Melbourne race posts big loss

The Australian Grand Prix has come under increased scrutiny following the publishing of figures which showed that this year’s event made a massive loss.

It has been revealed that the Victorian Government were forced to shell out 49.3million Australian dollars (£29.5million) for the event in March, a massive increase from that 3.2million Australian dollars (£2million) that it had to pay in 1998/1999.

Subsequently the event has come underfire, with independent state MP Craig Ingram voicing his concerns to The Age newspaper

“I think it is just outrageous.” he said “It has gone past a joke and it is time both sides of politics started to seriously reconsider the ongoing cost of taxpayers bailing out of this event.

“The cost for a car race when as a local member of parliament we struggle to get funding for health services, education, support services for disabled kids at schools, for roads and other infrastructure – I just think there is a whole range of services and other infrastructure which need that sort of money more than a car race.”

However Major Events Minister Tim Holding defended the government’s decision to host the event, pointing to the wider benefits of the race on the state.

“The economic benefit to Victoria far outweighs the cost of staging the Formula One Grand Prix,” he said in The Age.

“The race was seen by about 12.8 million people in Europe this year and the massive television exposure the grand prix receives has helped to build our world-wide reputation as a great place to visit and a great place to live.

“This year’s grand prix attracted the biggest crowd in five years and a television audience of 4.6 million in Australia, and with Mark Webber in such good form we expect next year’s grand prix will be even more exciting.”

Although costs have risen by almost 20%, Albert Park is still scheduled to host the event for the next five years.