High cost of ‘lik­ing’ Dan

Premier’s Face­book bill

Herald Sun - - NEWS - JAMES DOWL­ING james.dowl­[email protected]

PREMIER Daniel An­drews has spent at least $380,000 of tax­pay­ers’ money hunt­ing for “likes” for his Face­book page and cre­at­ing videos he starred in that were shared on his so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

Since com­ing to power in 2014, Mr An­drews has billed tax­pay­ers at least $98,000 for mar­ket­ing firms to cre­ate such videos.

He also dipped into the pub­lic purse for other pro­duc­tion costs — in­clud­ing mu­sic li­cence fees, and car and equip­ment hire.

Mr An­drews has spent at least $284,000 in two years boost­ing his Face­book posts to push La­bor’s mes­sage to on­line au­di­ences.

The great­est video cost was the se­ries of clips — most star­ring Mr An­drews — used to pro­mote the state Bud­gets.

Videos for the 2017-18 Bud­get cost $53,401 and in­cluded 15 clips shared on Face­book.

Tax­pay­ers were billed $687.50 for a “Face­book Live Q&A” with Mr An­drews and co­me­dian Corinne Grant about that year’s Bud­get.

The 2016-17 Bud­get videos cost $21,368.95 to pro­duce and last April’s 2018-19 Bud­get videos cost $16,698.

Mu­sic li­cence fees for a one­minute video Mr An­drews’ shared on the gov­ern­ment’s rental pol­icy cost the pub­lic purse $545.

An­other $2730 was spent for a bou­tique video pro­duc­tion house to in­ter­view the Premier about how his fa­ther’s death shaped his views on vol- un­tary as­sisted dy­ing. The $98,857 video pro­duc­tion fig­ure, re­leased un­der a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest, does not in­clude the costs of pro­duc­ing videos show­cas­ing La­bor in­fra­struc­ture projects that Mr An­drews’ so­cial me­dia page reg­u­larly shares.

The Premier’s dig­i­tal team of up to four staff cre­ated 20 more videos specif­i­cally for his Face­book page.

The Her­ald Sun re­vealed last year Mr An­drews was spend­ing six-fig­ure sums on Face­book to “boost” his posts and en­sure his 548,053 fol­low­ers saw them.

He also paid for spon­sored posts, which could be tar­geted to a spe­cific au­di­ence and reach them even if they don’t “like” his page.

Op­po­si­tion Leader Michael O’Brien said if the Premier were so “des­per­ate for self­pro­mo­tion he should go on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here”. “It will keep his ego happy and save tax­pay­ers hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars,” Mr O’Brien said.

The gov­ern­ment said the ma­jor­ity of the spend­ing was on pro­duc­ing videos to ad­ver­tise the Vic­to­rian Bud­get.

It said this was stan­dard prac­tice and not cre­ated just for the Premier’s so­cial me­dia pages.

“So­cial me­dia is just one of the ways we com­mu­ni­cate with Vic­to­ri­ans,” a spokes­woman said.

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