Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas today accused the Weatherill Government of an “obscene waste of money” after it was revealed they were spending $13.6 million on public servants to distribute $15 million in grants to businesses.
Evidence to the Budget and Finance Committee this week has revealed the Weatherill Government is spending $4.9 million this year on 30 staff in the new Investment Attraction Agency to administer $5 million in grants to businesses. Next year the Weatherill Government is proposing to spend $8.3 million on 40 staff to administer $10 million in grants to businesses.
“So over a two year period the Weatherill Government will actually spend $13.6 million to distribute $15 million!” said Mr Lucas.
“With policies like this it is not surprising that South Australia continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the nation.
“The Investment Attraction Agency was announced in a blaze of publicity by the Weatherill Government as a response to South Australia’s nation-high unemployment rate.
“This agency is managed by a board which includes members who are based in Beijing, New York and London. It is impossible to understand how any Government could believe it needs more than 40 public servants to distribute $15 million in grants to businesses.
“DSD executives told the Budget and Finance Committee $8 million of the $15 million had already been committed to only 4 businesses. So it is not as if the 40 staff have been, or will be, processing hundreds of applications for businesses for the remaining funds.
“Those families facing continuing cuts in critical hospital and school services will be distressed by this massive waste of taxpayers’ money.
“This is an appalling example of ‘empire building’ by Ministers and bureaucrats and is yet another example of the financial mismanagement and incompetence of the Weatherill Government.”