Australia state government supports F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne

10:18, July 26, 2011      

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Melbourne's role as host of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix has been good for the city, good for the state and good for Australia, and the Victorian state government will continue to support it, Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu said on Monday.

The city's future as host of the event was in limbo, when an independent economic impact report released last week found the state government subsidized the event by more than 54 million.

The figures revealed an almost nine-fold increase in the taxpayer contribution to the Grand Prix since 2001.

The Grand Prix has been held at Melbourne's Albert Park since 1996. The contract for the taxpayer-subsidized race was negotiated by the previous government and expires in 2015.

Victorian Premier Baillieu said the government continued to support the event but would be looking to get better value for Victorian taxpayers when the contract is renegotiated.

"The Grand Prix has been good for Melbourne, good for Victoria, good for Australia and I think it's still got a contribution to make," Baillieu told Australia Associated Press in Melbourne on Monday.

"It's been a critical part of Victoria's major events strategy and that's been a part of branding this state as a state that can do just about anything."

"We might not have negotiated the terms of the contract as they currently exist... (Tourism Minister) Louise Asher has already said she might have done it a different way but that's the contract we have.

"We have sought to minimize costs and we'll continue to do that."

"Obviously (in 2014) we would be looking to ensure that we continue to get value out of the transaction."

The report also found that overall the 2011 Grand Prix increased Victoria's gross state product by between 35 million and 42 million U.S. dollars and generated 350 full-time jobs.

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