Posted: 10:37 am on 24th March 2014

money-airKevin-747 certainly did have a taste for spending taxpayer money on sport in Australia.

Remember the $166,000 on the arenacross track down in Victoria?

Or the $800,000 to an AFL club in north Brisbane?

Or the whopping $15 million for a new Townsville stadium?

So it was no surprise when the Rudd Government committed another $7.5 million of taxpayer money to build an aquatic centre in the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia in the lead-up to the 2013 election.

The $7.5 million was supposed to come from the Regional Development Australia Fund, funded by the mining tax.

The problem was that the mining tax, as South Australian Liberal MP and Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs said:

wasn’t raising any revenue. In effect, Labor promised to fund this project from money it simply didn’t have.

Before the election, Mr Briggs also called the funding promise “a Labor promise,” and indicated that the Abbott government might not support the project.

So it was certainly a surprise to WasteWatch, and, no doubt, the residents of the Fleurieu Peninsula, when Mr Briggs announced in December last year that the new Government would contribute the requested $7.5 million to the project.

The funding agreement was signed recently, and the project is expected to be completed by 2017.

The bulk of the remaining cost of the project — estimated to be another $15 million — is expected to be borne by the Alexandrina and Victor Harbor (sic!) local councils.

Perhaps the compulsion to spend federal money on obscure local projects is more understandable since our current PM wishes to be remembered as ‘the infrastructure Prime Minister’.

Nevertheless, what a waste!

William Shrubb, Research Assistant

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