A $40 million taxpayer-funded compensation package to the horseracing industry has pushed the costs of Sydney's upcoming World Youth Day close to $100 million, The Australian reports.
The agreement confirms Randwick racecourse as the site of World Youth Day’s overnight vigil and Papal Mass.
Negotiations with Randwick trainers and horse owners over lost race revenues, the stabling of horses, and the necessity of renovating the site for the event were quite heated over the last several months.
However, Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys said the anger had subsided and the vice-president of the NSW Trainers Association, John O'Shea, described the result as "acceptable".
"The best result for us was always that World Youth Day was not going to be held at Randwick," Mr O'Shea said.
The costs will cover the relocation of some 700 horses to other racetracks and the refurbishment of the site after World Youth Day ends.
The Archdiocese of Sydney is paying between $15 and $20 million towards the event, while funds from corporate partners and pilgrims will also help defray the costs. The federal government is paying $55 million for the event, while the state government is dedicating $20 million.
Australian government officials hope for $150 million in economic benefits from the event, which may attract 100,000 foreign visitors.
World Youth Day events will begin July 15. As many as 500,000 people are expected for the Papal Mass.