Needless to say, I am no fan of the government’s election commitment to provide $16 million to Cadbury for tourism promotion or something (money is fungible, by the way, Joe and Tony – it is a handout to the company).
But let’s get real, taxpayer money is being shovelled out the door all the time, courtesy of bureaucrats’ recommendations and in line with the political attractiveness of the propositions. (Hint: this is a key reasons for having fewer public servants – fewer wacky ideas and proposals for spending money.)
I just spent a few minutes going through the Budget papers and came across some real doozies, which either directly or indirectly are handouts to private businesses and private individuals.
Here’s a flavour:
- $21.6 million for the filming of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea: Captain Nemo
- $14.5 million for Cricket World Cup assistance
- $21 million for Arts Training Organisations
- $9.3 million extra for 6 (favs with the Labor government, no doubt) major performing arts companies
- $5 million for the Townsville Convention and Entertainment Centre
- $100 million for Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program
- $140 million ANZAC Centenary Program and another $7.5 million for local grants.
And the list goes on and on and on.
The real point is that there is reckless spending all over the place and the sums of money are truly enormous. The Coalition government could really make some headway by getting rid of all this stuff – but I am not holding my breath.
The list will look different but there will still be a long list of unworthy items of government spending.