Major Events Legislation Amendment (Ticket Scalping and Other Matters) Bill 2017

Written on the 8 May 2018

8 May 2018

COUNCIL 

Second reading 

GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)

 

 

I am pleased to follow on from Mr Finn's excellent contribution in relation to the legislation we are debating today, the Major Events Legislation Amendment (Ticket Scalping and Other Matters) Bill 2017. According to the information that I have in relation to what this bill will do, it will change the name of the Major Sporting Events Act 2009, amend the Major Sporting Events Act 2009 to provide for controlling the secondary ticket market for major sporting and cultural events, repeal the Tourism Victoria Act 1992 and make transitional arrangements. Basically ticket scalping is what this bill addresses

Honourable members interjecting.

 

The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Elasmar) Order! Thank you. The member to continue.

Ms CROZIER We are talking about a pretty simple bill here, yet we have interjections by a senior member of the government on the most inane

Honourable members interjecting.

 

Ms CROZIER I will say it again: we are talking about a fairly simple bill on ticket scalping. What that means is the ripping off of an individual who is buying a ticket to an event here in Melbourne. We have many events that we are very proud of, including the AFL Grand Final, as Mr Finn highlighted in his contribution. That is a massive event that brings people from around the state and around the country in their thousands. It provides just such an extraordinary cultural and sporting activity for this state. There is nothing like it in the world. I will reflect on just the last few weeks and the Anzac Day game between Collingwood and Essendon, an iconic day where you had total silence around that ground when that game started. It is quite magnificent to be able to go to a game like that. I am a Geelong supporter; I do not barrack for Collingwood, Essendon or, dare I say it, Richmond, but you go to those games, and especially on Anzac Day and during the grand final the entire arena, the stadium, is absolutely spellbound by what is about to happen. The atmosphere is quite electric. It really is a huge credit to all involved to bring on such sporting events. You want people to be able to go to an event like that and be able to pay their way in a legitimate manner.

While I am talking about that, we have so many other sporting, cultural and theatrical events that occur in Victoria each and every year. As I said before I was interrupted by those opposite, this bill does a few simple things to ensure that we get these scalpers out of the system. They are ripping off the consumer. I note you, Mr Finn, made mention of rorting. It is pretty similar ripping off the consumer or rorting the system. It is taking advantage of someone and should not be allowed to occur. Clearly we have seen that in a systematic way under this government. We all know that, and it is in the papers again today.

But I return to the bill. Scalpers have effectively been operating for far too long. What this bill will do is bring them into line. There will be new authorised ticketing officers acting a bit like police officers, I am led to understand, who will be able to monitor various aspects in relation to the selling or reselling of tickets. In saying that, there are probably a few concerns around how that will be monitored and undertaken and how they will actually be able to identify what will now be illegal activities. The section in the bill that highlights this particular area provides that the authorised officer must believe on reasonable grounds that scalping activity is occurring or that someone is about to commit an offence. That will be very difficult to monitor and will be something that the government and others will have to monitor as this piece of legislation is implemented.

As Mr Finn reminded me, some very notable events occur throughout this state. He referred to the late Ron Walker's passing and the legacy that he left this state. If I can reflect on what Ron Walker brought to the state, in a bipartisan manner he acted on behalf of Victoria and all Victorians in promoting what we have to offer to the world. He did that with such grace and such commitment that I think his legacy is one that we and all future generations will benefit from. I will just reflect on some of the things that Ron Walker did when he was part of the Victorian Major Events Company. As announced by the shadow Treasurer, Michael O'Brien, last Friday, I am pleased to say that an incoming Liberal-Nationals government will reinstate the Victorian Major Events Company, which was scrapped by this current government. It was an extraordinary decision to place it within Visit Victoria yet another bureaucracy, yet another effort to try to blow the public sector pool of employees, which they are very good at doing, as we saw in last week's budget.

Nevertheless I go back to the legacy of the late Ron Walker. He was responsible for bringing in the Formula One Grand Prix, White Night, the Presidents Cup, Liverpool Football Club versus Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park, the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces at the National Gallery of Victoria, the Grace Kelly exhibition in Bendigo, State of Origin rugby league at the MCG, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Wicked and The Book of Mormon. Those are just a few of the extraordinary events that were secured and brought to this state, with huge benefits for all involved. It is an extraordinary legacy and an extraordinary variety of theatre, sporting and cultural activities not only for metropolitan Melbourne but also for the regions.

The Grace Kelly exhibition in Bendigo was a wonderful exhibition, which I had the privilege to go to. I took my family to see it. It was just wonderful and something I will not forget. Likewise White Night what an extraordinary vision to have. A huge number of people come into the city centre to see that extraordinary transformation of buildings and precincts around the city and surrounding areas. It shows extraordinary ability to put that technical lighting together and provide such an extraordinary display of art, graphics and theatre. All those aspects come with White Night. There are many things that we can proud of. In actual fact many of them are happening in Mr Dalidakis's and my electorate, including the grand prix, as I said, and the National Gallery of Victoria's Winter Masterpieces. All of those things bring great benefits.

Nevertheless this bill looks at scalping, which is already banned, and puts a 10 per cent margin on those who are already making a profit. That will have to be monitored, as I previously mentioned.

The other area that we need to look at is the focus of this government on pouring huge amounts of money into the AFL, where a lot of ticket scalping occurs. There have been recent government announcements such as putting hundreds of millions of dollars into Etihad Stadium to set up a ballroom so that we can hold the Logies there, but that money does not go into grassroots sporting facilities. I know in my area many local community sporting groups have a real concern about this. Local councils have put caps on the number of young people who can take part in these sporting activities, and that is a real concern. We need more grassroots courts, sporting fields and ovals so that we can get more young people and others receiving the benefits of playing sport. I think it is very disappointing that the government's focus is largely concentrated on the AFL, which makes a huge amount of money and has benefited significantly from the Victorian community and interstate football-goers over recent years.

Other areas that have been raised in relation to this bill include, I understand, that the word 'printed' will be changed to 'displayed' in reference to prices on tickets, given that tickets are not always printed by the promoter. Now that we are using technology devices like smart phones and other things, that matter has been taken into consideration.

Clause 10 of the bill changes the illegal activity from selling five or less tickets above face value to selling them for a price that exceeds their face value purchase price by more than 10 per cent, as I have previously referred to. Clause 11 is similar to clause 10, but it applies to the sale of six or more tickets. I have already mentioned the authorised ticketing officers, which is similar to a policing component. I think that will have to be monitored, as I have said previously.

In relation to other areas of the bill, I will not go through them in detail but I will say that, as Mr Finn and others have said, the opposition will not be opposing this bill. I note that some areas will have to be monitored as the bill is implemented. I do hope that those scalpers who have ripped off everyday Victorians and others who want to attend sporting events and other activities can be cracked down on. That can only be a good thing for the sporting community and the other activities that this state has to offer in relation to providing entertainment across various areas.

Motion agreed to.

Read second time.

Committed.


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