21 August 2017

Opposition questions McGowan’s rugby try

Shadow Minister for Sport John McGrath says he fully supports all moves to keep the Western Force in the Australian Rugby Union competition but has questioned the State Government’s commitment to do the same.

Mr McGrath said the State Government had been scathing in its criticism of the Road Safety Commission’s $1.5 million sponsorship deal to help promote and improve road safety in WA.

“I have no doubt Australian Rugby Union took note of the McGowan Government’s attacks on the that sponsorship deal when it was making its decision on whether to cut Western Force from the national competition,” Mr McGrath said.

“The Premier, the Treasurer and the Minister for Road Safety all attacked that sponsorship and made it quite clear that the funds were not guaranteed beyond the one-year deal negotiated by the former Government.

“Further, Premier McGowan referred the sponsorship deal to the Langoulant Commission of Inquiry, and Treasurer Ben Wyatt said the former Government had ‘somehow concocted a case’ for the deal.”

Mr McGrath said the sponsorship deal with the Road Safety Commission included naming rights, jersey branding, match day signage, advertising, and created an opportunity to highlight a range of issues which contribute to road trauma in WA.

"Sporting partnerships like this have the capacity to reach those men aged 19 to 59 who are disproportionately represented in Western Australia’s serious and fatal crashes," Mr McGrath said

“The Government’s vicious opposition to a sponsorship deal that was in fact a win-win for both the Western Force and road safety in this state makes Premier McGowan’s current words of support for Western Force sound very hollow.”

Mr McGrath said he also thought it was unlikely the State Government’s planned legal action against ARU would see the Western Force reinstated to the competition.

“For the Western Force to get back into the competition the decision has to be reversed within months,” he said.

“Legal action takes longer than that and while it may get the Government some funds it’s not likely to save the Western Force.”

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