overseas organisations. The NSW Police Service was particularly appreciative of the support provided by Defence in low-risk bomb search, clearance divers and rotary wing support.

Meeting Defence commitments to the Games and to other operational commitments required very close management. Defence maintained a balance between its operations by being committed to providing security and other critical support to the Games, while its non-critical support was provided subject to other operational requirements. Defence established operational and strategic positions for planning from late 1996. Closer to the Games a joint Task Force (Operation Gold) was formed to deliver the support on the ground. These arrangements were pivotal in the overall development, planning and implementation of Defence support.

The use of Reserve Forces was critical to the success of Defence support. Had they not been available, additional permanent Defence Force personnel would have had to be drawn from other activities to the detriment of concurrent operations.

Audits of Commonwealth Security Preparations

In 1998 the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) tabled in the Australian Parliament its report titled Commonwealth Agencies’ Security Preparations for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. An external audit at an intermediate stage of developing the Commonwealth’s security preparations for the Games proved to be of great benefit. The overall conclusion of the audit that ‘security planning to date [had] generally been effective but there [was] scope for improvement in respect of specific issues’ provided both a measure of confidence and a focus for future planning. Of note, the report particularly welcomed the (then) recent establishment of the Task Force, regarding it as a significant step in facilitating a consolidated Commonwealth approach to key policy and planning aspects and in monitoring their subsequent implementation. The report can be found at http:/

About one year after the ANAO audit and a little over one year out from the Games, the Task Force recognised that it was timely to further review the Commonwealth’s security preparations for the Games and to identify any scope for improvement in sufficient time for any necessary changes to be made. The review was an internal review. It involved each agency assessing and documenting in a background paper its progress in security preparations and its views on any issues to be addressed. The background papers were discussed at a high-level meeting of Commonwealth agencies and key NSW clients in late July 1999 and the consolidated outcome informed higher level reporting to government. Once again a whole-of-government assessment of the status of Commonwealth security preparations for the Games proved to be a most valuable tool. Three issues requiring close attention were identified and appropriate resources directed to address them. In the final run-up to the Games, some six months out, these three issues were the subject of a final and very focussed review to ensure the relevant arrangements were in place.

Games National Anti-Terrorist Exercises

Australia’s national anti-terrorist arrangements are well practised with two major National Anti-Terrorist Exercises (NATEXs) held each year under the auspices of the Standing Advisory Committee on Commonwealth/State Cooperation for Protection Against Violence (SAC-PAV), a body involving relevant State/Territory and Commonwealth agencies dealing with law enforcement and security across all Australian jurisdictions. SAC-PAV agreed that the final three NATEXs in the run up to September 2000 be held in Sydney with a Games focus. This proved to be an important decision.

In a most noticeable fashion, the exercises allowed for the promotion of understanding and cooperation between the NSW and Commonwealth agencies that would be delivering security on the ground in Sydney, the refinement of procedures and guidelines to resolve a major security incident and the testing of procedures related to the use of new capabilities being put in place in time for the Games. Particular attention was paid to media management and public information coordination arrangements leading to a more operational focus and a tightening of reporting lines on the Commonwealth side. Media arrangements between the Commonwealth and NSW were also refined through the exercise process with the aim of speaking publicly with one voice if there was a major security incident.

Another beneficial feature of these NATEX exercises was the strong participation by Commonwealth and NSW Ministers which allowed for a strengthening of the Commonwealth’s arrangements to support the higher level decision-making processes in the event of a major incident, especially one requiring the use of the Defence Force.

Defence Force Aid to the Civil Authorities

Close to the Games, amendments to the Defence Act 1903 were passed through the Australian Parliament and into law that clarified the powers of the Defence Force should the Commonwealth decide it needed to assist a State or Territory in the event of domestic violence. The amendments gave the Commonwealth a more robust legislative basis from which to act and provided the Defence Force with a much firmer footing in relation to the exercise of powers for different tasks. The legislation was seen as necessary to have in place for the longer term, but especially in time for the Games because of the greater risks involved.

