Organisers of the Australian Grand Prix have come under fire after it was revealed that the 2010 race has incurred huge losses.
According to reports that emerged in the Australian press, the cost to the Victorian taxpayer of hosting the race has increased 15-fold in the space of eleven years – with the 2010 race costing the local government nearly $50 million.
At the same time as costs continue to rise, sales revenue from the event have dropped, with independent state MP Craig Ingram insisting it was 'outrageous' that money was being pumped into 'bailing out a millionaire's car race' when the funds could be put to better use elsewhere.
"I think we have got our priorities wrong,” he was quoted by The Age
newspaper. “I think it is just outrageous. 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.
"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."
Peter Logan from the Save Albert Park group was also quoted in the press as saying that the race provided 'no tourism benefit' for Victoria although major events minister Tim Holding insists that the economic benefits of the race outweight the large costs involved.
"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,” he said. "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."