Victorians paid $1 million a year to host The Logies in Melbourne, and now the funding is gone celebrities are furious

Samuel Johnson poses with the Gold Logie Award for Best Personality On Australian TV during the 59th Annual Logie Awards at Crown Palladium on April 23, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Australian television industry’s annual awards, The Logies, have been going for nearly 60 years. And for the last 20 years, the annual knees up for the industry has been held in the ballroom at Melbourne’s Crown hotel.

It’s broadcast on Nine, and the event itself is owned by Bauer Media, publishers of TV Week. In the glory days of media, the whole thing had a nice synergy because billionaire Kerry Packer owned the TV station, casino and the publishing company, but nowadays, everyone’s just trying to turn a buck.

So news on the weekend that Victorian tourism and major events minister John Eren was pulling the plug on $1 million in funding to support the annual awards night came as a shock on two fronts – not many taxpayers knew they were paying for highly paid celebrities to enjoy a night out, and the industry itself, with Nine’s Karl Stefanovic leading the charge, is furious with the Victorian government about the decision.

“We’re proud to have been home to the Logies for more than 30 years, but it’s time to pass on the baton,” Eren told The Herald Sun.

He said the government handed over the cash for “sentimental reasons” and decided to cut the funding for 2018 following a “comprehensive event analysis”.

Put simply, the Logies didn’t deliver the tourism dollars the government was seeking.

“We’re looking at value for money when you spend taxpayers’ dollars and you want maximum return on those dollars,” Eren said.

“It’s time to attract some events that will actually bring lots of dollars to our state.”

All but five of the 59 Logies nights have been held in Melbourne and there’s no reason why the awards couldn’t stay there assuming Bauer Media can make the numbers stack up.

But already there are rumours Brisbane or the Gold Coast could dangle enough cash to poach the awards.

In May this year, NSW major events minister Adam Marshall said Destination NSW had put in a bid to host the Logies in Tamworth in 2018, sharing it with Dubbo over three years.

And in the meantime, a bunch of celebrities are fuming.

Showbiz legend and regular Logies host Bert Newton said the awards “belong in Melbourne”.

“In my mind it’s like losing the AFL Grand Final or the Melbourne Cup,” he said.

Today Show host Karl Stefanovic, who’s reportedly paid $2 million a year, has turned his morning after the Logies exploits on the show into the stuff of larrikin legend.

And Stefanovic was so angry about the “disgusting” decision this morning he couldn’t even get the premier’s name right as he threatened to boycott the event.

“Kevin Andrews has lost the plot completely. For $1 million, the advertising Victoria gets is second to none. You may as well have the Ekka in Perth. You may as well have the Hamilton Island race week on Fitzroy Island,” he said.

Kevin Andrews is a federal government MP. Daniel Andrews is the Victorian premier.

Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate also weighed in on the chances of his city, which is currently getting ready to host the Commonwealth Games next year, hosting the Logies, saying he’d already spoken to Queensland’s tourism minister Kate Jones about it.

“To have the Logies here, it would send the message right throughout Australia to remind them why the Gold Coast is the capital of tourism in our country,” he said

“I could turn around and say that it’s fitting because it’s a tacky industry coming to a tacky city, it goes hand-in-hand.”

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