Pandemic should be reason enough to wave chequered flag on Grand Prix


The Victorian Greens have called on the state government to wave the chequered flag on the Grand Prix this year.

The Greens say a once-in-a-generation pandemic should be reason enough cancel this year’s event, amid speculation it may be postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said it was important for the government to prioritise public health over an event that sends millions of taxpayer dollars down the drain each year.

In 2019 the government decided to extend the Albert Park Grand Prix to 2025, costing Victorians $350 million until the end of the contract.

The costs to stage the Grand Prix have skyrocketed from less than $2 million when it was first held in 1996, to around $4 million in 2000 and now around $60 million today.

Despite numerous demands by state parliament, the government still refuses to release the Grand Prix contract or conduct an accurate count of its attendance.

Ms Ratnam said there was little justification to hold the money-wasting event at Albert Park during a normal year, but that with the added risk of COVID transmission this year it was nothing short of negligent.

Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:

“Until a vaccine has been rolled out, the state government’s priority must be eliminating the risk of another COVID outbreak or lockdown. Hosting an event that would see tens of thousands of Victorians flock to Albert Park during a pandemic could unravel all of our hard work.

“We need to wave the chequered flag on this year’s event to protect the health of all Victorians and save tens of millions of dollars in the process.”