Premier Colin Barnett has defended the use of taxpayers' money to fund a Government advertising campaign.
Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls has revealed the Government plans to launch an advertising campaign for its Royalties for Regions program.
Under the program, 25 per cent of WA’s royalties are used to fund projects, infrastructure and community services in the State’s regions.
Mr Grylls said as well as an imminent start to the advertising campaign, the Department of Regional Development had conducted opinion polling about the program.
“The reason that they’re planning that is that in the Budget announced at the end of last month, there is a $75 million fund to go out in contestable grants for the regional community,” he said.
But opposition regional development spokesman Mark McGowan said the advertising was blatantly political.
“It’s political advertising because it’s based upon polling and it’s designed to promote the Government, and if they wanted to do that they should have used party funds, not taxpayer’s,” Mr McGowan said.
“My understanding of the ads is that there is a lot of promotion of the Government.”
Mr Barnett said although he had not seen any of the advertising material, it was not a political campaign because it was not attacking anyone or arguing a political point.
“I haven’t seen any materials being used but my standard has always been Government can spend money on advertising as long as it includes accurate, valid and useful information,” Mr Barnett said.
Mr Barnett accused the Federal Government of using an advertising campaign for its carbon tax to push a political point instead of explaining how it would work.
His criticism of the Federal Government’s use of advertising prompted Mr McGowan to call him an “absolute hypocrite”.