The opposition authorities in Sydney have slammed the Sydney agency decision to spend around half a million dollars on social media consultants.
The Greater Sydney Commission is involved in reshaping the city. Hence, it aimed at investing a huge amount on social media following its accusation of sharing Premier Mike Baird’s Facebook “obsession.” Planning Minister Rob Stokes revealed his idea of expenditure during a budget estimate hearing on Wednesday.
As soon as the revelation came into the limelight, the opposition started criticizing the idea. It claimed that spending on social media was a total wastage of resources. The division of taxpayers’ money in social media participation was not being considered an effective use of the funds. The idea of offering $72 per Facebook like, $2,400 per Instagram follower, $500 per Twitter follower, and $37,500 per YouTube subscriber has grabbed negative comments from the state opposition.
In the hearing, Stokes revealed the expenditure of $500,000 on two contracts for social media but he could hardly justify if the decision would be worth it for taxpayers. One contract worth $300,000 was given to PR organization Weber Shandwick for a period from May to August while the second contract worth $224, 000 was offered to J. Walter Thomson between August and June 2017.
The budget estimate hearing also provided details of the third contract worth $700,000 that was also awarded to Weber Shandwick.
“Half a million dollars for this work is unjustifiable,” Labor planning spokesman Michael Daley said, as quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald.”Minister Stokes is asleep at the wheel. He doesn’t have a clue about the hundreds of thousands of dollars his department spends on chasing Facebook likes and Twitter followers.”
When Labor MLC Daniel Mookhey criticized Stokes and Greater Sydney Commission Chief Executive Sarah Hill for not tendering for a contract to propose expenditure for social media activities, the contract details were revealed. The Sydney agency spokesperson said that the contract was formulated and approved based on the NSW Procurement Guidelines. She also added that to date, almost $472,874 has been spent on social media contracts.