POLL: How motorsport affects your election vote

South Australian Supercars drivers Todd Hazelwood, Nick Percat, and Scott Pye, with the state’s Opposition Leader, Peter Malinauskas. Picture: Todd Hazelwood Twitter

With the South Australian Opposition firming up its commitment to bring back the Adelaide 500, we ask how motorsport affects another of your votes, in this week’s Pirtek Poll.

Both of the major parties had motorsport announcements to make in South Australia during the weekend just passed, with Sunday’s regarding the Supercars Hall of Fame event following news that The Bend is receiving $2 million of government funding towards construction of its new, $30 million drag strip.

Whether the timing of either was mere coincidence or not, Labor leader Peter Malinauskas seized on the Adelaide 500 as a political issue almost as soon as the bombshell that it had been axed was dropped by the government and its tourism commission.

Days after that October 2020 announcement, Malinauskas was on a plane to Sydney to sign a memorandum of understanding with Supercars that the event would be revived should he lead his party back into office at the next election.

By the end of the year, there was also a commitment to reversing the funding cut which led to the cancellation of the Adelaide Motorsport Festival, and then the slamming of the sale of Adelaide 500 infrastructure as “sabotage”.

The Opposition Leader also hit out at a report last October that local councillors were advocating to tear up the permanent section of the circuit, and told Speedcafe.com late last year that a 2022 comeback for the Adelaide 500 is possible, notwithstanding that would occur just months after South Australians go to the polls.

Since then, Malinauskas has also promised to re-establish the South Australian Motor Sport Board, which is regarded as having played a pivotal role in the event’s success but was closed by the most recent Labor administration as part of a broader efficiency drive, and provide grants to car clubs.

With all that in mind, the key news in yesterday’s statement was a date, with 2022 reaffirmed, but specifically December 1-4.

It did, however, give the opposition a key announceable, just weeks out from the election on March 19.

While there is generally a myriad of issues up for consideration whenever the public heads to the ballot box, Malinauskas clearly believes that the Adelaide 500 is a vote-winner.

That may not be the case just for motorsport fans, but also those who benefit from the spillovers which an event generates, such as hotel nights and restaurant patronage.

Indeed, Labor’s announcement stated that the 2019 Adelaide 500 injected $45.9 million into the state’s economy, attracted 15,200 interstate and overseas visitors, and supported 435 full-time jobs.

Furthermore, a study prepared for Motorsport Australia and released last year found that motorsport generates total gross annual output of $8.6 billion in the Australian economy.

Melbourne’s Australian Grand Prix has been generously funded under both Labor and Liberal governments

It is worth noting, however, that while a Liberal government gave the Adelaide 500 the chop, it is another Liberal government which supports Supercars’ New South Wales events, including the Bathurst 12 Hour.

It was also a Liberal Premier, Jeff Kennett, who helped lure Formula 1 to Victoria, where the Australian Grand Prix continues to be funded to the tune of tens of millions of dollars per year under a Labor administration.

Last weekend’s Race Tasmania event was supported by the Apple Isle’s state government, a Liberal one, while Supercars’ Hidden Valley event is promoted by the Northern Territory Major Events Company in a jurisdiction which tends to vote in Labor governments.

The point is, there is not a clean dichotomy with respect to the major parties’ support, or otherwise, of motorsport.

So, how does it affect you at election time? Do motorsport-related promises sway the way you vote?

Tell us how you would decide on that vote by casting another in this week’s Pirtek Poll.

Pirtek Poll

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