Apparently clod hoppers can’t communicate

The perils of having a ham-fisted idiot minister…lots of extra costs for communications for the new ministry of clod hoppers.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has spent more than $220,000 on communications consultants since its creation last year.

Figures provided under the Official Information Act show Senate Communications has received $175,579, Catchphrase Communications $30,791 and Network Communication Group $13,794.

While the ministry, which was formed in April last year, has a communications team of at least 18, the consultants have been paid to write speeches, to write and edit website text and articles, and to field media queries.

PR company staff have also been seconded to government departments for as much as $175 an hour.

On one occasion, a Senate staff member was seconded to the ministry for 57 hours at a cost of $11,370 to the taxpayer.

Consultants were also paid to work on communications strategies for “major issues”, to liaise with staff about Facebook user restrictions, to help with document security and to proof-read emails.?

Senate was paid $18,572 to develop the communications strategy for the primary growth partnership, the Government’s initiative to invest in research and innovation, while a preparedness and partnerships strategic planning project cost almost $18,000.

The “Check, Clean, Dry” didymo control campaign cost more than $11,000 in consultant fees while a “research and evaluation” project cost more than $13,000.

The $30,791 paid to Catchphrase was related to aquaculture projects.

On top of this, the ministry paid thousands for associated costs such as photocopying, mileage, internet, media monitoring and taxis to the contractors.

There were also more than 3400 emails sent between the ministry and communications professionals which the ministry said would cost $11,278 to review and print and it refused to do so.