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Couta Boats corporate knees-up cancelled as bushfires rage

One of the premier events on Australia’s corporate calendar, the Couta Boat Classic, has been cancelled out of respect for communities affected by deadly bushfires raging across Victoria and NSW.

A who’s-who of Australia’s business elite were expected at the annual event in Sorrento, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, on Friday to eat, drink, race boats and share their views on issues affecting business and the economy.

Peter Costello is a big sailing fan but this year there will be no Couta Boat Classic for the former treasurer.

Peter Costello is a big sailing fan but this year there will be no Couta Boat Classic for the former treasurer. Credit:Pat Scala

But organiser KPMG said on Thursday it was not appropriate for the event to go ahead given the disastrous fires still raging in eastern Australia. There have been seven confirmed deaths in NSW, 17 people are missing in Victoria and more than a thousand homes have been destroyed.

The decision was made “out of respect for bushfire affected communities”, and also took into consideration “the expectation of worsening weather conditions tomorrow and over the weekend”, a KPMG spokeswoman said.

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