WYD public cost $139 million

The New South Wales government has budgeted $60.7 million for World Youth Day expenses next financial year bringing total confirmed public funding for the event to $139 million.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the NSW Government figures show the cost to taxpayers of providing police security for Pope Benedict and 225,000 pilgrims during World Youth Day will top $15 million.

Extra public buses and train services and traffic management will cost about $27 million.

The Government yesterday provided a further breakdown of its World Youth Day expenses after disclosing it had allocated $60.7 million next financial year to fund government operations and services for the global gathering of Catholic youth.

The $60.7 million comes on top of $75.9 million that will have been spent by the time the Pope arrives on his first visit to Australia, and the $3 million in start up costs to establish the World Youth Day Coordination Authority.

This brings the total budgeted cost of World Youth Day to $139 million, including $20.5 million in Federal Government funding. The Catholic Church will contribute $10 million towards preparations for the pilgrims' sleepover and closing Papal Mass at Randwick Racecourse.

Of the $60.7 million to be spent, the bulk, $49 million, will pay for government services including extra rail and bus services, health, ambulance and fire services, overnight accommodation in about 412 public schools and coordination of traffic networks.

The rest will be spent as part of a $43 million agreement signed with the Australian Jockey Club, giving the church access to Randwick Racecourse.

The Government maintains the economic benefits of World Youth Day could exceed $180 million.

SOURCE

Pope's visit will cost taxpayers $139m (Sydney Morning Herald, 4/6/08)

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