Awards Dead in the Water

NEWS - Awards Dead in the Water

The Australian Marine Industries Federation (AMIF) is considering its position regarding its Boat of the Awards after what it says is a "relentless media bashing."

"Following much conjecture from one media organisation and a few industry detractors, the AMIF Board has shelved the 2009 Australian Marine Awards pending a comprehensive industry referendum", says AMIF in a press release.

AMIF CEO, Sherry Donaldson, said that while the majority of the marine media was supportive, it appeared that this support was being overshadowed by disparaging articles written about the awards.

“This ‘fault finding’ media coverage has created such a negative and inaccurate image of the awards that the damage is irreparable,” Ms Donaldson said.

“The constant negative publicity detracts from the achievements of award recipients who deserve far greater encouragement from publications that owe their existence to the marine industry.

“Some entrants who do not win, or cannot not have the rules changed to meet their specifications, immediately contact the media to air their grievances. Even those who have not entered, or been nominated as finalists, now feel justified in making unsubstantiated accusations about finalists,” she said.

According to AMIF, new sponsors are now reluctant to commit to the awards and many established sponsors have given notice that they would be reviewing their position for 2009, after some media reports about the event.

Ms Donaldson said the AMIF would use 2009 to review its options regarding the awards.

“This review is not a slight on the members of the reference groups, who have worked hard to develop the criteria and the Judges’ Manual for the awards. Nor does it indicate a lack of confidence in the judges, who have always conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism,” she said.

“The review is to establish industry support for the awards and support for the AMIF as the administrator of the awards.

“So the real question is: Does the marine industry really want its own awards? If the answer is yes, then the industry needs to ratify the categories, criteria and method of conducting these awards and it must be agreed upon by all. These questions will be put in a referendum,“ she explained.

The AMIF Board has agreed to the suspension of the event to allow the industry to make submissions. The process will take at least 12 months.

Further details on the review process will be distributed through Boating Industry Association newsletters.