State spends $100,000 on 25 drones
State Government agencies have bought 25 drones in just 10 months at a cost to taxpayers of more than $100,000, responses to parliamentary questions have revealed.
Despite moves to tighten public sector spending, 10 agencies and departments have justified the expenditure on aerial surveillance technology in answers to questions asked by Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup.
As well as $60,000 on drones, agencies spent $37,000 on accessories, including batteries, cases, spare propellers and tablets.
One-third of the total ($36,526) was spent by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, which bought seven drones, including one valued close to $8400. Standard drones sell for about $1000 to $1500. The department said drones were used to determine forest inventory and conditions, and monitor bilby populations in the Pilbara and fauna on Dirk Hartog Island.
The Department of Corrective Services bought a $689 drone for “training purposes” to enhance capability to observe prisons during emergencies.
A spokeswoman for the Water Corporation, which spent $18,000 on drones, said a further $6000 was spent on training for two employees.
Mr Kirkup said it was a significant expenditure in a small amount of time.
“The Government should justify what is actually a genuine need and what is a taxpayerfunded toy purchased for the enjoyment of public servants,” he said.
Premier Mark McGowan said the purchases were justified.