By ERWIN CHLANDA
The next six Red CentreNATS will cost the taxpayer $1.3m each, according a spokesman for Chief Minister Adam Giles who announced a deal to stage the annual event until 2021.
Started last year the NATS feature drag racing and displays of custom-built vehicles restored or manufactured by motoring enthusiasts.
But Mr Giles justifies the spending of public funds with 2015 income and attendance figures which were shown to be in error.
He repeats the unsubstantiated claim that last years fixture had “over 13,500 spectators” whereas that figure related to the attendance numbers at various functions, by an undisclosed number of people. They were holders of tickets admitting individuals to as many as five venues.
Also, comparisons with spend figures from last year did not stack up with comparisons with the Finke Desert Race.
This casts doubt on the claim by Mr Giles last week: “In 2015 visitors to the Red CentreNATS provided a massive boost for local business by spending $16m during their stay.”
However, this year “there will be even more excitement, colour and noise as around 100 bikes from the Harley Owner Groups (HOG) rumble into town and join the Red CentreNATS for the first time,” according to a spokesman for Summernats, which run the similar event in Canberra and are associated with the Red CentreNATS on September 2 to 4.
Says Mr Giles: “The success of the Red CentreNATS will only grow in size and sit alongside existing iconic Territory events such as the V8 Supercars and Fink Desert race.
“The Red CentreNATS showcases the very best in street machines, elite show cars, hot rods, classics, exotics and supercars, with something for every car enthusiast young and old.”
By ERWIN CHLANDA