IRL tried to gouge Queensland taxpayers

The Indy Racing League tried to gouge more than $3 million a year extra out of Queensland taxpayers and, having first agreed to hold the race in October, then reneged on the deal.

Not content with the $11.6 million a year already poured into the event, the IRL demanded another $3 million and a date change.

But when the fledgling A1 Grand Prix showed more enthusiasm for the carnival, the Bligh Government gave up on the deadlocked negotiations and went with the new, global series.

Sports Minister Judy Spence yesterday hinted at the difficult behind-the-scenes negotiations that ended with Indy breaking its 18-year connection with the Gold Coast.

"The commercial deal they put to us would have required the State Government putting an additional $3 million into the event," she said.

"At the same time we had other leagues around the world very interested in coming to the Gold Coast."

Ms Spence said although there had been a memorandum of understanding to hold the event for the next five years, the 'whole environment' changed when the Champ Car series folded and joined the IRL.

"At the end of the day we had to choose the best month for the Gold Coast as well because the only reason we put this kind of money into the event is because it creates jobs and tourism for the Gold Coast," she said.

Premier Anna Bligh said she expected to sign the complicated contract for the A1GP deal within the next week.

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