Building Confidence

Throughout its security preparations for the Games, the Commonwealth was aware that overseas perceptions of Australia’s readiness, particularly amongst countries with difficult national security circumstances, was a most important issue in terms of building confidence and managing expectations. It was necessary to ensure that such countries understood Australia’s constitutional and legislative arrangements relating to law and order, and that they had confidence in Commonwealth and State, especially NSW, authorities meeting their responsibilities in the circumstances of the Sydney 2000 Games. The NSW Police Service and key Commonwealth security agencies, on both a joint and an agency-by-agency basis, pursued an active strategy to this end, which involved a number of high-level face-to-face exchanges here and overseas.

International Major Event Security Conference

A further opportunity to build confidence with overseas nations was provided in the form of a conference focussed on handling security at major international events. The conference was funded by the US Federal Law Enforcement Training Centre and jointly hosted by the Secretary of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department and the NSW Commissioner of Police. Held in September 1999, the conference was well attended by senior representatives of the national and international security and intelligence community. It covered global trends in security issues as they might relate to major events, the experiences of others in hosting such events with a significant security dimension and security preparations for the Sydney 2000 Games.



In 1997 the Commonwealth agreed to provide $6 million to Austrade (the Australian Trade Commission) to undertake trade and investment promotion related to Australia’s hosting of the Sydney 2000 Games. Combining early thinking from the NSW-founded Olympic Business Roundtable (OBRT) with lessons learnt from the Australian Trade Promotion conducted at the 1996 Atlanta Games, Austrade constructed a matrix of business programmes aimed at boosting long-term trade and investment and showcasing Australia as a desirable place to do business.

Austrade co-chaired the Olympic Business Roundtable Officers Forum, a body established to harness the capacity of all State and Territory governments and key Commonwealth agencies to develop cooperative methods to exploit the massive attention that hosting the Games afforded Australia. This group agreed to a multi-layered approach to the marketing of Australia as a place for business and agreed to use a common brand, Australia Open for Business, for this purpose. The approach aimed to convey messages about the sophistication of Australia’s economy and industries as well as generating interest in specific business programmes.

The brand was launched in April 1998 and rolled out through the global network of Austrade and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). It established new business imagery to represent Australia, using video, website and print materials. The brand identity was built around the ‘wow factor’ – the elements of Australian business by which people may be excited and was defined with the help of a group of business leaders. While the umbrella brand was used to portray a general and compelling picture of Australian industry, a range of underlying business programmes were constructed to target specific audiences.

Business Club Australia

Business Club Australia was the key business programme for the Australia Open for Business campaign. The concept was to create a global networking club that would harness the details of international business people, including those visiting Sydney for the Games, and facilitate new business connections for Australian and international business people. This occurred in two ways. First, in a virtual sense through the Club maintaining a membership database and the functionality to enable members to search for, and communicate with, other members and use a range of on-line services. Second, at Games-time the Club offered a state of the art business centre and a special business event programme to facilitate face-to-face connections.

The business centre was built around the showpiece of a 98 metre catamaran from International Catamarans, located at a prime Olympic site at Wharf 7 in Darling Harbour. The INCAT provided many desirable function venues affording great scope to host a range of business activities, attract and juggle many visitors and create an interesting and exciting place to be. The Club was also used as the focal point for high-level meetings during the Games by some 400 politicians and other dignitaries.

The special business event programme was created to facilitate face-to-face functions between Australian and international business people at Games time, while promoting key messages about Australian industry. From 15 September to 1 October there were daily breakfast, lunch, dinner and two networking sessions and a happy hour. The programme was built around different industries and designed so that hosting agencies would take responsibility for content and attendance. Host targets were Club partners, government agencies, industry associations and Olympic sponsors.

By November 2000, a substantial and high-calibre database of over 15,000 business contacts had been established. This is an impressive product for partners to assimilate into their core business. Some $20 million in new exports has already been achieved through the Club’s virtual activity. On a national level, a strong connection has been made with the host and bid cities of other future events.

Investment 2000

Investment 2000 was a unique investment attraction programme that used off-shore events followed by group visits to Australia to encourage multinational companies to invest in Australia as part of their Asia-Pacific activities. The Commonwealth co-funded the programme with the NSW government, Telstra and Westpac Banking Corporation. The programme undertook 50 briefings to 2,000 targets overseas, managed 300 visits and generated $520 million plus 1,100 jobs through new investments by 39 companies. A further 30-40 investments are still under consideration. A feature of the programme involved the accurate targeting of potential new investors from non-traditional sectors.

