Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2973 ..
We asked questions on notice of the government regarding what is the budgeted cost of the provision of IT services and what is the budgeted cost of marketing and advertising, and I would like to touch on that for a moment. In 2010-11, the LDA has budgeted $2.5 million excluding GST to be spent on marketing and advertising. The breakdown is as follows: $2.145 million excluding GST is allocated to marketing, advertising, printing, design promotions, events, advertising and signage; $202,000 excluding GST is allocated to sales-related marketing activities, such as sales posters and event support; and $153,000 exclusive of GST is allocated for community marketing, including community buildings and consultation.
We are critical of the LDA in saying that we believe that is a significant amount to be spending at a time when there is so much pent-up demand. We have seen that over the last couple of weekends—people are desperate for blocks, because the blocks have not been provided to them. You really should not have to spend too much to let people know. People are dead keen to find out about these ballots, these auctions and particularly the residential land sites. We can question the quality of some of that marketing, and $2.5 million seems to us to be a significant amount to be spending on advertising and marketing in a market where the LDA is such a dominant player and where there has been such a squeeze on land supply in recent years.
That said, I will give the LDA a plug—at least the LDA can answer the question. The only reason we are able to give them a bit of a kick and say that they should look to shaving some money off that advertising is because they bothered to answer the question, which begs the question as to why so many other departments cannot. The LDA has done the work, and I will give them a plug for this. They have gone away and they have done the work. They have done what we would expect all government departments to have done at this stage of the budgeting process—that is, they have done their internal budgets.
When we asked the LDA a series of questions about the budgeted or forecast increase of costs for provision of IT services, printing, distribution, et cetera, we actually got answers. We got an answer about what has been spent to date in the 2009-10 financial year as at 27 May 2010—$1.223 million excluding GST. We do see a significant increase, and we would ask that is the case. But I give them a plug for the transparency that they are showing so that we can have the debate and the discussion. They have bothered to do the work.
We get a lot of detail in some of these answers from the LDA. Why can we not get that from other departments? Why are we hearing from other departments that they have not done their internal budgets yet? That is unacceptable. If it is good enough for the LDA to do it, why is it not good enough for the other agencies? This would be a question for each of the ministers who have answered by saying that they simply cannot answer the question.
The LDA can answer the question. Whilst we will be critical of the amount they are spending on advertising, we will give the LDA credit where credit is due—it is a standout agency in that they are at least prepared to be transparent with the ACT Assembly so that we can see what they are planning on spending. I would ask each of the other ministers and each of the other agencies that have refused to answer similar