The cost to state taxpayers for this year’s Australian Grand Prix has increased to AU$50 million, the Victorian Government has announced, while moving quickly to defend the expense on the grounds of the benefits it affords the state’s economy.
An independent impact report confirmed that staging the Grand Prix increased Victoria’s gross state product by $39 million, up by $7 million on the increase reported on the back of the 2010 event.
That being said, the government injected some $50 million into supporting the event, up by $800,000 on the record results from the previous year.
“You have to look at the whole year, at ongoing branding of Melbourne,” Louise Asher, Victoria’s Tourism & Major Events Minister told reporters today.
The current contract to stage the race every March at Albert Park runs out after the 2015 race.
Ms Asher confirmed that the newly-elected government would commence negotiations over a new agreement with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone in 2014, adding that there was “no room to move” if he demanded an increase to the licensing fee payable to Formula One Management – a figure shrouded in secrecy under a specific piece of state legislation.
“The contracts under which the Grand Prix is run were signed by the previous Labor government,” she added in a typical piece of political buck-passing, referring to the previous government that was deposed last November.
[Image via LAT]