Minister Slams Oprah's $2.7 Million Australia Trip
9/16/2010 1:00pm EDT
Oprah Winfrey's decision to treat 300 fans with tickets for an all-inclusive trip to Australia has angered one of the country's top ministers - he's fuming the $2.7 million bill has landed on the tourism department.
The TV titan delighted her audience members on Monday by announcing they would be treated to a trip to Sydney in December to celebrate her 25th and final season of the Oprah show.
The state of New South Wales and Australia's tourism department is paying the staggering $2.7 million bill for the jaunt, insisting the trip will lure a huge amount of visitors to their shores.
Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson explains, "I think it's money well spent. This truly represents an amazing opportunity to showcase Australia, the warmth and hospitality of our people and the depth and breadth of everything our country has to offer visitors from around the world."
But his West Australian counterpart, Liz Constable, has reacted with fury at news of the massive bill - which she only found out about as it was announced earlier this week.
She says, "I have spoken to the federal minister Martin Ferguson about this and expressed my disgust with the way Tourism Australia has handled this situation."