Melbourne: Oprah Winfrey will be treated like a foreign dignitary on her visit to Australia.
The talk show host will be given personal protection and police escort vehicles as she travels through Sydney, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Senior police sources have confirmed that the Federal Government has awarded Winfrey the honour of being a ‘formal guest of government,’ allowing her a government security detail and police escort vehicles.
There is also the prospect of road closures on December 14, the day her show is hosted at the Opera House, with the NSW Government indicating the police are in discussions with the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority about how her show will be managed.
Winfrey, who is expected to arrive in Australia next week, is likely to stay at the Intercontinental Hotel or the Shangri-La—the two highest-security hotels in Sydney.
A spokeswoman for NSW Premier Kristina Keneally said details of the cost of Winfrey`s trip to taxpayers were ‘yet to be finalised’.
“The NSW Police Force and NSW government agencies are working closely together to ensure the visit and associated events take place without incident,” said a spokeswoman for Police Minister Michael Daley.
But Winfrey appears intent on testing the tight security arrangements.
“She wants to immerse herself in the Aussie culture and she thinks the best way to do that is live with a family and sit down to dinner with them by the barbecue, play a bit of backyard cricket and experience their lifestyle,” said a source.