28 May 2014
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee
Department of the Senate
PO Box 6100
Canberra ACT 2600
REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION
I write to your office after several communications over the past two months to the Prime Minister's Office, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shadow Minister, local members of Parliament and the Senate, however to no, or no satisfactory avail.
It is with regard to the Commonwealth Government's decision to not commit to a Pavilion at next year's World Exposition in Milano Italy, "Expo 2015", which commences 1 May 2015.
Already more than 150 nations and international organisations have committed to Milan, including our major allies and trading partners the UK, USA, Japan, China, Korea, and most of the developing and developing world.
Participating in the World Exposition fulfills major trade, foreign affairs, and public diplomacy objectives for Australia.
To not be there, is not only a very bad policy decision, but is also an embarrassment by omission.
The Exposition in Milano represents the world's pinnacle public diplomacy, trade and diplomacy opportunity for the 2015-2020 half-decade, not only in terms of to visitors at the Exposition from Milano, Italy, Europe and the rest of the world, but also in terms of international Government and corporate inter-Pavilion networking at the Expo.
Not until Dubai 2020 will Australia have a similar opportunity to wow on the world stage, and this will be presented with a different region, era and theme.
The time to investigate and re-evaluate the Government's very luke-warm response is now - by July at 300 days to go, the decision may well be out of the Government's hands as logistically financially and otherwise it will be too late.
Budgetary pressure is not a good enough reason to not commit to Milano, as DFAT representatives have stated.
The time is now to think 'outside' of the box, and to create a fully-corporate funded Australia Pavilion concept, with Government coordination, similar to the USA Government's USA 2.0 Pavilion initiative.
I ask the Committee to, with post-haste, to investigate why DFAT and the PMC have not investigated promoting a fully-private enterprise funded Pavilion for Australia at Milano 2015, that provides for an alliance of Australian-Italian/European corporations to be presented at Milan in an Australian Pavilion.
With the theme of 'food', a topic universal to all humankind, surely there is no better opportunity for the best of Australia's food and hospitality to be represented in Europe and on the world stage next year.
I look forward to your response.
Tel 0455 488 787