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Neil Mitchell: Victorians have been ‘misled’ over Australian Open quarantine funding

Article image for Neil Mitchell: Victorians have been ‘misled’ over Australian Open quarantine funding

Neil Mitchell believes Victorians have been “misled” about state funding for the Australian Open.

Speaking on air yesterday, Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said the state government would “absolutely” be picking up part of the bill for quarantining players, support staff and officials in Melbourne for the tournament.

But the state government denied that and Tennis Australia later issued a statement saying “Tennis Australia is funding the AO quarantine program. The Victorian Government support relates to ongoing discussions about funding for an extension to the agreement to host the AO in Melbourne”.

Premier Daniel Andrews today doubled down on denial that the state government is directly funding the quarantine program.

“If you are somebody associated with the Australian Open, it’s not the government that’s paying your quarantine … the tennis world is paying for that,” he said at a press conference.

But Neil Mitchell thinks Victorians are being “misled”.

“They expect you to believe the man who runs the Australian Open didn’t know who and how they were paying for hotel quarantine!,” the 3AW Mornings host said.

“Come on, that would’ve been one of the first questions.

“They’ve played word games.

“This is the question that has to be asked — ‘Will they give Tennis Australia extra money this year?’

“They will, of course. It won’t specifically be earmarked for hotel quarantine, but that’s where it will go. It will go towards paying their bills.

“Taxpayers will be giving money to help, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“I think it’s creative accounting.”

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