Trade Visitors – Australia 2000

Initiated and funded solely by the Commonwealth, Trade Visitors –Australia 2000 sought to identify and bring to Australia 50 high-potential international buyers. The visitors were involved in high-level business meetings, hospitality and non-business events and were provided with complimentary membership of Business Club Australia. Games-time visitors had access to Commonwealth tickets for events and to sponsored accommodation. While this programme was logistically challenging, it was highly successful in terms of its approach and business outcomes. By the end of April 2001, 48 visits had been completed with $350 million confirmed in new exports or investments.

Australia Sport International

Australia Sport International was established by the Sports Export Advisory Council in late 1997 to promote Australia’s sports industry under the spotlight of the Sydney 2000 Games. Australia Sport International is a subscriber-based company and assists clients in their global promotion and in securing international contracts. The company used the Sydney 2000 Games as a natural showcase for the Australian sports industry and is now working to secure contracts for the 2004 Athens Games. The company is 60 per cent self-funded and to date, has secured 85 subscribers, in turn generating $13 million dollars in new exports with a further $100 million under consideration.

Directory of Contractors to the 2000 Games

An on-line directory providing details of the Australian companies involved in the infrastructure and management of the Sydney 2000 Games was brought together as an export–marketing vehicle for these industries. The directory, a world first for an Olympic host, was a successful venture between Austrade, OCA, SOCOG, the Industrial Supplies Office and Australia Sport International. As at April 2001, the directory had captured a total listing of some 300 companies, or almost all of the Australian contractors to the Sydney 2000 Games.

Australian Technology Showcase

The Australian Technology Showcase (ATS) was established under the auspices of the OBRT and managed by the NSW government. Intended as an on-line showcase of innovative Australian companies, most State and Territory governments are now partners with NSW in this initiative. It was launched nationally in April 2001. It is intended that the ATS will continue into the future as a centrepiece of Australian innovation promotion. In the context of the Games a number of highly effective networking events were held. By 30 April 2001, some $210 million in new export business had flowed from the ATS. Currently, the ATS houses over 300 participants.


While the impact of the Games on tourism will take some time to play out, it should be noted that in 1999-2000 visitor arrivals grew by around 8.5 per cent. Preliminary arrivals figures for September 2000 show 406,500 international visitors to Australia, or some 15 per cent higher than September 1999. In the year to April 2001 preliminary figures indicated that visitor arrival numbers were 9.5 per cent higher than in the same period to April 2000. The outlook is strong with around 23.9 million international visitors forecast between 2001 and 2004.

The Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) has estimated that alliances with Olympic sponsors generated additional publicity for Australia in 1999-2000 alone which at commercial rates would have cost over $100 million. Indeed, in the four years prior to the Games, the $12 million allocated by the Commonwealth Government to the ATC for Games-related promotional activity delivered the equivalent of $3.8 billion in publicity for Australia.

The IOC has provided another insight into the achievements of the Commonwealth in this area by commenting that Australia’s strategy to take full advantage of the Games to pursue vigorously tourism is one that other countries could emulate. The IOC particularly noted that the Commonwealth’s programme will benefit the whole of Australia.



The Commonwealth paid particular attention to ensure that the experience of government dignitaries visiting the Games would be favourable and promote the national interest by deepening Australia’s international relationships. Under IOC protocols, a Games organising committee has more of an obligation to cater for the needs of members of the IOC and the heads of International Sporting Federations (ISFs) than Heads of State and Heads of Government. With this in mind, a joint planning mechanism for dignitary handling was put in place for Sydney. The Commonwealth worked with SOCOG and other NSW agencies in relation to policy formulation and operational planning, including agreeing on a division of responsibilities for categories of dignitaries. The Commonwealth was responsible principally for visiting Heads of State and Government and Royalty representing Heads of State and a number of other senior government representatives at the political level.

Commonwealth support and hospitality was focussed on facilitation through Sydney Airport, a major reception, a series of bilateral talks, lunches and dinners, hosting attendance at Games events in its corporate boxes at the Olympic Stadium and the SuperDome, and the provision of transport where the Commonwealth was involved in extending hospitality or a service. This approach worked well, although uncertainty over the number of dignitaries attending sometimes resulted in practical outcomes that the Commonwealth regarded as less than optimal.

