Putting Cadbury in perspective

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.

 

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24 Responses to Putting Cadbury in perspective

  1. Tel

    No one knows how much went to the Olympics.

    Then there was the Pope visit soon after.

  2. I hate this stuff as well. But I think it’s left in place, based on the tea-and-biscuits principle.

    In any government department – or I suppose in any business – if you want to make cuts, you need to leave the tea and biscuits in place. Because if you cut them, people really feel like the bottom line has been reached. Plus, you don’t make any real saving by cutting them, especially if you’re facing the need to make cuts of the $million-plus variety.

    Whereas, if you leave the ‘small stuff’ in place, people feel reassured and morale is less likely to plummet to suicidal levels.

    Personally I don’t think anything in the range of even ONE million dollars is ‘small stuff’, because it represents around two annual salaries before tax for a couple of nurses or community support workers or even teachers, God bless ‘em.

    But people used to dealing in billions perhaps don’t think quite the same way. It’s one of the problems of institutionalisation in the public sector/government workforce – you lose touch with the people who think a million dollars is a pretty big sum of money still.

  3. Infidel Tiger

    Cricket World Cup assistance?

    WTF? Cricket is overflowing with cash.

  4. ar

    Didn’t we spend $45m in a failed bid to get the soccer World Cup?

  5. You know, P J O’Rourke did this once, famously, with the US budget.

    ◾$21.6 million for the filming of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea: Captain Nemo

    Let ‘em drown.

    ◾$14.5 million for Cricket World Cup assistance

    Like they’re short of a quid?

    ◾$21 million for Arts Training Organisations

    I think that if people have talent, they can figure that out for themselves, can’t they. Or go and learn on the job like everyone else.

    ◾$9.3 million extra for 6 (favs with the Labor government, no doubt) major performing arts companies

    This is simply paying for ALP advertising. It should come out of the ALP budget, not ours.

    ◾$5 million for the Townsville Convention and Entertainment Centre

    A contradiction in terms, if ever there was one. Goodbye!

    ◾$100 million for Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program

    I don’t even want to begin to go into the dog’s breakfast that is the Murray-Darling right now. It’s a river, for crying out loud. Let it run.

    ◾$140 million ANZAC Centenary Program and another $7.5 million for local grants.

    You know what? I’d leave this one, because I like the old diggers. But I’d use it to pay for an overseas holiday for every veteran of WWII still alive and living in Australia today, NOT to line the pockets of bureaucrats and ‘community development officers’.

  6. Nic

    The post makes a nice point. Whilst many of us aren’t comfortable with cash being given to Cadbury, in perspective, a lot of money is given to those who aren’t exactly poor. Cricket Australia for one.

  7. boy on a bike

    FFS – I visited the factory about 10 years ago. It’s a CHOCOLATE factory – you have to beat the tourists off with a stick. The smell was fantastic and it was great to see the huge conching machines in action.

    I don’t eat any Cadbury products, but it was a good tour. Sure, the visitor centre wasn’t very flash (probably last updated in 1950) – but who gives a flying whatever? You’re there to see chocolate being made, not to worry about whether the display cabinets are looking a bit dated.

    If you can’t make a buck selling chocolate in this supposed age of obesity, it’s time to pack up and try something else.

  8. Squirrel

    “Hint: this is a key reasons for having fewer public servants – fewer wacky ideas and proposals for spending money.”

    I think this is very much the moral of the story, and I hope (and trust) that Abbott and Hockey will not waste this crisis – strike while the iron is hot! (and before too many Ministers go native).

    Another old saying which is relevant here (with due deference to Philippa’s wise observations at 11.36am) is “look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves” – the cavalier attitude to “mere” millions, or tens, or hundreds, of other people’s money is shocking. Perhaps the nasty medicine which Senator Abetz reportedly has in store for PS pay negotiations might help to get the Canberra bureaucracy a little more in touch with the financial realities of those whose taxes pay for it all:

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/counselling-offered-to-public-servants-after-pay-talks-20140224-33blk.html

  9. Andrew

    At least we had a chance of getting the CWC. (They tell me there’s a fair bit of economic activity in these things, to the point where they’re self-funding through the tax and GST generated.) Unlike the WWC – even Brazil with 200m wogball players didn’t have the infrastructure to put it on and had to build it (poorly) from scratch.

