Gov’t rules out move for Albert Park GP image

( Melbourne’s formula one race will only be held at Albert Park, state government minister Louise Asher said on Monday.

Her comments follow speculation that the event, criticised for costing taxpayers too much, could move to a bespoke facility to be built at nearby Avalon airport.

“The grand prix is going to stay at Albert Park,” she insisted during a parliamentary budget estimates hearing.

Albert Park’s current contract runs through 2015 but it was negotiated by the former government.

“When we come to negotiate we will play hardball,” Asher said.

“I think taxpayers could get a better deal if the contract had less in it for my good friend Mr Ecclestone and more in it for Victorian taxpayers,” she added.

Avalon chief Justin Giddings said he was disappointed the government is not open to hosting the race elsewhere.

“There’s been a lot of discussion and we were looking forward to presenting something to the state government in the next few weeks but it appears it will be no longer worthwhile,” he said.