Overall, a good level of service was provided for Commonwealth guests. Ground transport for visiting dignitaries and guests was efficient. The Commonwealth’s transport requirements were delivered by Comcar working alongside the NSW government and ORTA using an integrated system that made the most of combined resources. An on-the-spot coordination group at Sydney Airport ensured that dignitaries passing through were afforded an appropriate level of facilitation, hospitality and support. Convened by the airport operator, the group included PM&C, DFAT, Customs, Comcar, NSW Premier’s Department, SOCOG/SPOC and ORTA.

The Commonwealth’s use of its leased hospitality boxes proved highly effective over both Games with 97 per cent of places being filled. Nevertheless, it took a significant effort to achieve this in the face of many dignitaries not signalling their intention to visit until very late, the competition for potential guests from corporate and other sponsors, and some dignitaries choosing not to visit Australia because of the travel distance and time involved.

The Commonwealth suspended its Guest of Government programme during the Games meaning all visits from international dignitaries were essentially private. This, in turn, required that the levels of expectation of facilitation had to be carefully managed, particularly in light of the IOC protocols. The Commonwealth recognised the need for early and regular contact, including a series of formal briefings, with the diplomatic and consular community to provide clear advice on the level of facilitation and support that could be expected.

Favourable comments have been received on the dignitary and guest facilitation programme from visiting foreign dignitaries, either directly or through the Australian post in their home countries, for the arrangements afforded them and on Australia’s hosting the Games more broadly. Moreover, a high degree of satisfaction has been expressed on the part of the resident diplomatic and consular corps for the extensive briefings provided and the assistance extended by the Commonwealth, particularly by DFAT.



In early 1999 the Commonwealth Government approved the development of whole-of-government media arrangements to ensure that the Commonwealth’s contribution to the success of the Games and its strategy for Australia to derive maximum benefit from the Sydney 2000 Games were well publicised and understood. The Commonwealth anticipated that the media, inclusive of international and local, rights-holding, accredited and unaccredited, would play a significant role in shaping the world’s impression of Australia based on their experience of the Sydney Games. As mentioned previously, the Commonwealth recognised that a major lesson of the Atlanta Games was the necessity to anticipate the needs of the media to maximise positive exposure and minimise negative reporting. A whole-of-government approach to media issues management, and a collaborative relationship with Games organisers and the NSW government, were also considered vital to achieving a good outcome.

A key element of the Commonwealth’s collaborative relationship with the NSW government was the joint sponsorship of the Sydney Media Centre at Darling Harbour for the unaccredited media. The Centre provided logistic and other support and acted as a focal meeting and connection point for the international press who were in Australia to cover the Games from a wider perspective than the sporting events. This ‘hands-on’ approach to facilitating the role of the unaccredited media assisted greatly in the Commonwealth’s media management arrangements.

The Task Force coordinated the development and implementation of the Games’ overlay to the Commonwealth’s media coordination plans. The Games 2000 Media Unit was established in the Task Force in October 1999 as a means to link policy coordination processes with media coordination and issues management. The director of the Games Media Unit also acted as the Commonwealth’s spokesperson for the Sydney 2000 Games to provide information on a background basis and official comment to the media as appropriate.

From the time the Media Unit was established progress was made in better communicating the considerable contribution the Commonwealth was making to the staging of the Games and its strategy for maximising the benefits from their staging. The spokesperson made a number of speeches and media interviews. The Unit also produced print feature material on aspects of the Commonwealth Government’s involvement for use by regional media. However, most media attention was, naturally, focussed on the Games organisers. It was therefore difficult for the Unit, with limited resources, to engage in major promotional activity at the same time as establishing networks to coordinate adverse event handling arrangements. With hindsight, it would have been useful for the Media Unit to have been established earlier. As it was, the Unit had less than a year from its establishment to the commencement of the Olympics. If established earlier, the Unit could have taken more advantage of promotional opportunities available through cooperation with other agencies, for example, working with DFAT to use foreign posts to inform overseas journalists of the Commonwealth’s role in, and objectives for, the Games.

