Former Victorian Prime Minister Jeff Kennett has said Victoria is “shrinking within her own community” and could lose her title as the sports capital after the shocking cancellation of the Grand Prix in the state.

The Victorian government confirmed yesterday that the Australian F1 Grand Prix and Phillip Island Moto GP have been called off, with officials blaming the move on the slow rollout of vaccines by the federal government and capped international arrivals.

But former Liberal state premier Jeff Kennett said the constant cancellation of events was hurting the state.

“The people associated with these major events, and it’s not just the athletes, it’s the people who provide catering, it’s the people who maintain the stands – we are losing, losing so much economic activity,” he said. he told ABC News Breakfast. .

“We are depressing the community and of course we are destroying our reputation as the sports capital, not only of Australia but of the world in terms of what we have been able to offer in the past.

“We cannot continue on this path which just says that until everyone is vaccinated we are going to close our borders because at that point, whatever the time, Victoria will be the bucket of rust in the world. ‘Australia.”

The Australian Grand Prix was canceled last year as the global pandemic struck and was postponed from March until later in the year in 2021.

Albert Part’s Formula 1 race was scheduled to take place on November 21 while the Moto GP was scheduled for October 24.

Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula said the government was working on plans for the 2022 event.

Mr Kennett said it was “stupid” to schedule the event for November and should have been postponed until March or April of next year.

“It’s just deeply disappointing that everyone is saying, ‘Let’s get out of this pandemic, give and make economic activity, give people something to enjoy’ and yet we are shrinking again, ‘a- he declared.

“Victoria is literally shrinking within her own community.”

Mr Kennett said better planning for major events in the state was needed and proposed new quarantine protocols ahead of the Australian Open.

Mr Kennett said international players who had been fully vaccinated should not have to be quarantined if they tested negative before and after their flight into the country.

“I suspect that a lot of top tennis players will not submit to an additional 14 days of quarantine,” he said.

“So unless we have a more flexible protocol or unless we are vaccinated, I think there is a real risk that the Tennis Open will be downsized or canceled.”

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