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Fate uncertain: City of Melbourne to vote on future of Melbourne Cup parade

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The City of Melbourne will next week debate whether or not the council should stop celebrating the Melbourne Cup and cease funding for the Melbourne Cup parade.

Councillor Rohan Leppert, Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Arts, Culture and Heritage portfolio, will put forward the motion at a council meeting on Tuesday.

The Greens councillor said the move has been promoted by messages he’s received from the community.

“We’ve never had this debate as a community before, and I have so many ratepayers and constituents contacting me saying ‘why is the city of Melbourne paying to stage the Melbourne Cup parade? Why are we funding events that celebrate or involve horse racing, after everything we know, particularly in the last month, about the systemic cruelty and wastage that’s produced by the horse racing industry?”, he told 3AW’s Tom Elliott.

Councillor Leppert said he believes many Melburnians would prefer to see taxpayer funds spent on other events.

“I think that the City of Melbourne event funding, remember that this is funds that come from our ratepayers, shouldn’t include events that celebrate or involve horse racing among those events that we fund,” he said.

“The industry has shown that it hasn’t been able to get its house in order, and the government has shown that it hasn’t been able to regulate the industry.”

The councillor said the economic flow on effects the Melbourne Cup parade has on the city are exaggerated.

“I do think the economic arguments around the benefits of the parade itself are wildly overstated, given how hollowed out the city is on that Monday before the Cup,” he said.

Councillor Leppert said he’s not sure how his motion will fare at the council meeting next week.

“I’m not actually sure which way the result will go, but I’m looking forward to the debate,” he said.

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Image: Jenny Evans / Stringer

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