The Commonwealth enjoyed a good deal more success in coordinating its media information and issues management efforts. The all-of-government media coordination served the Commonwealth well, as did the cross-jurisdictional, cross-agency approach to media management at the time of the Games. The Unit produced a whole-of-government directory of Commonwealth media and other contacts at official and ministerial level. The process of putting this network together proved to be of great benefit, providing ownership, while encouraging collaboration and enhancing cooperation. Critical media stories or those with the potential to distract public attention from the success of the Games were handled swiftly by media networking processes involving Commonwealth and NSW agencies. This is not to say that the media coordination arrangements worked perfectly every time. There will always be circumstances where, for reasons of information flow breakdown or competing agendas, some misalignment of messages being sent to the public from agencies in different spheres of government will occur. In the context of the overwhelming media attention on the Games, which at times can reach proportions of frenzy, this is an area where considerable resources and effort need to be directed.

In terms of Games’ security matters, the Media Unit provided support to the Attorney-General who was responsible for all public comment by the Commonwealth. While this role was not originally envisaged, it became clear soon after the Unit’s establishment that this type of resource needed to be directed to the coordination of the Commonwealth’s media management for issues relating to Games security. A working group of media officers from Commonwealth agencies with a security role in the Games, including Defence and the Attorney-Generals’ Department, was set up under the auspices of the Media Unit. Under this arrangement, the Media Unit worked to ensure media protocols and standard operating procedures were in place across Commonwealth agencies and with the NSW Police Service’s media unit. The practice of the Media Unit supporting the Attorney-General as the Commonwealth spokesperson on Games’ security matters worked well. This experience suggests a whole-of-government coordinated input for a lead office to manage key information flows to the public and the media should be built into the media management model for future national events with a significant security dimension.

Importantly, the Media Unit produced about 170 media issues handling briefs, cleared with agencies and ministerial offices, as a basis for action. The briefs were then issued on CD ROM and in hard copy form to press secretaries, media liaison officers and key policy and operational officials. This extremely valuable resource was well used by the Media Unit and the Task Force, as well as by Ministers and senior officials on appropriate occasions. The preparation of these briefs also engendered critical examination of the public information products for Commonwealth programmes and policies and resulted in some useful modifications.

A Games Media web-site, launched in March 2000, provided contact details for the Media Unit, general information about the Commonwealth’s contribution to the Games and links to other Commonwealth agencies’ Games-related sites. During the Games, the site was updated daily on Commonwealth activities and announcements. By mid- November 2000, there had been nearly 28,000 unique visits to the site, including substantial numbers from overseas, particularly the United States. The web-site proved a cost-effective method of disseminating information about the Commonwealth’s support for the Games.

In addition the web-site was a potential crisis information site in the event of a major security incident, natural disaster or health-related incident, to provide factual up-to-date information to journalists and media outlets from around the world. It was not needed in this role but this requirement had been clearly demonstrated as part of the major lessons learnt from the counter-terrorist exercises held in the run-up to the Games. With hindsight, it is not clear that the site and other information technology arrangements put in place to handle the volume of public and media inquiries in the event of a major incident at the Games would have proved sufficiently robust and responsive. Careful consideration of treatment options as part of risk managing this potential problem is warranted for the staging of future Games.



As part of monitoring and assessing the Commonwealth’s activities in support of the Games, Commonwealth agencies reported Games-related expenditure on both a full and additional cost basis. Briefly, additional costs were those incurred solely as a consequence of undertaking Games-specific activities and excluded those costs which would have been incurred even if Games-related activity had not been carried out.

Approximately $494 million was allocated through the Commonwealth Budget to allow agencies to develop capacities they would not otherwise possess and to assist NSW for specific purposes that were vital to the success of the Games. Concessions in the form of charges or taxes foregone totalled some $60 million and agencies absorbed from their own funding a further $106 million. These additional costs in total amounted to $660 million.

Full costs were the total cost of Games-related activities, and cover such things as the resources and salaries of all personnel used for Games-related tasks, even if, had the Games not occurred, the agency would still have incurred that cost. All additional costs are a component of full costs. Some full costs were Budget funded, while others were either absorbed by the agencies or were planned expenditure brought forward. In addition to the $660 million mentioned above, agencies’ other full costs were in excess of $480 million, with Defence being the main contributor. On a full cost basis the Commonwealth contributed over $1.1 billion in support of the Games. The table at Appendix I provides details as at November 2000.



