Yes, Costs of a Royal Visit are High, but the Benefits are Far Higher
Trying to find relevance in the face of no plebiscite and no referendum, republicans are going on about the cost of the Royal Australian Air Force flights for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their support staff during their visit to Australia in October last year to attend, open and close the Invictus Games.
The figures released by the Department of Defence revealed that there were 15 RAAF flights which cost the Australian taxpayer $57,663 equating to $3844 per flight for the Duke and Duchess and the support staff who accompanied them, or sometimes for the staff alone.
Seemingly a huge amount but upon investigation the cost for each flight is roughly the same as the cost for flying Federal ministers and other VIPs. Furthermore, in view of the number of people transported in these flights, the cost would probably be around the same or even cheaper than commercial flights.
The Department of Defence figures show that the total cost of 520 RAAF VIP flights for the six-month period 1 July to 31 December 2018 was a staggering $3,731,790.
For those of us who have to search for the cheapest possible flight for any trip we make, $3844 per flight appears to be a huge amount, but we shouldn’t forget that it was our Australian Federal & State governments who lobbied for the Invictus Games to be held in Australia, it was they who invited the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as official guests and thus their responsibility to pay for transport, accommodation and other costs. It was also our State and federal governments who benefited from the enormous profits made, directly and indirectly, from both the holding of the Games and the extremely popular royal visit.
Compared to the cost of government VIP travel, the amount spent on couriering the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their party around to events organised by the government, was actually tremendous value, particularly since Australia does not pay a fee to have members of the royal family on official visits. Visits, I might add, which always draw huge crowds, much to the chagrin of our republican friends.
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