These lemons produce value for money for Victoria_ according to by fionan


									Save Albert Park Newsletter - December 2008

 Meanwhile, elsewhere in the
real world............
USA In July 2008 the Indianapolis Speedway circuit dumped
the F1 One Grand Prix because ticket sales could only cover half
the $US30-35m race licence fee. Despite claims of $100m
benefit to the economy, the event failed to generate any public or
local business subsidy. The Speedway received media praise
because it had „never asked the city for hand-out, never pigged
out at the public trough‟.
Canada In November the Montreal circuit lost its place in the F1
calendar because it could not afford the $US30m race licence fee
(twice ticket sales revenue) and neither business interests nor
government sources would help to fund the shortfall.
Britain The Silverstone circuit will lose the British Grand Prix
after 2009 because, like Montreal circuit, it can‟t pay the race
licence fee. The event may go to the Donington circuit but only if a
very well-heeled sponsor is found. The British Government will
not provide funding for either circuit.
France There will be no French Grand Prix in 2009 because of
economic problems at the Magny Cours circuit. An attempt to
stage the race at Paris Disneyland fell through, mainly for similar
Germany Because of falling attendances the Hockenheim
circuit can no longer afford to stage the German Grand Prix,
which it alternates with Nurburgring. This puts the latter circuit in
trouble, as the government will not provide any subsidy, and there
is no help forthcoming from the car manufacturers involved in F1,
BMW and Mercedes.
China Little interest in F1 car racing has developed in China
and the Shanghai circuit is unlikely to continue its contract after
Japan In December 2008, Honda announced that, for business
reasons, it was withdrawing its team from F1 racing and would no
longer supply engines to other teams. To save costs, Toyota will
not fund a race at the Fuji circuit, which has alternated with the
Suzuka circuit.
....... and in Holland, The home country of the main F1 sponsor,
ING, the Dutch government has had to buy shares in ING and
provide $US19bn worth of support to keep it afloat. There are
now questions as to whether ING will continue its involvement
with F1 in the long term.
   Formula One ‘gravy train’
   is about to hit the buffers
    On December 5, Honda confirmed that it was withdrawing from
F1 racing. The company issued a lengthy statement which
opened with these paragraphs:
  We the Honda Motor Co. Ltd have come to the conclusion that
we will withdraw from all Formula One activities, making 2008 the
last season of participation.
  This difficult decision has been made in the light of the quickly
deteriorating operating environment facing the global auto
industry, brought on by the sub-prime problem in the United
States, the deepening credit crisis and the sudden contraction of
the world economies.
  Honda must protect its core business activities and secure the
long term as widespread uncertainties in the economies around
the globe continue to mount. A recovery is expected to take
some time.
   Honda entered F1 racing in 2000, initially supplying engines to
the British American Racing team (funded by British American
Tobacco). In 2006 it entered it own team, and also supplied
engines to the Japanese Super Aguri team. Super Aguri
competed for two seasons, then withdrew from F1 after four races
in 2008 because of financial difficulties. The Honda team which
has operated out of the UK could be sold, but the buyer would
need to find $US200m to compete in 2009.
           The withdrawal of Honda is a very serious matter for
F1, as all the big car manufacturers are facing the same
market problems. And the fear is that others will follow
Honda out of the sport.
           FIA President Max Mosley (the centre of the recent sex
orgy scandal) is attempting to persuade the F1 teams that costs
have to be cut drastically, and that the use of standard engine is
one answer. He is saying that if the F1 teams continue to oppose
this plan (engine suppliers Mercedes, BMW and Ferrari are
threatening a walk out) then F1 will „lose one team after another
and we would end up with no teams at all or a grid that lacked all
           For the 2008 Melbourne Grand Prix, there were 11
teams, with 22 cars on the grid. For the 2009 event, with no
Honda or Super Aguri, there will 9 teams and 18 cars. Mosley has
said that 16 cars or less is not a credible grid.
  Bernie Ecclestone appears not worried (perhaps his marital
problems are distracting him.) He has been quoted as saying that
‘F1 is in no bigger crisis than any other company around the
    Others disagree, and the following comments on the website (Dec.5) are worth quoting here;
   ‘Fact is, F1 is facing a major crisis because no matter what
way Bernie might look at it, F1 is a luxury that companies can
do without. We saw it with Ford, we’ve seen it with Honda,
we’ll see it again. In the same way that big companies can do
without luxuries, so can the public.’
  ‘The gravy train is about to hit the buffers, and no matter
what way Mr Ecclestone dresses it up, the sport has not
helped itself, and there is no way that all the problems it
faces are due to the recession’

  Formula One is a ‘gravy train’. It damages our local
economy rather than providing benefits. Some of the locals
ride in it, and the state government helps to drive it. It’s well
overdue to hit the buffers.

