NSW AUDITOR-GENERAL SLAMS LIBERAL AD SPEND FOR ILL-FATED COUNCIL MERGERS AND GREYHOUND BAN

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The multi-million dollar ad campaigns for council mergers and the greyhound ban did not deliver value for money, were inaccurate and failed to meet the Government’s own guidelines, according to an independent report out today. 

The NSW Auditor-General has examined the ‘Stronger Councils, Stronger Communities’ and the ‘Dogs deserve better’ campaigns which the Government rushed out last year in an attempt sell the people of NSW on the ill-fated policies.

The report also reveals the true costs of the ads at $4.5 million and $1.3 million respectively (see table).

Two statements about the greyhound industry were found to be “inaccurate” – something the public should not expect in a taxpayer-funded public awareness campaign.

Auditor-General Margaret Crawford concludes that both campaigns “potentially compromised value for money” as a result of “the perceived urgency to advertise”. This is despite urgency normally being reserved for a “civil emergency or sudden health epidemic”.

The ads used “subjective or emotive messages” and confronting imagery which were inconsistent with the requirement to use “objective presentation” – breaching the Government’s own guidelines.

The report indicates that the cost of the council merger ads likely blew out due to mismanagement, stating that the quotes for the design “did not reflect the full scale of work to be undertaken” and the department did not meet the “recommended timeframes to minimise media booking costs”.

The greyhound ban radio ads also “did not clearly identify that they were authorised by the New South Wales Government during the first few days on air” and were not clearly identifiable to the community.

Premier Berejiklian must implement the Auditor-General’s recommendations made to her for future advertising campaigns, to improve transparency and value for money.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: NSW Auditor General’s report - Government Advertising: 2015-16 and 2016-17 

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“These were dud policies from the beginning and taxpayer money shouldn’t have been wasted trying to sell them.

“The proof is in the pudding – the Liberal Government backed down on both of these bungled policies.

“The Government has been caught out lying to the public through ads that were a complete waste of money.”

Quotes attributable to Deputy Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister for Gaming and Racing Michael Daley

“This is just typical behaviour of the Liberal Government.

“They think the rules never apply to them and the fact the taxpayer funds were used and wasted in an attempt to cheat the system means nothing to them.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Local Government Peter Primrose

“This is public money wasted by the Liberals and Nationals to publicise a dog’s breakfast of a policy that no one wanted.

“There are so many other urgent priorities where this money could have been spent – in our hospitals, in our schools, in our TAFEs or helping our cash strapped local councils provide services for local residents.

“Premier Berejiklian approved this waste of money when she was Treasurer. At the very least she should apologise to the people of NSW.”