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Government advertising: 2 billion dollar blowout.

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Government Advertising - 2 Billion Dollar Blowout Media Statement - 19th November 2007

The Annual Report of Prime Minister and Cabinet confirms that the Howard Goverrnment spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money in advertising ($281 million) in the past financial year.

This does not include any of the advertising money spent between July and the election being called, including millions of dollars on Work Choices. Worse, this figure is for advertising placement only, and excludes creative and consultancy costs.

Mr Howard will say anything and do anything to win, and spend any amount of taxpayers’ money to get himself re-elected. Mr Howard and the Liberals have no new ideas and they don’t understand the challenges of the future.

Much of the $2 billion spent over the past 11 years could have been spent on health and education - areas that have suffered neglect under the Howard Government.

The PM and C annual report reveals that the Government Communications Unit, which coordinates all advertising campaigns, considered a whopping 47 advertising campaigns in 2006-2007, up from 39 the year before and nearly double the 24 in 2004-2005.

MYEFO states most of the $66 million expenditure on fairness test advertising will take place in 2007-2008. The $5 million spent in 2006-2007 conveniently is not quite enough to qualify as a "Major Information Campaign".

Because most of the latest spending has occurred since July this year, Australians will have to wait another year until the full extent of the $121 million spent on advertising workplace relations changes will be revealed.

Australian voters last week saw the Government’s form in the Auditor-Generals’ pointed criticisms of the Regional Partnerships program. Now Mr Howard’s own Department has revealed more public spending waste.

$281 million dollars could have paid for:

z Close to a million dental consultations

z 280,000 hospital bed nights

z 20,000 hip replacements

In a desperate attempt to breathe life into his stale Government, Mr Howard has spent millions on advertising - his only strategy, to drown voters in self-promotion.

Penny Wong

Link to annual report:

Authorised by Tim Gartrell, 161 London Circuit, Canberra City, ACT 2600