“Star gazing” Premier has priorities wrong on $140,000 sponsorship of G’Day USA soiree

11 January 2019

SA-BEST today accused Premier Steven Marshall of having his priorities wrong in committing $140,000 of taxpayers’ money to sponsor the G’Day USA trade and tourism event in the United States.

SA-BEST MLC and Treasury spokesperson, Frank Pangallo, has called on the Premier to reverse his decision and redirect the much-needed funds to organisations like JusticeNet SA and Shine SA – groups that recently had their government funding either ceased or slashed.

“This is a complete and utter waste of SA taxpayers’ money – a bad call by Premier Marshall that he needs to reverse immediately,” Frank said.

“On one hand we have the government stopping or cutting funding to crucial community-driven organisations, and on the other hand throwing $140,000 for a one-day soiree of A-listers in the USA,” he said.

“Premier Marshall needs to ask himself - What provides better value for money for South Australians – community organisations that support thousands of battlers in our community each year or a swank one-day cocktail party in one of the classiest establishments in Los Angeles?

“It’s a no brainer. I can't recall anything of note ever coming from the event when it was hosted by Liberal Ol' Boy and party president, John Olsen, when he was Australia’s Consul General to the US.

“It's little more than a schmoozing event where the Premier can have a photo opportunity with Australian ex-pat celebrities living in Hollywood.”

Frank questioned the increase in tourism numbers from the US to Australia since the G’Day USA event started 15 years ago.

He also asked if the event was meant to promote local tourism, why doesn’t SA have direct flights to and from the US?

“Here we have a State Government saying it needs to make tough decisions to get the budget back in the black and in doing so is reducing critical funding to health clinics like Shine SA, cutting back on public transport, axing the Overland train to Melbourne, shutting down Service SA Centres and withdrawing funding support for managed taxi ranks in the city and Glenelg that act as safety zones for young people,” Frank said.

“And it also couldn't even find $120,000 to fund JusticeNet – an outstanding legal advice service for battlers,” he said.

“Premier Marshall has got his priorities completely wrong.

“While he's star gazing and rubbing shoulders with A-listers like the Hemsworth brothers, Teresa Palmer, Margo Robbie and Hugh Jackman, there are essential services back home being impacted by his government's stingy attitude.

“If things are supposed to be as tough as the Treasurer keeps pointing out, then there is no justification for resurrecting funding to this event that was deemed worthless by the previous Labor Government - a renown reckless spender.”

The State Government announced yesterday it was set to again sponsor the G’Day USA trade and tourism event to be held in Los Angeles on Australia Day (26 January) – to the tune of $140,000.

The previous Labor Government cut funding to the event in 2015 after questioning its value.

Premier Marshall and other SA-based dignitaries are expected to fly to the US to attend this year’s event.

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Authorised by F. Pangallo 653 Lwr Nth East Rd Paradise 5075