Australia wants to renew with reduced fee

Wednesday 26th September 2012, 19:48 by Ryan Wood 

The Melbourne government hopes to renew its contract to host the Australian Grand Prix, which is set to expire in 2015, but only under more favourable terms.

The event, according to Tourism Minister Louise Asher, receives a $56 million (£36m) subsidy from the government. Despite recouping this and many, many more millions through economic benefits, Asher says a new contract must be at a reduced cost as the current agreement is "too expensive for the taxpayer."

"I'd love to have the race beyond the 2015 contract, but the contract that we discuss has to present value for taxpayers and I'm not comfortable with this level of subsidy," she told The Age newspaper.

"The Brumby Labor government signed off on a contract that is too expensive for the taxpayer in my opinion. This is a very, very expensive race and I personally am not happy with this level of subsidy."

With the contract running for at least another three years, Asher expects the government will have to further increase its subsidy, despite higher ticket sales, unless measures to cut costs are put in place.

"You can reasonably expect that without significant further cost-cutting from the [Australian] Grand Prix Corporation, the subsidies will go up," she added.

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