$50,000 police bill threatens Tour of the Great South Coast's future 

THE future of the cycling Tour of the Great South Coast is being reviewed after organisers copped a bill from Victoria Police for $49,800.

Tour co-ordinator John Craven said despite the event’s potential and support from the Moyne, Glenelg and Corangamite councils that a review of the costs — and the tour itself — was being undertaken.

He revealed this week that after the event he received a bill for police services of $49,800. 

“The bill is a real kick in the guts. The police were marvellous with the work they did for event,” Mr Craven said.

“I’ve spoken to Denis Napthine (member for South West Coast) about the bill. 

“The imposition may mean the end of the race. 

“The police fees, traffic management and occupational health and safety impositions threaten most sports in Australia that use public facilities, especially in Victoria. 

“It’s a shame that such fees have the ability to destroy such events.”

Mr Craven said there had been a suggestion before the tour of a hefty police bill.

“I got a tip-off before the event that there would be a big charge but it was too late to call the event off,” he said.

“We had made a big commitment to cyclists, councils, sponsors and the media about the event. It was just too late to cancel. 

“I’m hoping that Dr Napthine might be able to waive the bill as the event has the ability of creating employment opportunities for people. 

“When one considers the government covers the $57 million of losses that happens with the formula one grand prix at Albert Park I hope that they might waive the bill.”

Dr Napthine yesterday confirmed he had been approached by Mr Craven in relation to the police invoice.

He said he had written to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan to see if there could be assistance given in relation to police costs for the Tour of the Great South Coast.

Dr Napthine said the Victorian government already directly contributed $50,000 to the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic — the first time the state government had got behind the event in such a degree.

He said the state government also sponsored the three cycling tours around Victoria, including the Tour of the Great South Coast.

“I’ve raised the issue with the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. I understand the concern of the organiser but the police have significant costs to close roads and provide supervision so cycling events can be held on public roads.

“(Concerns about) These charges have been raised after the event. 

“If you are going to hold such an event I would have thought you would ask questions about what are the costs and charges involved and negotiations could be held at that stage.”

Dr Napthine said the state government provided significant direct funding for cycling and in the past the cost of police services related major cycling events had been reduced. 

“We are doing our level best to support cycling and cycling in the south-west,” he said.

athomson@standard.fairfax.com.au

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