Taxpayers deserve answers on air race liquidation

14th March 2023

The UK-based company which promised to bring the Air Race World Championship to Lake Macquarie has gone into liquidation, leaving local creditors and taxpayers with an estimated $1.6m in accumulated losses.

Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper said the collapse of Air Race Limited (ARL) has raised a number of questions about why so much taxpayer money was handed to organisers before anything had left the tarmac.

“At least $1 million in taxpayer funds were handed to ARL in 2021 to lock in rights for the event on Lake Macquarie,” Mr Piper said.

“That company used local businesses to begin planning and promotion, but few were paid and they’re now down an estimated $600,000.

“Last year, the UK-based ARL and an associated US-based company called Touchpoint Group announced that the air race would be postponed due to the Covid pandemic, but we now discover that ARL went into liquidation more than six months ago, leaving a complex and questionable trail of companies behind.

“State funds for these types of events are always welcome but I seriously question whether the Government agencies or indeed Lake Macquarie City Council’s economic development arm Dantia did satisfactory due diligence on this event and the string of associated companies.

“Local creditors often take on work for these projects because they have State Government backing and funding and can be confident that they’d get paid. They’re now out of pocket and deserve an explanation.

“NSW taxpayers and local ratepayers also deserve to know what due diligence was done before that $1m was handed over, how much this collapse has cost them, and if any of it can be recovered.”

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