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Monday, July 24, 2000
Sydney Olympic budget criticized

  SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- The state government contends expenses for the Sydney Olympics were budgeted too low.

  Organizers should have been better informed about the need for larger contingency funds, the New South Wales state parliament found in an inquiry. Organizers received an additional $82 million last month.

  "The committee holds the view that SOCOG should have set aside a larger amount for contingencies from April 2000 onwards," the inquiry report said.

  The financial rescue package came just after the state budget claimed the Sept. 15-Oct. 1 Olympics and the Paralympics had been completely paid for.

  The inquiry was also critical of organizers for cancelling a regular board meeting in May, when the deterioration in finances should have been highlighted.

  All members of the parliamentary inquiry endorsed its findings, although three of the seven members dissented. They said the investigation should have further examined the SOCOG administration.

  This was the third financial bailout for SOCOG in four months, including almost $59 million in grants announced in the state budget.

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