     Circuits can’t survive
  without government bail-outs
   In 2009, there will be 17 Formula One races:
Melbourne, March 29, Malaysia, April 5, China, April 19,
Bahrain, April 26, Barcelona, May 10, Monaco, May 24, Turkey,
June 7, Silverstone (UK), June 21, Nurburgring (Germany), July
12, Hungary, July 26, Valencia, August 23, Belgium, August 30,
Italy, September 13, Singapore, September 27, Japan, October
4, Brazil, October 18,
Abu Dhabi, November 1.
   Of the 17 these races, ten are government funded, viz.,
Melbourne, Malaysia, China, Bahrain, Hungary, Belgium, Italy,
Singapore, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Monaco does not have to pay a
race licence fee, and the Istanbul circuit in Turkey is owned by
Formula One. Of the remaining five privately operated circuits,
Silverstone in the UK cannot afford to continue after 2009, the
Nurburgring circuit in Germany is unlikely to continue on without
alternating with the Hockenheim circuit (which can‟t afford to
continue), the Spanish circuits Barcelona and Valencia are
heavily dependent for public support on the continued success of
the driver Fernando Alonso, and in Japan, Toyota is saving
money by ceasing to fund the Fuji circuit.
   The race licence fees charged by Formula One are so high
that it is impossible for circuits to stage the races profitably. This
is the reason there are no races in 2009 in USA, Canada, and
France, and why British and German Grand Prix races appear
unlikely in 2010. A British Grand Prix may eventuate at the
Donington circuit but a financial disaster is the more likely.
   In USA, Canada, Britain, France and Germany,
governments have refused to subsidise the races, and the
major beneficiaries of the events, the hoteliers, who grossly
inflate room rates at race times, are not willing to help.
   The attitude of North American and European governments
towards subsidising F1 races is a clear indication that they see no
economic or political advantage in doing so. This is in stark
contrast to the policy of the Brumby Government which is
apparently not concerned at the prospect of losing $45-50 m on
the 2009 race, and much more as each year passes. No notice
has been taken of the 2007 audit of the event (which showed a
negative economic benefit) and no attempt has been made to
introduce a hotel room tax to reduce the heavy drain on Victoria‟s
public funds (as Singapore has done).
  For many years, Formula One‟s race licence fees have been
increased by 10% a year, cumulative, and more recently since the
banning of tobacco advertising, by about 15%. This has tended to
drive the sport out of its traditional base, Europe, where most of
the fans live, and into the Middle East and Asia, where there are
cashed up governments, but few fans, and even fewer can afford
the ticket prices. While TV broadcasts are the main cash earners,
empty stands are an embarrassment, as China‟s Shanghai circuit
has found. An eye witness report on the October 19 race
appeared on the website on November 14, and the
following extract is revealing: ‘Over half the first corner stands
were completely empty on Friday and Saturday. They were filled
on the Sunday by busloads of school kids (some of them primary
school kids) and other incidentals. One thing a communist
government can do is make a phone call to fill a stadium at short
notice. Other stands were closed, and instead just advertised the
upcoming Expo 2010.’
  The website noted that the Shanghai circuit is not likely to
renew its contract with F1 after 2010,

 Supercars get go-ahead to race
  in Sydney’s Olympic Park
   The Homebush Motor Racing (Sydney 400) Bill 2008 was passed in
the NSW Parliament on 3 December, with 19 votes to18, despite strong
lobbying by the Save Olympic Park – No V8 Racing group and other
opponents. The State Government is now able to sign a contract with
V8 Supercars Australia to move the final of the Championship series
from Oran Park to Sydney Olympic Park (SOP) for the next five years.
   The main case against the bill was that in times of economic crisis,
any taxpayer funds should be spent on the publicly owned Eastern
Creek track, located in an automotive industry area, and not on a 3-day
event temporarily set up in a public park. A proper cost-benefit analysis
was essential, not the use of an input-output model favoured only by
  But other features of the bill should have ensured its rejection:
• The Homebush Motor Racing Authority will have powers limited only
by one minister‟s planning and decision-making responsibilities;
• The Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA) is effectively excluded
from all event-related decisions;
• Any area within SOP can be fenced off as a „declared racing area‟;
• The race authority is not required to give undertakings, warranties or
indemnities relating to the conduct of the race or works; it has only to
„consult‟ with the SOPA, and reinstatement of affected areas must be
made only within a „reasonable time‟ and „as far as is practicable‟;
• The application of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act
1979, the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, the Motor Vehicle
Sports (Public Safety) Act 1985, and the Local Government Act 1993 is
suspended; other legislation relating to noise does not apply;
• Rights to compensation (eg, loss of income, or diminution of property
values) arising from the race or the race works are removed;
• “Certain functions” of the Minister and Race Authority cannot be
challenged before a court;
• The scope and duration of V8 racing and associated activities is at the
Minister‟s discretion.
   Members of SOP – No V8 Racing intend to continue the protest, and
will carry out crowd counts using the tally counters familiar to scores of
SAP hands over the years.               KW

        Port Phillip Council elections
 The successful candidates in the Port Phillip Council elections held on
       November 29 were;
Albert Park Ward – Judith Klepner (CAPP) – re-elected
Carlisle Ward – Rachel Powning (CAPP)
Catani Ward -Serge Thomann (Unchain Port Phillip)
Emerald Hill Ward – Frank O’Connor (CAPP)
Junction Ward – John Middleton (Greens)
Point Ormond Ward – Jane Touzeau (Unchain Port Phillip)
Sandridge Ward – Janet Bolitho (ALP) - re-elected
     (CAPP = Community Alliance of Port Phillip)

  Judith Klepner, Frank O‟Connor and John Middleton are current
members of Save Albert Park. All other councillors have expressed their
opposition to the staging of the F1 Grand Prix in Albert Park .

       Athletics moving to
 Albert Park soccer stadium
   The State Government‟s decision to relocate professional
athletics from Olympic Park to Albert Park will involve a major
redevelopment of the „Bob Jane‟ soccer stadium. It is understood
that a budget of $40 million has been provided, and that this will
enable the following work to be carried out:
The old heritage listed grandstand The stand structure will be
gutted and a new headquarters will be built for the Victorian
Institute of Sport within its walls and beneath its roof. The
structure will not be used as a grandstand.
Perimeter of the stadium There is no indication yet that the
perimeter of the stadium will have to be moved further out into
surrounding parkland. An 8-lane athletics track will be
constructed between the soccer pitch and the spectator stands
and mounds.
Access to the athletics track The track will be available for
use by amateur athletics (including junior athletics) when not
required by the professionals. This should ensure that the stadium
will be less of an exclusive enclave in the park than it has been in
the past.
Redevelopment of other existing grandstands The low
stands nearer the lake will be completely reconstructed, made
higher and more sheltered, but not with increased capacity.
Public toilets outside the stadium perimeter (on the back of
spectator mounds) will be demolished and replaced by facilities
under the reconstructed stands. New toilets will also be built,
closer to picnic areas, for other park users.
Design At a recent meeting of the Albert Park Advisory Group
(APAG) which includes a Save Albert Park representative, strong
agreement was expressed that the design of the new structures
should fit harmoniously into the park, and that the highest
standards of environmentally sustainable design (encompassing
energy use, water conservation, carbon neutrality) were used.
APAG also agreed that public input should be invited and listened
to, and social impacts assessed.
Administration of the redeveloped stadium It is not yet clear
who will be responsible for the redeveloped stadium. APAG
believes that Parks Victoria should remain in overall control of the
Timescale Plans are expected to appear early in 2009, and
presumably, public comment invited. It is understood that the
project will be undertaken as a matter of urgency.

    The schadenfreude column
(This column is strictly reserved for people who benefit from the
exploitation of Albert Park Reserve.)
Ron Walker, chairman of Fairfax Media, but for how long?
We quote from an article in The Age, of December 6, ‘Investors
are looking to Wednesday’s Fairfax Media board meeting
following an unequivocal market response to the resignation of
chief executive David Kirk.’ ‘Less certain is the fate of Melbourne-
based chairman Ron Walker who analysts and major
shareholders say could follow Mr Kirk (former CEO) out the
door ...’
We also quote from Crikey website of December 5, which
featured a tasteless death notice for David Kirk, including the
words „Finally passed away, surrounded by his board ...’
Crikey also said; The naked ambition of John B Fairfax and his
chosen CEO, the trusted Brian McCarthy, to take control of the
management and the board is all but assured. Next cab at the
rank will be (for) ‘Melbourne’ Ron Walker .....’
(This newsletter goes to print before we can confirm the outcome
of Fairfax Media‟s board meeting on December 10.)
Bernie Ecclestone to divorce
On November 20, it was confirmed in London that Ecclestone‟s
wife of 24 years, Slavica had stared divorce proceedings against
her husband. We quote the website:
This is of interest in F1 circles only because much of Ecclestone’s
wealth related to F1 (he has other fortunes, notably in London
property) is in her name in order to minimise taxation. The couple
are believed to be worth in the region of $3.5bn (now about
$A5.5b), but the money is in offshore trusts which she controls.
Mark Webber – crashed out
The Sunday Age „Sport‟ section published this item in its „PSST‟
column by Cameron Noakes, on December 7: It is great news
that injured Mark Webber will recover from his broken leg in time
for the Australian grand Prix. I’m sure that will provide some relief
for the Red Bull team. As most of you are aware, Webber was hit
by a car in Tasmania when he was riding his bike during ‘The
Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge’ (yes another race and
another non-podium finish), Webber has declared he will be fit to
race in Melbourne which is certainly pleasing for the Australian

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