Tourism Minister Lauren Moss has defended a decision to spend more than $250,000 for a Million Dollar Fish impact study. Picture: Elise Derwin
Tourism Minister Lauren Moss has defended a decision to spend more than $250,000 for a Million Dollar Fish impact study. Picture: Elise Derwin

NTG criticised for ‘bloody ridiculous’ $250k spend on survey

THE Gunner Government has defended a choice to spend a whopping $250,000 to do a survey on its Million Dollar Fish competition

The Department of Tourism and Culture awarded a tender for $255,910 to national consulting firm Deloitte Access Economics last Thursday, to conduct an impact study on the Million Dollar Fish (MDF).

In light of the Northern Territory's budget crisis, Independent Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley described the spending decision as "bloody ridiculous".

"This is an embattled government that continues to show no comprehension of cutting costs and saving money," she said.

NT Major Events General Manager Andrew Hopper defended the decision
NT Major Events General Manager Andrew Hopper defended the decision

Tourism Minister Lauren Moss said the survey would help target efforts to make competition better in terms of economic and social returns.

Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture deputy CEO Andrew Hopper also defended the survey and said it would include "extensive research" on the overall impact of the competition since it started five years ago.

"The amount in question is the estimated cost based on different parts of the study being purchased as single research studies," Mr Hopper said.

"Tourism NT is in negotiations with the successful tender (Deloitte Access Economics) regarding the cost, which may fall below the estimated amount.

"The overall aim of the survey is to measure the economic impact of the MDF competition on the NT economy, and on local fishing and tourism operators. It will also survey the social impact of the competition on consumers, operators and the local community, and examine in-depth the MDF audience."

NTG Opposition Leader Gary Higgins said times were tough. PIC GLENN CAMPBELL
NTG Opposition Leader Gary Higgins said times were tough. PIC GLENN CAMPBELL

Opposition Leader Gary Higgins said times were tough and criticised whether forking out quarter of a million dollars for a survey was necessary.

"What is included in the review to warrant this expenditure in the middle of a fiscal crisis?" Mr Higgins said.

"We question the government's priorities as we continue to urge them to rein in the spending.

"We hope this expenditure is not a sign of a turnaround of this wonderful event under the out of control Gunner Labor Government."

This year the Million Dollar Fish competition handed out $55,000 worth of prizes to the six fishos who managed to reel in tagged fish.