Queensland gets egg on face for replacing IndyCars with A1GP
Queensland premier Anna Bligh should immediately sack sports minister Phil Reeves over his handling of the A1GP debacle, the state opposition says.
The A1GP component of next weekend's Gold Coast SuperGP race meeting was cancelled on Saturday because of financial problems, with the popular domestic V8 series expanding its program to fill the gap.
Opposition leader John-Paul Langbroek accused Reeves of lying to parliament, and said both the sports minister and event chairman Terry Mackenroth, a former deputy premier, must go.
"The best way to get people coming to the V8 Supercars next weekend is to show the door to the people who presided over this financial bungle," Langbroek said.
He said international participation in the event was key, and after failing to keep the Indy series and now the apparent collapse of the A1GP, Queensland's bid to host the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 must now be in jeopardy too.
Acting Premier and Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the government funded the weekend of motor sport to the tune of $11.6 million, of which $1.8 million had been paid to A1GP.
Legal action to recover the latter payment is now likely despite A1GP chairman Tony Teixeira stating the money will be repaid, with an additional donation to charity.
"They've said publicly that they will refund that and obviously the state will be making its efforts to get that money back," Fraser said.
"It's going to be a challenge to recover that money but nevertheless the state will undertake every effort to do so.
"I think they've (the A1GP administration) behaved disgracefully, unprofessionally over the last number of days."
He said it is doubtful the A1 category will be invited back to future events.