Kylie Minogue was paid nearly a million dollars for the Matesong tourism campaign to attract British tourists to Australia before it was “paused” after just 10 days on-air.
New contract details obtained by news.com.au reveal the pop singer pocketed $935,000 in “talent fees” for the now redundant tourism advertisement.
But with international travel now suspended until a COVID-19 vaccine is found, there’s little prospect that the three-minute music video featuring koalas, quokkas, Uluru, skinny dipping beachgoers and cricketer Shane Warne, will air again anytime soon.
And unlike “tradie” Scott Cam, who came in for a barrage of criticism for his $347,000 trades ambassadorship after it was revealed he had provided just four social media posts and three videos, it’s not clear whether Ms Minogue has agreed to refund a portion of her fee.
Mr Cam announced in April he would give up the remaining portion of his taxpayer-funded salary – around $172,000 – due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Minogue has described the filming of the tourism advertisements as “a dream come true” which included her first-ever visit to Uluru in the Northern Territory.
But the campaign, which was budgeted to cost $15 million, will likely go down as one of the most expensive white elephants in the history of Tourism Australia.
The $935,000 in cash was paid to the Melbourne-based KDB Pty Ltd.
ASIC records confirm that KDB Pty Ltd is a Victorian company that has represented Ms Minogue for over 30 years.
Her mother and father, Carol and Ron Minogue, and brother, Brendan Minogue, are all officeholders in the company that was founded in 1987, the same year her first hit Locomotion was released in Australia.
The blockbuster Matesong campaign first went to air in Britain over Christmas but was pulled from broadcast during the devastating summer bushfires.
“In light of the current situation in Australia, we have reduced some of our campaign activity in the UK. We will continue to review our planned activity over the coming weeks and months,” a Tourism Australia spokesperson said.
“As the Australian government agency responsible for attracting tourists to our country, Tourism Australia will have an important role to play in highlighting that Australia will continue to be a world-leading and safe tourism destination, whether in unaffected regions or those that will recover from these bushfires in the months and years to come.”
Earlier, Tourism Australia had urged tourists to still consider travelling down under over summer, if it was safe to do so.
“While bushfires continue to impact parts of Australia, many areas are unaffected and most tourism businesses are still open,’’ it said.
But the sharp drop in tourism over summer is now being speculated upon as one of the reasons behind Australia’s success in avoiding a major outbreak.
Because of the bushfires, thousands of tourists from across the world delayed their travels over summer, unwittingly helping to protect the nation from the coronavirus as it began to spread across the globe.
But if Ms Minogue is interested, there could be another opportunity in the wings with the Prime Minister hinting on Friday that a holiday-at-home tourism campaign may be next on the agenda.
“As the borders fall internally, Australians can hopefully soon return to domestic holidays and to move around the country more widely, and particularly with school holidays coming up again in July,’’ the Prime Minister said.
“We are reminded that the net tourism imports to Australia is just over $20 billion a year. That means that after you take account of international tourists coming here and Australians going overseas, there is a net import factor of just over $20 billion.
“Now, that’s up for grabs for Australian domestic tourism operators. Australians who might otherwise go elsewhere. That is a very large market and that will be targeted.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison worked for Tourism Australia as managing director before his $350,000-a-year contract was terminated after he reportedly clashed with then Tourism Minister Fran Bailey.
At the time, the Howard Government praised his work and refused to comment on the circumstances of his departure but praised his work including his involvement in the famous Lara Bingle campaign “So Where the Bloody Hell Are You?”.