As a result of the stunning success of the Sydney Games, Australia is now more widely perceived internationally as an open, able, sophisticated and technologically advanced nation. Australia has started to reap trade, business investment and tourism opportunities and is positioned to maintain this momentum. Australia’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes have been feted by the Australian public for their outstanding achievements. The international media, particularly many of the leading print institutions, have painted a highly favourable picture of Australian society and the know-how of its people. Reports from overseas posts reflect acclaim and a highly positive disposition to Australia. Australia continues to enjoy the reputation of having a relatively benign security environment and being a safe country to visit.

The Games have also provided a legacy at the practical level. Sydney Airport has proven to be capable of handling consistently heavy traffic loads in a highly effective fashion. The Games have engendered a much better understanding and appreciation of the mutual benefits of close cooperation. Relationships across Commonwealth, State and overseas agencies have strengthened and can be built upon further for the future.

The Commonwealth has a more sophisticated approach to the coordination of domestic national security policy at both officials and ministerial levels. As a result of the amendments to the Defence Act 1903 to enable the utilisation of the Defence Force in assisting civilian authorities, the Defence Force now stands on a firmer footing in terms of tasking as part of being called out to support the authorities in responding to a terrorist threat. Most importantly, the Commonwealth has a tested model to manage effectively across the board the multi-faceted aspects of being involved in staging a major international event. This model, adapted as appropriate, will serve the Commonwealth well for upcoming events such as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Brisbane in October 2001 and the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006.

Appendix I

Cost of the Commonwealth’s Contribution to the Sydney 2000 Games


Commonwealth Assistance

$ million

Commonwealth Contribution for Sydney Bid


Grant to NSW Government for Games facilities


Grant to NSW Government to relocate Sydney Showgrounds


Athlete Preparation (Olympic and Paralympic)


Commonwealth and New South Wales Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for certain services, including boxes and tickets.


Projected Paralympic (SPOC) Deficit

up to 25.0

Additional financial assistance to the Paralympics (SPOC budget)


Health Care for Olympic and Paralympic Families


Drug Research – Australian Government Analytical Laboratories


Drug Testing – Australian Sports Drug Agency


Oceania Leg of the Torch Relay


Assistance for Paralympic Torch Relay


Subsidy for school children and grant to Australian Paralympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee


Donation to Olympic Aid


Assistance to Pacific Island Countries


Olympic Business Opportunities Unit (Department of Industry, Science & Resources and Australian Business Chamber)


Security –AFP, ASIO, PSCC and DFAT


Customs and AQIS border activities


Overseas visitor information campaign


Games-related media activities (including the unaccredited media centre)


Promoting Australia overseas (DFAT, Austrade & the ATC)



up to 493.6

Additional costs absorbed by agencies:

Defence support and security


Other non-security




Revenue Foregone:

Goods & Services Tax rebate to SOCOG, SPOC and AOC on ticket sales

up to 50.0

Tax exemptions to the IOC

4.0 – 5.0

Concessional rental on Defence facilities

up to 5.0


up to 60.0

Total Additional Costs

up to 660

Further Full Costs


Total Full Costs

up to 1,141

Appendix II

Glossary of Acronyms


Australian Defence Force


Australian Institute of Sport


Australian National Audit Office


Australian Olympic Committee


Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service


Australian Sports Commission


Australian Taxation Office


Australian Tourist Commission


Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting


Chemical, Biological and Radiological


Chief Executive Officer


Australian Customs Service


Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs




Federal Olympic Security Intelligence Centre


International Olympic Committee


Memorandum of Understanding


National Anti-Terrorist Exercise


National Security Committee of Cabinet


New South Wales


Olympic Athlete Programme


Olympic Business Roundtable


Olympic Coordination Authority


Olympic Roads and Transport Authority


Olympic Security Working Committee


Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


Protective Security Coordination Centre


Standing Advisory Committee on Commonwealth/State Cooperation for Protection Against Violence


Sydney Olympic Broadcasting Organisation


Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games


Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee


World Anti-Doping Agency

(1) Telstra is a major Australian public telecommunications company in which the Commonwealth Government is the majority shareholder.

(2) Crisis management refers to the handling of an incident from a security perspective, while consequence management refers to the role played by emergency services agencies handling the consequences of an incident.

Downloadable Versions
The Australian Government and the Sydney 2000 Games
The Australian Government and the Sydney 2000 Games


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