Parliamentary motorsport group officially launched


Supercars driver Cameron Hill, 2022 Australian Rally Championship winner Lewis Bates and five-time Australian Touring Car Championship winner Mark Skaife attended the official launch of the Parliamentary Friends of Motorsport group

The Parliamentary Friends of Motorsport group has been formally launched at a ceremony in Canberra today.

Announced in 2022, the initiative seeks to drive greater support for motorsport in parliament and create bipartisan support for the industry.

The official launch of the group at Parliament House arrives in the week preceding the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship season-opener at the Thrifty Newcastle 500 and was attended by the group’s founders in Federal Member for Forde Bert van Manen and Federal Member for Solomon Luke Gosling OAM,

Also in attendance was five-time Australian Touring Car Champion Mark Skaife OAM, 2022 Australia Rally Championship winner Lewis Bates and Supercars driver Cameron Hill from Truck Assist Racing, the latter two being Canberra natives.

It follows the announcement by the Queensland State Government of a Friends of Motorsport initiative, which was made during the lead up to last year’s Gold Coast 500 event.

“Motorsports are a massive part of Australian life, and we’ve formed this group to promote and grow this exciting sector,” Gosling said.

Van Manen added; “Motorsports have played an intrinsic role in defining Australian culture for decades.

“As the motor racing landscape is set to change dramatically in the coming decade, I’m thrilled to be joined by my colleagues in supporting the development of the sport, particularly at a grassroots level.

“It’s exciting to see the parliament recognise the immense contribution motorsports have made in the lives of so many Australians.”

Motorsport Australia President Andrew Fraser welcomed the formation of the group.

“On behalf of the Australian Motorsport Council the formation of the Parliamentary Friends of Motorsport is a special occasion for everyone who competes, officiates or enjoys motorsport,” Fraser said.

“This group will allow us the opportunity to discuss and raise important topics for consideration at the Federal Government level, including the importance of existing and new permanent motorsport facilities around Australia.

“Motorsport is such an important part of the Australian economy, with the recent EY [Ernst and Young] study highlighting the sport’s total gross output of $8.6 billion every year.

“This year’s Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix will again set a record for the highest attended event in Australia – a shining example of the popularity of the sport that we can build on and use to grow all disciplines and events, particularly at club and state level.

“This week also sees the Repco Supercars Championship begin an exciting new chapter in its history and another big crowd will be in Newcastle ready to cheer some of our best drivers going head-to-head.

“While those national events are important, every weekend there are thousands of competitors and volunteers taking part in motorsport.

“From a club hill climb to a state karting event, or perhaps it’s bikes doing laps on one of the many circuits around the country or a bustling drag racing meet or a well-attended Speedway event – the sport is thriving in 2023.

“We’re very grateful to all members of Federal Parliament for their ongoing support.”

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