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Australian taxpayers will pay $2.7 million for Oprah Winfrey's trip down under

14

September

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While it was all exciting and outrageous that Oprah Winfrey said Monday that she'd take her audience to Australia, don't go thinking the billionaire paid for it herself. No, that will cost taxpayers about $2.7 million. Hey, how do you think she became a billionaire?

O told her adoring fans the news on the premiere episode of her show's final season, which aired Monday (watch it below). It wasn't until Tuesday that Australian tourism minister Martin Ferguson revealed that it's really a ploy by the tourism board to promote the country, to the tune of $1.5 million from Tourism Australia's marketing budget and the rest from the state government of New South Wales, where Sydney is located, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

"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," Ferguson said. "I think it's money well spent."

Winfrey will record a couple episodes of her show while in Sydney this December, the first time she's ever taped outside of the U.S. About 3,000 Australian fans will be invited to the Sydney Opera House to listen in. Will they win trips to Chicago?

Ferguson asked Aussies to not be cynical about the cost, saying it's money that was allotted anyway. When you stop and think about it, every book on her reading list becomes a bestseller and she's got her own network coming up, so Oz should get ready for an invasion of middle-aged professional women seeking fulfillment in their lives. We suggest starting with a trip to the outback to find a drover who looks like Hugh Jackman.

[Photo: AP]

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[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 3:30pm]

    

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