December 21 - The Liberal National Party (LNP), the Opposition Party in Queensland, have called on Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's (pictured) to come clean about the cost of hosting the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games following a leaked report that suggests they have a $7 million (£4.5 million/€5.3 million) black hole.

The briefing note from within the Department of Premier and Cabinet has revealed that the Queensland Government, of which the Labour Party holds the majority, must pay more than $17 million (£11 million/€13 million) to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) this financial year but that only $10 million (£6.4/€7.7 million) has been set aside.

"This latest revelation shows that in fact the cost this year will be $7 million (£4.47 million/€5.34 million) more than we've been told," said the opposition treasury spokesman Tim Nicholls.

"Really the Government, if they want to ensure that people support the Commonwealth Games as they want and as we want to do, then they need to come clean and tell people where money's coming from and tell them up front how much it's going to cost.

"We now know why Treasurer Andrew Fraser argued against Anna Bligh about the Government's bid for the Commonwealth Games."

Queensland's acting Sport Minister Simon Finn claimed that the issue is being addressed and that a winning bid was always going to present some early costs.

"We've always known that there would some initial up-front costs in staging the Games," he said.

"There is no blow-out in the cost of the Games but obviously with the bid announced late in the year, we have to address the costs of this through the mid-year review."

Gold Coast 2018 chairman Mark Stockwell has also claimed that the Commonwealth Games will be delivered on time and on budget as promised in the bid.

"None of these things came out of the blue," said Stockwell.

"It is just the difference in bidding for the Games and actually hosting them."

Stockwell added that he was confident about delivering a "great event" within the $1 billion (£639 million/€746 million) budget set by the State Government.

The leaked document shows the Queensland Government must pay $47 million (£30 million/€36 million) to the ACGA over eight years for marketing rights for the 2018 Commonwealth Games with an initial first payment of $15 million (£9.5 million/€11.4 million) due by by January 1, 2012.

A further $17 million (£11 million/€13 million) is required by the CGF under the Host City contract provisions over seven years while a $2.3 million (£1.5 million/€1.8 million) down payment is due by February 1, 2012.

By Tom Degun

Source: www.insidethegames.biz


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