Let’s be honest – the milestone of Canberra’s centenary probably would have gone unnoticed by the majority of Australians if not for the enormously controversial, enormously confusing and just plain enormous hot air balloon that has been created to mark the event. The ‘Skywhale’, commissioned by the ACT government, is the creation of artist, sculptor and former Canberran Patricia Piccinini. Australian media over the past week has been busy engendering a sense of outraged indignation that taxpayers could dare be expected to pay for this giant deformed whale type creature with 10 hanging breast-like formations protruding from its underside. Latest estimates have stated that it will cost the government in the vicinity of $300,000 to present this piece of balloon art to (admittedly) a relatively small proportion of the Australian population.
The Pirelli was skirting once more at Albert Park, last week, as the 2013 Australian Grand Prix arrived on its yearly visit. The high-octane event has been carried out in Melbourne, ever since it was moved from Adelaide in 1996. However, it wasn’t just the rain which dampened some people’s enthusiasm for the event. As is increasing the case each year, the media and variety of parties with vested interests were steeped in debate over whether the F1 Grand Prix is in fact economically viable.
According to a report tabled in the State Parliament, the Victorian taxpayer is losing over US$34 million to the event; most of which, is going to president and CEO of F1 Management, Bernard Ecclestone, just for the right to host the event.
That’s a lot of opportunity cost in government expenditure!