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New Wastewatch team finds $1 Billion Howard advertising bill.



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LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON KIM C BEAZLEY MP

NEW WASTEWATCH TEAM FINDS $1 BILLION HOWARD ADVERTISING BILL

14 September 2005

The Howard Government getting more and more out of touch every day.

From the Prime Minister spending $9000 a night on his hotel accommodation in London for the Ashes, to splurging $1 billion in taxpayers’ dollars on political advertising - the Howard Government has lost touch with Australians.

This type of expenditure cannot continue - $1 billion would: • Get 500,000 people off dental waiting lists and into dentists' chairs; or • Honour Mr Howard's broken election promise to make a 30 per cent child care rebate available from 1 January 2005; or

• Provide places for the 34,100 TAFE applicants and 1,800 engineering course applicants who are currently turned away every year; or • Fund 3555 dementia-specific Extended Aged Care at Home places; or • Almost double the Government’s spending on the duplication of the Pacific

Hwy from Sydney to Brisbane.

One of the key jobs for an effective Opposition is to keep an out of touch Government to account - to ensure money is taxpayer’s money spent wisely and not frittered away.

The Member for Prospect, Chris Bowen, as the Chair of the Opposition’s new Wastewatch Committee will head up this important task.

The Howard Government is now so out of touch it doesn’t take a breath before throwing away millions. Labor has already uncovered waste including: • More than $13.5 million spent on flying the Prime Minister and his entourage around the world over the past nine years;

• $100 million spent on private recruitment agencies last year; • An estimated $10 million spent on media monitoring last year; and • $20,000 spent on massages for public servants last year.

Australian families are struggling with record-high petrol prices and this sort of Howard Government waste is totally unacceptable.

Wastewatch Committee members are: Chris Bowen (Chair), Brendan O’Connor (Deputy Chair), Anna Burke, Julie Owens, Kate Ellis and Bernie Ripoll.

14 September 2005

Contact: George Svigos: 0417 196 836

Howard Government Waste: The Highlights

Waste Cost Source

Government advertising hits record levels, including the blatantly political Strengthening Medicare and Industrial Relations campaigns.

Close to $1 billion since 1996*

$146.5 million for 2004-2005*

* Does not include Government funding for Defence Recruitment, AEC or non-campaign advertising.

Senate Estimates and Senate Questions on Notice

Media monitoring (Minister’s offices) 15 Ministers spent $614,000 watching themselves on

television and reading about themselves in newspapers last year.

The Minister for Agriculture alone spent $133,615.

The total cost for these Ministers over the last three financial years is $2 million.

House of Representatives Questions on Notice

Media monitoring (Departments) Nine portfolios spent $3.8 million on media monitoring in 2004-2005.

Total media monitoring costs for all Minister’s offices and Departments estimated to be $10 million.

House of Representatives Questions on Notice (10 Ministers have so far answered)

Payments to private recruitment agencies $114 million paid to private recruitment agencies last year.

Total cost for all Departments estimated to be $200 million.

House of Representatives Questions on Notice

Howard’s overseas travel bill - $13M - includes watching the Ashes Test cricket match at Lords on two occasions (1997 and 2005).

$13,507,090 (since 1996)

Includes Howard’s accommodation bills at Claridge’s Hotel (London) in the Royal and Piano Suites costing between $6,000 and $9,000 a night.

Parliamentarians’ Travel Paid by the Department of Finance and Administration - - Tabled every 6 months

$190,000 hotel bill for four nights at the St Regis in Rome.

Kirribilli and Lodge costs $1 million in expenditure.

KIRRIBILLI HOUSE (SINCE 1996): • Wardrobe Construction: $29,000

• New Staircase/Bathroom: $125,127

• Back Staircase requested by Mrs Howard: $29,856 (Plus Painting: $12,082 and Project Management: $22,495)

• 20 Seat table and chairs (Cedar table, 10 horsehair chairs, 10 replicas): $82,000 • Air Conditioning on First

Floor: $24,103 LODGE AND KIRRIBILLI EXPENSES

• Wine and Cellaring Consultant - Mr Bourne: $9,760

• Alcoholic beverages between 1999 and 2003: $133,837 (average $28 a bottle) • Gardening Services for one

year - Kirribilli: approx $100,000; Lodge: $259,890

LODGE • Refurbished Dining Room: $101,272

Senate Estimates

Massages for public servants

$20,000 spent in 2004 on massages for selected public servants. (total for the 8 Ministers who have so far answered the question).

House of Representatives Questions on Notice