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Melbourne MP calls for end to Australian GP

A Melbourne MP joins calls for the Australian GP at Albert Park to end
Michael Danby, an MP whose Melbourne Ports electorate includes the Albert Park circuit, has called on the Australian parliament not to renew its contract to host a Formula 1 race when the current deal comes to an end.

Rows about the increased costs involved in hosting the F1 event have called the long-term future of the Albert Park race into doubt, with Lord Mayor Robert Doyle quoted last month as saying that the event had 'run its course' [See separate story HERE].

Now Danby has told parliament that a straw poll of residents has shown them to against the race continuing at a ration of ten to one, showing that 'everything points to Melbourne saying thanks for the memories' and leaving the F1 arena.

"The grand prix may have been a good deal in 1996, when it cost the government only $1.7 million; but, with falling crowd numbers and taxpayers footing a $50 million-a-year bill, the government should cut its losses and walk away," he was quoted as telling parliament by the Reuters news agency.

"Rising costs, dwindling crowds, fed-up local residents, an ambivalent Melbourne mayor... to me, everything points to Melbourne saying 'thanks for the memories' but gracefully declining to renew the grand prix contract."

Although popular with teams, Australia is seen as being one of the weakest events in terms of the key European TV audience because of the time difference.

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February 22, 2011 8:04 AM

As a Melbournian, I can tell you that F1 has MASSIVE support. The problem is that Albert park is now full of old farts and people who bought investment properties. Fifteen years ago, Albert Park was a crap suburb with no facilities and nothing to recommend it. When F1 came, the state and federal governments spent cash on the area to improve transport, sporting arenas, local buildings and general facilities. As such, property values rose and wealthier people moved in. Unfortunately, they are often old grumpy fools who are biting the hand that feeds. If F1 goes, state and federal governments will have no reason to contribute to the upkeep of transport, sporting arenas or the lakes area in general. It'll become choked and tarnished, meaning property dives and people will abandon the area. Without F1, Albert Park will return to being another irrelevant suburb with past glory.

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