$41m Govt Randwick handout thrills WYD organisers

This week CathNews presents the top stories from 2007. This article was originally published on 16 November

World Youth Day organisers have expressed their gratitude for Government funds that have appeased Randwick trainers and will ensure World Youth Day takes place as planned.

The $41 million government handout involves both Federal and NSW State governments.

The funds will help trainers with the mammoth costs of relocating 700 horses, trainers and auxiliary services from Randwick during the planned 10-week shutdown of Sydney's premier racetrack.

On top of that, $10 million - split between the two governments - will be set aside in case of track damage, to ensure it is returned in a pristine state to the Australian Jockey Club for its spring carnival.

WYD organisers have been in tense negotiations with trainers for months over plans to use Randwick racecourse to host an overnight vigil and a Papal mass.

They immediately issued a statment indicating that they are thrilled with the generosity and have expressed their gratitude for the money which will ensure the event will take place.

"We congratulate the Australian Jockey Club on this achievement after the disruption of the equine flu," a WYD spokesperson said.

"A minimum of disruption was always our intention, and we are also happy that there will be legacy items for the future."

Deputy Premier John Watkins defended the State Government's multi-million dollar contribution of the $40 million-plus, saying that the event was worth at least $150 million to NSW

Previously, $35 million had already been committed by Prime Minister John Howard towards security and visa costs.

The Archdiocese of Sydney is paying $15-20million towards the event, but there will also be funds from corporate partners and from pilgrims who are paying part of their own costs.

Archbishop Cardinal George Pell had said the event would almost certainly cost more than $100million.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys said the anger had subsided while the vice-president of the NSW Trainers Association, John O'Shea, described the result as "acceptable".

World Youth Day will run from 15-20 July. The highlight will be the first visit to Australia of Pope Benedict XVI. His overnight vigil Mass at Randwick, which will close the event, is expected to draw up to 500,000 pilgrims from here and overseas.

Federal and NSW Government support for racing industry welcome (WYD Media release, 15/11/07)
Taxpayers' $95m bill for World Youth Day (SMH, 16/11/07)
$100m for Pope's big day at the races (The Australian, 16/11/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day 2008
Australian Jockey Club

Vatican delegation arrive for WYD (CathNews 16/10/07)
Randwick still unconfirmed for WYD (CathNews 08/10/07)
Bishops offer help but Pell has "no idea", AJC gripes(CathNews 05/10/07)
WYD construction an equine flu risk: Randwick trainers (CathNews 20/09/07)
WYD registrations exceeding expectations (CathNews 04/09/07)

11 Jan 2008