Daniel Andrews’ hefty Facebook ad spend for his official page on the platform has spilt over $1 million.
The Victorian Premier’s hefty social media tab totalled $1,032,481 over the past seven years, starting just after Labor formed government in late 2014.
For the first three quarters of the 2021/22 financial year, a total of $139,899 of taxpayers’ money was spent on Facebook advertising.
A further $270,968 was spent across the previous two years, before and after Covid-19 and lockdowns arrived in Australia.
However, the most expensive year was between 2018-19, when $170,356 was shelled out on Facebook ads by the state government.
This expenditure does not include the other social media platforms for the Premier, or social media expenditure funded from the Mulgrave Electorate Office or the Victorian Labor Party.
Shadow spokesperson for government scrutiny Louise Staley said the mammoth Facebook bill showed the Premier’s “entitlement”.
“The extraordinary amount of taxpayer money Daniel Andrews puts into his social media just demonstrates the arrogance and entitlement of this government,” she said.
“This money should be in the pockets of taxpayers – not being pumped into Daniel Andrews’ spin machine.
“Victorians don’t need more spin on socials, but real solutions to fix the health crisis, cut the cost of living and return integrity, transparency and honesty to government.”
However, a state government spokesperson said the page is “a modern and cost effective way to communicate with Victorians”.
“During the pandemic, social media has been critical in communicating public health measures, including vaccines, free rapid tests and the support available to Victorians,” they said.
“Information on how to sign up to the five days of Sick Pay Guarantee, how to access the Power Saver Bonus for every household and encouraging people to train to become a nurse have featured in other content.
“Many of these posts have been translated into dozens of languages to ensure everyone in the Victorian community has access to the information they need.”
Mr Andrews’ Facebook page has more than one million likes and is used daily to communicate government messaging and initiatives with the public.