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Tuesday, May 23, 2000
Sydney Games completely paid for

  SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- The Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games have been completely paid for with the presentation today of the annual budget in New South Wales state.

  Olympics Minister Michael Knight said each venue had been delivered on or ahead of schedule and on budget.

  "The completed facilities will now provide permanent jobs in the hospitality and services area as these facilities are not just for the Olympic Games - they will be a permanent legacy to the people of New South Wales," he said.

  Government officials said the net cost of staging both the Olympics and Paralympics over the 10-year construction period increased by nearly 100 million Australian dollars ($89.6 million Cdn) to 1.37 billion ($1.2 million Cdn).

  State treasuer Michael Egan said the last payment on the final permanent Olympic facility, a 633,000-Australian-dollars ($564.3 million Cdn) cheque for the Ryde Aquatic Center, would be made Wednesday.

  "Paying for the Olympics up-front was not easy -- it was hard work," Egan said in his budget speech.

  "But now it is done, and as a result the permanent legacy for all Australians will be all benefit and no burden."

  Since 1990-91, construction work totalling 3.35 billion Australian dollars ($3 billion Cdn) was undertaken at the main Olympic site at Homebush Bay and other satellite venues.

  The Paralympic Games are not expected to make a profit. The cost of staging the Paralympics has been revised to 158 million Australian dollars ($141.5 million Cdn).

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