Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today documents released under FOI reveal that the Weatherill Government paid National Geographic Channel $800,000 before the election to be ‘selected’ as one of the ‘smart cities’ in the world.
On 26 June 2013 Mr Weatherill told Parliament:
“This has been a real coup for South Australia, to be selected to be part of a new documentary series by National Graphic Channel. Adelaide will be one of the 18 most liveable cities in the world in a forthcoming series entitled 21st Century Cities, and Adelaide is the only Australian city to feature in this documentary.”
“It is clear that Mr Weatherill had claimed it was a ‘real coup’ that we had been SELECTED as one of the 18 most livable cities in the world,” said Mr Lucas.
“Of course given it was the pre-election period the real message from Mr Weatherill was this was a ‘real coup’ for him and his government.”
Then on 5 February 2014 just before the election Mr Weatherill issued a press release headed “National Geographic documentary puts Adelaide on the smart list”. Mr Weatherill said:
“Adelaide is the star of the show today – with the launch of the first film in the National Geographic series about smart cities of the world.”
“It is now obvious that Mr Weatherill’s political spin on this issue was both misleading and deceptive,” said Mr Lucas.
“Given the fact we have paid National Geographic $800,000 it is now obvious that rather than being ‘selected’ this was essentially a business arrangement broadly akin to paid advertising.
“Mr Weatherill must now explain why he told South Australians it was a ‘real coup’ that we had been selected by the National Geographic Channel.
“Mr Weatherill must also explain why he originally claimed South Australia had been selected as one of the ’18 most livable cities in the world’ and yet when the documentary was released in February 2014 it referred to Adelaide being selected as one of the ‘smart cities’ in the world.
“Somehow the selection criteria seems to have been changed from ‘most livable’ to ‘smart’.”