Raising Bushfire Aid, But Sending Us The Bill: Is The Royal Visit Worth The Cost?
Australian taxpayers are likely to foot a bill in the hundreds of thousands of dollars when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embark on their bushfire recovery tour.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet told 10 daily that it's customary for Australians to pay for Royal visits, but said it couldn't estimate the cost of Prince William's and Kate's trip until it was officially confirmed.
"Associated costs of a royal visit are usually covered by the host nation. These include transport, accommodation and other relevant logistics. Any Government expenditure meets official procurement guidelines," a spokesperson said.
Despite Australians paying for the visit, the bushfire tour will reportedly be aimed at encouraging financial support for victims and volunteer firefighters.
The Australian Monarchist League told 10 daily the visit would be a "great morale boost for the towns and communities ravaged by the recent bushfire crisis".
The couple didn't tour immediately after the fires as they didn't want to divert resources to a royal tour, according to Nine's papers.
When Wills and Kate visited for just 10 days in 2014, Australians forked out $474, 137, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet said.
Australians also paid $410,579 for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s 16-day tour in 2018, it confirmed.
Harry and Meghan's VIP flights alone amounted to a bill of $58,000, according to information released under Freedom of Information laws.
The Queen's visit to Australia in 2011 -- one of the most expensive on record -- cost Australians $1.74 million.
While Prince William's solo trip the same year, following the devastating Queensland floods, cost Australians a total $92,073.
The Royals should be "paying their own way like any other celebrity and not relying on the money of Australian tax payers", National Director of the Australian Republican Movement Sandy Biar said.
He doesn't believe there's full transparency about the actual costs of Royal visits, with estimates leaving out taxes and other hidden charges.
"The costs are extreme and there isn’t full transparency about the additional costs of security, flights and GST. Those figures released are probably a fraction of the actual cost of the visit," Biar told 10 daily.
Biar believes the money that the trip would potentially raise would be the same as any other high profile celebrity.
"Those celebrities could do the same and they wouldn't be charging the Australian public. What this trip does highlight is the cost of having the monarchy," he said.
Brant Rippon, chairman of the ALM Queensland Branch, told 10 daily paying for a Royals tour was no different from covering the cost of heads of state from other nations.
"Our Royal Family is of tremendous value, particularly since Australia does not pay for the day-to-day upkeep of the Royal Family, but receives in return a stable form of governance -- one that can’t be beaten," Rippon said.
"The visit of Prince William and Kate will promote Australia to millions around the world, so I think it’s safe to assume we’ll get a great return on investment -- both financially and in spirit."
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