It is sometimes claimed that a government has a responsibility to do those things that the private sector either can’t do, or won’t do. In the case of the late and unlamented Bligh Government in Queensland, responsibility was also taken for doing those things that the private sector would never be crazy enough to do.
Bligh took over the Premier’s role from Peter Beattie at a time when the profligate spending of that administration had put the state in the position where it was about to lose it’s AAA credit rating. She called an early election and secured another term before that happened, and then spent wilder than ever before. Some of the more idiotic items are still coming to light.
We have dealt here before on the $6 million Brisbane ski jumping centre of excellence. Queensland owing to its tropical climate puts locals who want to compete at the top levels of this sport at a serious disadvantage by not having snow. Rather than just tell them to go somewhere where there is snow, it was decided to build them an artificial jump complete with ski lift to get them up there.
The arts expenditure has to be seen to be believed, with over a million spent on a bronze elephant standing on its head, which is supposed to illustrate an Aboriginal legend despite no elephants ever existing in Australia, but the New Zealand sculptor probably wasn’t aware of that. As a bonus, a ‘contemplation’ chair comes with it. Perhaps that at least will be useful.
Another $700,000 was spent on an egg shaped pile of rocks down the back end of the Connondale National park in a relatively inaccessible area. There are some nice pictures of it though.
Some other items are:
… $10,000 spent on T-shirts bearing the logo, "Buy Local - Back Queensland", which were meant to assist with the 2011 flood recovery. Public servants were ordered to cut the clothing tags out to try to hide the fact they were "made in Bangladesh.
In another embarrassment, 58,000 Travelsmart backpacks found "gathering dust" in a Brendale warehouse.
… expenditure of $43,000 to install 24 electric carparks in Adelaide St despite having no plans to purchase electric cars.
And that’s before we get into the real waste like the Health Payroll debacle, which has been described as the equivalent of buying a Mars Bar for $400.
Yep; we can be pretty certain that private enterprise would not do that; could not do that without a shareholders revolt, and definitely would not be insane enough to attempt it.