Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says securing the Formula One Grand Prix for Melbourne until 2023 was a very competitive process but won’t reveal what it cost taxpayers.
Mr Andrews formally announced today that Melbourne would retain the race. He had last night posted a video Facebook teasing NSW Premier Mike Baird with the news his election pledge to steal the race from Melbourne had failed.
In the video, Mr Andrews held a copy of the Daily Telegraph’s front page which detailed Mr Baird’s bid to steal the race from Melbourne and promised his NSW counterpart he would shout him a ticket to watch the race in Melbourne.
“The Premier of NSW was going to pinch this race from Melbourne, well, sadly for him we’ve got this race locked up until 2023 at least,” Mr Andrews told reporters.
He wouldn’t say how much it cost to retain the race, but promised it represented “very good value for money”.
“NSW desperately wanted it. There are other states in Australia who are interested, other countries in our region who would do almost anything to have this race,” Mr Andrews said.
“It’s not our practice and we will not be giving to our competitors the number they have to beat.”
The Victorian government has footed an average bill of $51.1 million a year over the past six years, including a bill of $60 million last year.
The NSW proposal included a plan to race cars over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The Greens were quick to criticise the government for extending the Grand Prix contract before it was due to expire.
“We know the Grand Prix has lost more than $50 million of taxpayer money each of the last few years, and hundreds of millions since 1996,” Greens MP Sue Pennicuik said.
“Successive governments have misrepresented the economic benefits of the race in an effort to justify these huge losses,” she said.
Mr Andrews said the competitive process to host the race proved how valuable the event was.
“This is all about tourism, visitors, jobs, economic prosperity,” he said.