Newsmaker; Amanda Stevens

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City of Port Phillip mayor Amanda Stevens says residents have had enough of the Melbourne grand prix.

IT’S D-Day for the grand prix and it’s about time.

Victorians have forked out close to half a billion dollars to host the grand prix here in Melbourne. What a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money.

The grand prix has been held in Albert Park for nearly two decades and our locals have suffered enough. Year after year, the environmental and social impacts continue to astound me.

In constructing the circuit at Albert Park, more than 1000 trees, including ancient river gums, were destroyed. Large tracts of land were stripped of vegetation to accommodate run-off areas and grandstand sites. The impact of each race is never completely rectified so degradation continues to accumulate every year.

Albert Park is one of the few, quality open spaces for hundreds of thousands of inner city residents and local sporting clubs.

The real cost to the community is lack of access to the park, amenity issues around noise, inconvenience from road closures and lack of parking.

Successive councils over the past 18 years have received hundreds of complaints from the community through forums, conversation tents, an advisory committee, council meetings and through our ASSIST counters.

And it’s not just one week of the year that the park is out of action. Set-up and pull-down takes three to four months!

Albert Park is a public park and should provide free and unrestricted access to everyone, every day of the year. How can our government continue to justify this kind of expenditure when there is a serious lack of transparency in showing the benefits of a race of this scale?

Who benefits? Not local business. Due to the noise, many locals leave the area for as long as they can, and racegoers usually head to other parts of Melbourne after the race — it doesn’t help local business.

The state tells us it’s “revitalising” the event. But why, when the Victorian auditor general’s cost benefit analysis found the grand prix is a net loser for Victoria?

And what exactly does “revitalising” mean? More marketing and promotion costs? No doubt this will lead to more cost to tax payers. The state government needs to disclose these costings now.

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