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Debate rages on Down Under over future of Australian GP

The ongoing row over the future of the Australian Grand Prix continues as local politicians seem unable to come to an agreement as to whether or not the race still represents value-for-money ...
In a saga that is already threatening to rival the likes of Neighbours and Home & Away in terms of its longevity, Australian politicians are continuing to agree and disagree with one another over the future of Melbourne on the annual F1 calendar.

The whole debate was sparked by a letter written by Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, openly questioning whether the race still offered value-for-money for Victoria tax payers in the wake of mounting losses in recent years and suggesting that the state might be wisest not to sign a new contract with Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management (FOM) company once the current deal expires in 2015 [see separate story – click here].

Never one to shy away from a fight, Ecclestone swiftly hit back by calling Cllr. Doyle's bluff in asserting that 'we don't need Australia', and last week, federal MP Michael Danby – whose electorate includes the Albert Park area – argued that due to 'rising costs, dwindling crowds, fed-up local residents [and] an ambivalent Melbourne mayor... the government should cut its losses and walk away'.

Victoria Premier Ted Baillieu is similarly adamant that costs must be significantly reduced in order for the Australian Grand Prix to remain viable, but the Herald Sun newspaper claims that seven of the nine Melbourne City councillors 'want to keep the annual event despite [Doyle] saying its time is up' and that the majority are in fact in support of its retention.

“I want it to be here as long as possible,” affirmed Cllr. Carl Jetter, with colleague Kevin Louey concurring that F1 is 'unlike other sporting events' and 'enhances Melbourne's name'.

The Australian Grand Prix moved to Melbourne from Adelaide in 1996.

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March 02, 2011 2:18 PM

All those whingers in Melbourne should pull their heads in. The GP is the single biggest promotion Melbourne and Victoria, dare I say Australia, recieves every single year. It's not actually about the event making money. The cost is for the fact Melbourne and Australia is splashed around the world. The whining pollies are merely pandering to the minority groups, once again. I mean lets be serious, Australia CAN afford to have this race. It's just politically incorrect to spend such an amount the minorities tell us. Well if it wasn't on this it would be a new heroin shooting gallery, lesbian mothers IVF clinics, Muslim prayer centres and every other minority group interest! Fairdinkum! How about doing something for the MAJORITY for a change! The worlds mad. As for those who say the evil troll is greedy (I agree) if people pay,there is a market, so of course he will charge the fee.

Jose - Unregistered

March 01, 2011 11:52 PM

I think the clear thinkers in Melbourne are seening that the numbers just don't add up..The price and Honor to stage a F1 race, 50m++ Please don't think about coming to the U.S. Look what happen at Indy, money wise..The Crown Prince and the Abu Dhabi floozies can fork over 50m, to race, no problem..For the most part its not their money anyway. To F1 and Bernie... Madness and Greed will kill the Golden Goose.. Badman, Jose

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