The NSW Labor Opposition says the $50 million the State Government spent on consultants flogging off Ports Kembla and Botany is an obscene waste of taxpayers’ dollars and should have been spent on local services.
The NSW Auditor General has revealed in a report into the state’s finances that the Liberal National Government spent $298 million on consultants to sell or lease state assets, including Port Kembla in 2013.
The $50 million spent on investment bankers, accountants, lawyers and public relations advisors is half the $100 million sweetener fund that the Illawarra got from the Stage Government from the port’s sale.
The feeding frenzy at the top end of town includes the following examples found in Treasury documents by NSW Labor :
- $14.9 million to Bankers;
- $13.3 million to Accountants;
- $11.5 million to Lawyers
Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park said there were far more worthy projects to spend the money on rather than lining the pockets of big end of town Sydney consultants.
These could include the:
- $50 million capital investment for the Maldon Dombarton rail link;
- The school maintenance backlog in the Illawarra schools;
- Further upgrades to the Appin Road;
- Frontline nursing staff for Wollongong hospital.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park
“This is an obscene waste of money by a government that is looking after its big end of town Sydney mates at the expense of ordinary Illawara families.
“Families are already paying the price for privatisation with higher electricity prices but now we know the hidden cost – fat pay packets to the big end of town.
“This represents half the cost of the sweetener the then Premier Mike Baird lobbed the Illawarra after the port’s sale. This is an insult to the families of the Illawarra who once again have been duded by this government.”