EXCLUSIVE: ARU to Approach Government for Cash Handout

The Rolling Maul has learned* that in light of the Australian Rugby Union expected to announce a financial loss (as opposed to the usual losses on the field) for Super Rugby for the 2014 season it will approach the Commonwealth Government to seek Government support in the form of a cash handout.

The ARU will argue that, like Qantas, an Australian ‘icon’, and Cadbury (delicious), it is deserved of special consideration.

PM Tony Abbott receives
a hospital pass from the ARU
It is expected, that as the Coalition Government believes unions are largely responsible for many pressures felt in the economy – and in this case the Union is solely responsible for its own mismanagement – it would be receptive to such an approach.

It is understood that Prime Minister Tony Abbott will highlight the Union’s award system, in particular that its employees, though being in the entertainment business, only appear in public once a week and enjoy frequent international travel. The Prime Minister is expected to encourage the Union to consider telecommuting and working from home as a cost reduction measures and a pre-requisite to any financial lifeline.

The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, has also indicated he is not averse to increasing the number of foreign workers (particularly New Zealanders and South Africans) in Australian Super Rugby teams. At half the cost of local players, salary cap concerns would be largely removed as, with the decline of the Australian dollar, they would be willing to be paid in their home currencies. The Federal Investment Review Board is said to be willing to consider this.

The shortage of decent front rowers is symptomatic of a wider skills shortage in the Australian Rugby industry.  Minister for Employment, Eric Abetz, has indicated a range of non-financial support for the ARU will be investigated, including a special category of 457 visa which could be created to encourage Rugby forwards to temporarily migrate to Australia.

The ARU is also understood to be considering outsourcing its labour woes. Outsourcing is a traditional way of reducing production costs and overcoming local skills shortages.

New Zealanders arriving at Sydney airport could be offered Australian citizenship if they nominate to align themselves with an Australian Rugby province. The Australian Navy may also be canvassed as to its willingness to facilitate the identification of sporting talent amongst asylum seekers.    

Backpackers could also be offered combined fruit picking / Rugby visas. Limited to a single Rugby season (coinciding with the fruit picking off season) these visa recipients could be expected to be willing to sleep in dormitories, wear their work clothes for days on end and subsist on a diet of beer and cheese sandwiches.

To increase its chances of receiving Federal assistance, the ARU has indicated it is willing to move its headquarters to a regional centre (Tasmania). This would assist the ARU’s attempt to have it recognised as a member of the rural community and thus be eligible for special hardship assistance, as long as the lack of international Wallaby success can formally be declared a drought.

*made up