Melbourne has hosted the Australian Grand Prix car race since 1996. The race moved to Melbourne from Adelaide under the then Kennett Liberal government. At the time, there was much controversy about the financial benefits of the race at the time, and the environmental and social impacts of holding it on a street circuit around Melbourne's Albert Park lake.
Subsequent Bracks and Brumby Labor governments continued to provide unconditional support for the race. The Victorian government has consistently refused to disclose the amount of public money provided to race organisers and promoters. It is in the range of tens of millions of dollars.
Successive governments have also claimed that the benefits to Melbourne and Victoria outweigh the costs, but have provide no evidence of this.
This is public money, so the public has the right to know how it is spent, and on what basis. Hiding this expenditure is simply not acceptable.
It is therefore very disappointing that the recently elected Baillieu government has chosen to continue funding the Grand Prix, holding it on the Albert Park circuit, and to also withhold the information on public money spent on the race.
This is after Ted Baillieu's claim to provide "transparent and good government".
Successive governments have simply failed to assess public opinion on this issue. Majority community opinion remains untested, and our democratic system has failing to provide and opportunity for anyone to vote on this matter.
We need a plebiscite on this issue now.