Victorians foot the bill of Labor’s footy flop
The Andrews Labor Government has failed to disclose the taxpayer contribution paid to the Australian Football League (AFL) for Ballarat to host a lowly-attended game between Greater Western Sydney and the Gold Coast in July last year.
The game, held between two interstate clubs, struggled to fill a quarter of Mars Stadium’s 11,000 capacity, with just 2,592 spectators attending.
At Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearings, the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula confirmed that taxpayer funds were provided through the Regional Events Fund, however, wouldn’t be drawn on the overall cost to host the game.
Victorians were at the time hesitant to attend sporting events after enduring snap lockdowns and restrictions enforced by the Andrews Labor Government.
As such, low spectator numbers should have been expected and whether the state’s return on investment was worth it remains unknown.
Shadow Minister for Sport, Cindy McLeish, said when done properly, sporting events were an important way to help regional Victoria recover and rebuild.
“Having two interstate expansion clubs fight it out in Ballarat off the back of lockdowns was never going to be a crowd puller,” Ms McLeish said.
“Event organisers in regional Victoria have been desperate for support and questions about decisions like this must be asked.”
The Minister took the question on notice with the exact amount unlikely to be revealed for another two weeks.