Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Melbourne Prize: big prize or bigger fools

By Sarah Russell - posted Monday, 11 March 2024

The Victorian Labor government and the Australian Grand Prix Organisation claim there are economic benefits of continuing to host the grand prix in Melbourne. We all accept the spin.

According to Greg Baum: "When it comes to fake news, the Grand Prix Corporation makes Donald Trump look like an apprentice." Take for example the recent media release spruiking the car race. The Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Steve Dimopoulos, stated: "the event is an epic boost for local jobs, visitation and our economy". This is simply not true.

The grand prix is a financial car crash for Victoria, as demonstrated by independent cost-benefit analyses by Victorian Auditor General, and Rod Campbell.Even Bernie Ecclestone, the man who negotiated the deal in the first place, agrees the grand prix is ripping offVictorians.


Victorian taxpayers have so far paid $1 billion. And the bill keeps growing. The grand prix is now costing Victorians more than $100 million each year.

In 2023, for example, the race generated $97 million in revenue but cost $198 million to stage. This is not an economic 'boost' for our state. Instead it is a drain on resources that could have been spent on health, education and public transport.

Rather than cost-benefit analyses, the Victorian government continues to commission its consultants (EY) to undertake confidential economic 'impact studies'. These 'impact studies' conveniently ignore the costs.

Professor John Quiggin is among many economists who dispute the claims made in government's economic 'impact' studies. He argued that we would be better off if the Victorian government gave free return flights to cover the claimed 8,800 international and 72,000 interstate grand prix visitors than wasting $100 million every year on this event. He alleges, rather than watching a car race, visitors on this 'freebies scheme' would actually create an economic bonanza for businesses.

As for numbers who attend the race: It is nowhere near the number that the corporation and the state government routinely claim. In 2011, Jeff Kennett claimed "[The grand prix] was watched last weekend by 500 million people in 110 countries". Again, this was not true. Rather than cite the number of people who specifically watched the Australian Grand Prix, he misled people by citing the numbers who tuned it to watch the entire F1 season. Exaggerating the numbers allowed the government to exaggerate the benefits of hosting the car race, such as showcasing Melbourne to the world.

Over 10 years later, we still don't know exactly how many people attend or watch the car race. The Australian Grand Prix Organisation refuses to release precise crowd figures claiming scanning all tickets poses a "national security risk". Is anyone buying this nonsense?


Certainly not the Office of the VictorianInformation Commissioner– they ordered the Grand Prix Corporation to hand over internal working documents on how the number of attendees at the event are calculated. In response, the Corporation is taking Save Albert Park to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). It has hired lawyers at taxpayers' expense to ensure the truth remains hidden.

How long can Victorian government continue to treat the public with such disdain?

In the early days of the grand prix, the circuit signage advertised Melbourne. It was an opportunity to show our beautiful city to the world. This signage has since been largely replaced – as it has with other grands prix worldwide – with advertisements for Aramco, Saudi Arabian Oil Group, and other multinational companies. Who reaps the profits from the advertising revenue? Certainly not us.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

7 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Dr Sarah Russell is the principal researcher of Research Matters and a former critical care nurse.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Sarah Russell

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Sarah Russell
Article Tools
Comment 7 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy