The state government has confirmed that its
funding for the V8 Supercars at Symmons Plains is
not locked in beyond this year, possibly bringing
the event to a grinding halt.
Tourism Minister Michelle O'Byrne said yester
day that the government was committed to the
event's current arrangements, after signing a $1.7
million deal to host the November event until
However, funding is assessed annually.
It is believed funding for the V8 round _
Tasmania's biggest annual spectator event _
features on a hit-list of event funding that could be
axed leading up to an extremely tight state budget
``A contract is currently with the company to
stage the 2011 event,'' Ms O'Byrne said.
``Both AVESCO and the state government have
jointly agreed to discuss arrangements for the
subsequent two years.''
The Examiner revealed yesterday that the
government was considering reallocating the
$560,000 a year it spends on the V8s to bring AFL
football to Hobart.
It has outraged motor sport fans.
The V8s attract 60,000 spectators to Symmons
Plains over three days and generate a television
audience of millions.
Launceston Chamber of Commerce chief execu
tive Michael Bailey said Northern Tasmanians had
a right to feel cheated.
``For the state government to make the an
nouncement for a three-year deal and not tie
funding to that is misleading, and it's also unfair
to the businesses who made plans based on the
assumption the event would keep going ahead,'' he
Ms O'Byrne said the V8s were ``in no way
connected to AFL football''.
However, an AFL source confirmed yesterday
that a $1.2 million-a-year deal with North Mel
bourne would be announced within three weeks.
Taxpayers would contribute $300,000 a match
for two Kangaroos games _ the same amount that
is spent annually on the V8s.
Businesses and a consortium of Southern
Tasmanian councils would each chip in a further
The Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania said
it was opposed to funding the games by scrapping
``AFL in Hobart is not a priority for the
industry,'' chief executive Luke Martin said.
It is understood that the government is also
considering slashing up to $2 million a year in
tourism marketing funding, at a time when all
other states are increasing it.
``We understand there are difficult financial
times and the government has to make tough
decisions, but tourism is part of the solution,'' Mr
Opposition Leader Will Hodgman called on Ms
O'Byrne to reveal what else was on the chopping
A government spokesman said Labor could not
speculate on budget cuts, because nothing had