Mock Royalties for Regions passports defended
The State Government has defended commissioning 20,000 mock Royalties for Regions passports for children as part of promotions at the past two Perth Royal Shows that cost taxpayers $180,000.
The Opposition yesterday blasted the use of public money for what it called frivolous political propaganda reminiscent of Royalties for Regions-branded tattoos and lip balm in past years.
The promotional exhibitions included big "display panels" costing $97,600 last year and $74,000 this year with information about each WA region and how government services fund Royalties for Regions.
The mock passports, which cost $6000 to produce over the two years, opened to display a WA map and phrases "Regional WA is going places - join us on the journey" and "Royalties for Regions - investing for a brighter future".
Children were encouraged to collect a stamp from each region and display them in the right places on the map to be in the running for a prize. Royalties for Regions, the brainchild of retiring Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls, was envisaged to channel about $500 million a year into the bush by quarantining 25 per cent of WA's royalty income.
But a surge in mining royalties, expected to deliver $1.5 billion into the fund in 2013-14, has led to Opposition claims that Mr Grylls now has more money than he knows what to do with.
Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt said Royalties for Regions was "now a longstanding investor in these sort of gimmicks that simply promote the National party and Mr Grylls".
He queried the cost of the display panel packages when two standard Royalties for Regions and Department of Regional Development banners cost just $700.
The $180,000 would have been better spent on regional services, Mr Wyatt said. A spokesman for Mr Grylls said the Royal Show exhibition was the department's idea but the minister was comfortable with the amount spent.
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