The former Labor government spent $2.9 million of taxpayer funds on advertising campaigns to promote its own 2017-18 State Budget, in what’s been described as a ‘desperate last-ditch attempt to cling to power’.
The former Labor government spent $1.5 million on its ‘Growing Jobs Today’ campaign, $470,000 on its ‘Jobs Accelerator Grant’ campaign, and $922,000 on the ‘JOBEX jobs event’ campaign.
Treasurer Rob Lucas said Labor’s ‘Growing Jobs Today’’ – featuring ads on commercial television, radio and regional newspapers – included $539,000 being spent on production costs and $51,000 on research.
“The shameful waste of South Australians’ hard-earned money by former treasurer Tom Koutsantonis and Labor was nothing short of scandalous,’’ said Treasurer Lucas.
“To spend $2.9 million of taxpayers’ dollars on blatant self-promotion, under the guise of jobs campaigns, smacks of a desperate last-ditch attempt to cling to power.
“That sort of money could employ another 15 nurses or teachers for a year, or pay for four years of an extended women’s domestic violence crisis hotline, which is what we’ve committed to.
“This is just another example of the kind of financial mess we’ve been left to clean up.”
In addition to the enormous advertising spend, the former Labor government flagrantly ignored the expert advice of its own treasury officials and shelled out $5.48 million in taxpayer-funded jobs grants and another $23.6 million in loans to businesses, some of which had been evaluated as ‘high risk’.
As many as 7 companies that either failed grant criteria or Labor’s own due diligence checks – on the basis of a poor balance sheet, high cost per job and overall risk to taxpayers – were subsequently given taxpayer funds anyway.
Treasurer Lucas said the Government accepted that any government was entitled to undertake some budget related advertising but that it should be ‘modest’ in size.
“The new Government will not be spending any taxpayer funds on commercial television or radio for this budget but will possibly undertake modest expenditure promoting the new payroll tax policy in the new year,” said Treasurer Lucas.