Government Fiscal Management

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT (Prospect) [5.28 p.m.]: I address the House on the Baird Government's ongoing waste of taxpayers' money, especially in the seat of Prospect but also throughout New South Wales. The Baird Government prides itself on good fiscal management, which is a fallacy, but refuses to accept responsibility for its major financial failures. I will refer to some of them, such as the learning management and business reform [LMBR] program, otherwise known as the Department of Education information technology bungle—over budget and three years late. Costs are already $587 million, more than $200 million over budget. Indeed, the cost could go as high as $1 billion. If the Government had not wasted that money, it could probably have upgraded Fairfield Hospital alone some 33 times. Western Sydney schools would have new classrooms, upgraded facilities, extracurricular activities and, in some cases, a constant and reliable power supply. Next is advertising. A total of $6.5 million was spent on the Tomorrow's Sydney campaign, which did not provide any meaningful information. It comprised lots of pretty billboards with pretty people who provided nothing for the people of New South Wales.

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT: The Opal man cost $5 million. How many morph suits were made with this $5 million blowout? Is it enough for the Baird Cabinet? The Premier would probably wear a morph suit in question time if it increased the number of likes he received on Facebook. I will talk about the money wasted on the Premier's social media budget in a moment. The Stoner Sloth campaign cost $350,000. That was a complete waste of money. What impact did the Stoner Sloth campaign have? I look at the member for Ryde with his new hairstyle and beard and wonder if he is following the Stoner Sloth. The council amalgamation campaign cost $750,000—another waste of money. The Government spent $170,000 on logo design after it had already developed a number of new logos, including logos for the New South Wales Government and NSW Now. How many times do we need to redesign the waratah?

Let us look at the consultancy fee blowouts. It cost a total of $30,000 to look after the Premier's social media accounts for 51 days. A consultant tweeted Premier Baird's experience of watching The Bachelor when he had "man flu". The same consultant made a video of Mike Baird reading Twitter and listening to Taylor Swift. As if that was not enough, there was a long form Facebook post of Mike Baird having a hissy fit over criticism he received about the lockout laws. It cost $137,000 to teach employees in the Department of Family and Community Services how to speak and write plain English. This Government paid PricewaterhouseCoopers $4million for three months of work on gap analysis on a new information technology software in Treasury. What does this financial incompetence mean for the hardworking people of New South Wales? Train fare increases between Western Sydney and the city amount to $959 a year per commuter. Self-funded retirees have been excluded from using the gold Opal card, which increases their daily fare from $2.50 to $9.

Mr Stuart Ayres: Point of order—

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Ms Anna Watson): Order! What is the member's point of order?

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT: No points of order are allowed in private members' statements.

Mr Stuart Ayres: Point of order—

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Ms Anna Watson): Order! The member for Prospect is correct. Points of order are not permitted during private members' statements. The member for Penrith will resume his seat.

Mr Stuart Ayres: No quorums are required during private members' statements.

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT: I ask that my time be extended. In addition, the Baird Government wasted $50,000 a day for six days—a total of $310,000—on market research in the form of focus groups when attempting to decide whether to increase public transport fares. I do not need a focus group to tell the Baird Government to stop wasting taxpayers' money. The Premier's solution of raising the GST is the best one he has come up with to date. The Premier is trying to slug working families with a 50 per cent increase in the GST. Instead of using the GST increase—if it ever happens—to cover his financial mismanagement, the bulk of new GST revenue would only line the pockets of the corporate sector in the form of corporate tax cuts.

Mr John Sidoti: Point of order—

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT: To show where the Premier's priorities lie, he suggested that corporations should get four times more money than hospitals in the form of corporate tax cuts.

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Ms Anna Watson): Order! What is the member's point of order?

Dr HUGH McDERMOTT: That would be $8 billion extra cash for corporations

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