The thousands of Games volunteers and workers will be rewarded with special commemorative medals as a tribute to their had work during the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Amid glorious sunshine, a very upbeat 1,500 volunteers, representative of the 15,000 total working at the Games gathered at Federation Square to hear the announcement by the Federal Minister of Sport, Rod Kemp, Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks, and Chairman of the Games Committee, Ron Walker.
A total of 24,000 medals have been struck by the Australian Federal Mint, and will be presented to Games volunteer, athletes, team officials, technical officials, members of the CGF Executive Board and Games staff members.
The commemorative medals are copper with an antique finish. They have been designed by the RAM and Melbourne designer Richard Henderson of R-Co Pty Ltd, the same team that designed the victory medals.
Distribution of the commemorative medals will be undertaken by official Games Sponsor Australia Post.
Announcing the medals today, Victorian Premier Steve Bracks said it followed the Games tradition of giving a keepsake to all who contributed to delivering the Games.
“The volunteers have been outstanding in welcoming visitors and spectators to our cosmopolitan city and this is a permanent way to reward their efforts,” said Mr Bracks.
“At every Games venue and on streets across Melbourne the sea of blue uniforms has been a beacon of help to visitors and locals alike” said Senator Rod Kemp, Federal Minister for the Arts and Sport.
“The volunteers are now famous worldwide for their friendly, helpful and resourceful service and it is entirely appropriate to reward their efforts in this way."
Mr Bracks also announced all 15,000 Commonwealth Games volunteers will be offered a free pass to an Australian Football League (AFL) match.
Andrew Demitriou, Chief Executive Officer of the AFL, said that the AFL was proud to join with Toyota to present each Volunteer with two tickets to either Telstra Dome on 1 April or any of three nominated matches at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
In making the announcement he said that the AFL could not function without its own 51,000 volunteers and hoped that at least some of the Commonwealth Games Volunteers would “catch the bug” and contribute in a similar way to football across the country.
In his concluding comments John Conemos, Executive Chairman of Toyota Australia, said that his company was extremely proud to be a major sponsor of the Games. He congratulated Ron Walker for his Organising Committee, and in particular for the weather he put on for the duration of the Games.