Read the following Letters to the Editor and make dot points of the main ideas. Make sure you can identifyy the main contention.
LETTERS TO THE AGE
From January 25:
Spill the grand plans
PREMIER Baillieu states confidently ”We look forward to the grand prix performing financially better than it has, and will be looking to make sure this happens” (”Premier dodges the call to dump costly grand prix”, 24/1). Taxpayers who are underwhelmed by the sight and sound of cars driving in circles and are very unhappy about the increasing financial losses associated with the event would be most interested to hear how he plans to accomplish this.
Maureen Kutner, Glen Waverley
Skip GP hype
GRAND prix board chairman Ron Walker claims the formula one grand prix ”goes free-to-air to 300 million in 132 countries . . . [giving] huge penetration of the brand of Melbourne”.
According to formula one management, the worldwide cumulative TV audience for the 2009 season was 520 million. The most watched race was the Brazilian, with an audience of 94 million, with the Chinese not far behind. This leaves an average of about 22 million viewers for each of the other races, including Melbourne.
As for the ”penetration of the brand of Melbourne”, the Victorian Auditor-General’s May 2007 cost-benefit analysis of the 2005 event (the most successful in terms of sales revenue) found no evidence any economic benefit derived from this source.
Lord mayor Robert Doyle has started a public debate about the value of the grand prix. Such a debate should exclude meaningless hype and obvious misinformation.
Peter Goad, Save Albert Park Inc, Middle Park
From January 26:
Benefit is negative
THE grand prix chief executive, Andrew Westacott, this week said ”the government’s investment [in the grand prix] was far outweighed by the advertising, tourism and branding benefits brought to the state”. He would say that, wouldn’t he? And see no need to substantiate the assertion with any facts, let alone acknowledge the Auditor-General’s opposite conclusion.
The Auditor-General devoted 80 pages of his report, State Investment in Major Events (May 2007), to proving that the net benefit of the grand prix was minus $6.7 million — worse than useless.
Furthermore, he was talking about the event in 2005 when the taxpayer subsidy was a quarter of the $50 million paid last year.
Unlike Mr Westacott, the Auditor-General did not stand to improve his career prospects by saying what he did. Rather the reverse. It prompts the question: why do we have an Auditor-General if we would rather listen to spin doctors?
Colin Smith, St Kilda