    Townsville entertainment centre doesn’t sound too outrageous as a grant, considering we granted about 1000x that for school halls that have zero economic value.

    Not as convinced we every get anything from those movie industry grants – it’s not like we keep a % of the royalties (although one would think we should, as a coinvestor).

    In fact, ANYONE asking for $ should be told “sure – it’s a coinvestment though; how much are you putting in?” It becomes the Tony Abbott666 Centre, and the appropriate % of revenues (including food, alcohol and T-shirt sales) go to the govt in return for their generosity.

    You want a gift for your airline? OK, it’s a highly dilutive placement (that’s what even hapless socialist NZ did with AirNZ).

    You can’t afford to bung on a CWC, despite a gazillion $ of handouts a year and all the ticket sales? OK, we’ll be taking the first 10,000 seats sold at each game when we win.

  10. Bruce of Newcastle

    I look at it this way. Cadbury chocolate is the best, all the rest are inferior. Qantas service and value are inferior, all the rest are better. Which am I going to support?

  11. Fred Lenin

    Make all expenditure totally public ,subject All spending to referenda. Limiting politicians to one term in parliament would eliminate professional politicians,and corruption,limit teure of academics and public servants to a few years and keep turnover as they would actually have to work in the real world,that would open a lot of smart buggers eyes. Also stop all donations to political parties or groups with no money they would perish quickly ,when have you ever heard of a pollie doing anything for no gain at all .charities are full of anonymous academics and aparatchiki? I dont think!

  12. Tel

    Make all expenditure totally public ,subject All spending to referenda.

    Sounds good to me. Even either one of those on its own would be excellent.

  13. Tel

    In fact, ANYONE asking for $ should be told “sure – it’s a coinvestment though; how much are you putting in?” It becomes the Tony Abbott666 Centre, and the appropriate % of revenues (including food, alcohol and T-shirt sales) go to the govt in return for their generosity.

    That would be a lender of last resort.

    Walter Bagehot (paraphrase):

    * Lend freely;
    * At higher than market rates;
    * Demand good collateral.

  14. vlad

    I don’t know if this is in the same category, but when I went to see SAVING MR BANKS over summer, a Disney movie telling the story of how Walt Disney made MARY POPPINS, I saw the logo of Screen Australia go up at the end, amid much else, and thought: some of our Australian taxes went to helping DizCorp? I mean, really!

  15. vlad

    it was a lousy movie, by the way

  16. Dave Wane

    I will not be holding my breath either, Judith. The mad spending seems to just roll-on unabated.

  17. Richard Bender

    Judith, you’re making a very big assumption that any of those ideas originated in the bureaucracy…

  18. Johno

    In any government department – or I suppose in any business – if you want to make cuts, you need to leave the tea and biscuits in place. Because if you cut them, people really feel like the bottom line has been reached.

    Maybe that is the point that Abbott should be making. Nobody is being spared. Stand on your own two feet. It’s not the taxpayer’s job to fund your lifestyle.

  19. David

    You know what? I’d leave this one, because I like the old diggers

    Philippa you owe the fact that you can post on this site to those old diggers and I like your idea of using the money how you suggest. Far better than some prick in a suit devoid of medals turning up at ANZAC Cove on 25 April, 2015, at our expense to waffle on about sfa. Especially as my maternal Grandfather was there in 1915.

    I admired my father, uncles and their friends who went off to war for their country in WW2. They said very little but what you could see in their eyes when they were talking together was sobering. They are now sadly “all gone to God” through old age and not lying in some grave marked “Known Unto God”.

  20. gabrianga

    Ros Kelly’s “white board” is still alive and well surviving Australian Governments of all hues.

  21. jupes

    You know what? I’d leave this one, because I like the old diggers.

    Good on you Philippa.

    There wouldn’t be many of them able to travel overseas these days, but I’m sure something could be done to give them a bit of joy.

    Agree fully with your list.

  22. Rabz

    Personally I don’t think anything in the range of even ONE million dollars is ‘small stuff’, because it represents around two annual salaries before tax for a couple of nurses or community support workers

    Care to correct that clanger, Miss Martyr?

    :x

  23. entropy

    I just had a horrible thought. Imagine what the Hollywood pricks are going to do to 20,000 leagues under the sea.

  24. nerblnob

    This is my favourite: taxes pay for beer

    Because what an ex sawmilling town really needs is a government funded hipster craft brewery.

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