Victorian State Premier John Brumby has admitted that host city Melbourne may not renew its contract to host the Australian Grand Prix when its contract runs out at the end of the 2014 season.
Criticism over the viability of the event – which posted a record $50 million loss this year that will be footed by the taxpayers – has grown in recent years, and forced the ruling state Labor Party to consider whether it continues bankrolling the event that brings plenty of tourism income to the state.
“I know there’s a range of views in the community and it is a costly major event, but we’ve got it until 2014, and really we’ll look at whether we go beyond that,” he told ABC Radio.
“Certainly when we first won [the hosting rights from 1996 onwards] in Victoria it had a newness and a freshness and the longer you go with these things that freshness can obviously diminish a little,” he added.
It would seem that this consideration has bipartisan support – perhaps not surprising with the state elections coming up – with the opposition leader Ted Baillieu describing the ongoing costs of the event as “a real worry”.
The future of the 2011 event at Albert Park is under a cloud with a dispute between the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) over the event’s licensing.