With less than half the projected 'pilgrim numbers now likely to turn up, the Iemma Government's decision to go all the way with il papa and Cardinal Pell is likely to see New South Wales further in debt after the Catholic Church World Youth Day held in Sydney over 5 days of official events in July.
The only question seems to be; will the debt be larger than the reported $24 million that Toronto, Canada was left holding after it hosted this event in 2002.
The Daily Telegraph
THE State Government was forced last night to introduce legislation to appropriate an extra $400 million after finding itself short on cash to pay the bills.
Treasurer Michael Costa has asked Parliament to approve a transfer of funds to pay for "unforeseen" expenses over the past year.
They included horse flu, drought, new hospital beds, allowances for foster carers and $140 million to pay off rail debt.
Mr Costa claimed it was nothing out of the ordinary, calling it a "top up".
THE arrival of Pope Benedict in Sydney for World Youth Day is looming as an unholy disaster for the luxury hotels of Sydney.
Top-end hotels and businesses are reeling from the huge shortfall in predicted numbers. Domestic tourists are also reluctant to take holidays in Sydney because of the expected disruption to roads. One five-star hotel set aside 1000 beds and has not received one booking.
The NSW government has defended its decision to spend $86 million on World Youth Day, saying it would bring international attention to Sydney at a fraction of the cost of the Olympics.
The NSW government's spokeswoman for World Youth Day, Kristina Keneally, said the government would spend $86 million to support the event, compared to the $390 million it provided for the Olympics.
This figure [$86 million] does not include taxpayers' $42 million compensation payment - shared between federal and state governments - to the racing industry for use of Randwick racecourse as the venue for the closing papal Mass.
Sydney's deputy Lord Mayor says parts of Hyde Park will be closed for three months after World Youth Day to repair the damage caused by thousands of pilgrims using the area.
Tony Pooley says the northern part of the park will be affected by the heavy pedestrian traffic during World Youth Day events in mid-July.
Councillor Pooley says the rehabilitation cost of $100,000 is minimal when considering how much money the event will inject into the state's economy.---
"The Catholic Church has asked us to pay for those costs," he said.
Welcome to the World Youth Day 2008 HomeStay program.
This is your chance to play an important and rewarding role in Sydney's hosting of the world's biggest youth event.
We are asking Homestay Hosts to volunteer to host pilgrims from overseas - or from outside Sydney - from 14 July to 21 July 2008.
Pilgrims will be 18 years or older. Homestay Hosts are asked to provide bed and breakfast (cold or hot) on a complimentary basis.