I don’t understand millions. Even more so, I don’t understand BILLIONS.
Last weekend a magnificent concert was conducted in the ANZ Stadium in Sydney to raise money for people and communities that suffered horrific losses due to this summer’s bushfires.
Here we had: “Fire Fight Australia, concert for National Bushfire Relief”.
And, what a concert it was!
Top performers from Australia and overseas gave of their time, their energy and their love to make the night a roaring success.
Wasn’t k.d.lang amazing? (To mention just one).
Over 70, 000 people attended and had the time of their lives. Others (like me) watched the concert on television and marvelled at the performances and the generosity of so many gifted artists.
At the conclusion of TEN hours of music, it was announced that the magnificent sum of $9 million had been raised.
Everyone was impressed and so very thankful.
Nine MILLION dollars is a huge amount and will go well to help distressed people and communities.
But, Hang on a minute. This is nine MILLION dollars, right?
And yet our ‘esteemed’ government spent 4.65 BILLION DOLLARS in the lead up to last year’s election. Mostly as a boost to maintain power.
So, doesn’t the NINE MILLION DOLLARS raised for fire relief seem a bit, pathetically, small?
I don’t know about you, but 9 million compared the over FOUR BILLION shows a mighty gap.
All those zeros… 9,000,000 compared with 4,650,000,000. Really? Yes, really!
Let’s look at just a few of the ways those govt millions and BILLIONS were spent.
(Can’t see much bushfire assistance).
One of the most repellent govt spends was the $185 million (185,000,000) to open the Christmas Island detention centre. (That’s well over 20 times the money raised for the fire relief…X 20 times!)
And, remember the security company (Paladin) that scored $423 million…was that money used appropriately? Manus Island, remember?
How about the $30million given to Rupert Murdoch’s Foxtel? (Admittedly that wasn’t last year). try and explain that!
And, the $444 million to a dodgy Barrier Reef Foundation. What’s happening there?
The ‘HelloWorld’ travel company that sucks up federal govt contracts scored a juicy few BILLION dollars. (at least one billion, some estimate as much as three Billion…helped along by its donations to LNP and paying for certain politicians’ holidays).
And, remember Wesfarmers supposed plan to ‘advance Indigenous Australia’, wasn’t that $15 million? How’s that going? A company whose yearly profits are around 4.5 BILLION, gains $15 million from the govt the DAY BEFORE last year’s election. Fishy? Fair? Or, what?
Then there’s $220 million for ‘regional job investment’ (strongly criticised by the Auditor General)– anyone heard how that’s progressing? A bit dodgy, especially because the areas awarded this money were in Coalition held electorates, not where it was needed.
Old mate Barnaby and ‘well done’ Angus tied up in the equally dodgy water buy-back scheme that cost the govt a mere $80 million. Where’s that money now?
Is the $9 million raised for fire relief still sounding amazing?
Poor old Bridget lost (well, not really) her job because of the $100 million Sports Infrastructure program. Then, a little later, suddenly up pops another $150 Million sport’s thing – something to do with water safety and female change rooms that caused 120 swimming pools to be built, some of which were not even wanted - and one community didn’t even have space to dig a hole for one, but, there it was, “here’s a pool for you, vote for us!”
I can’t even be bothered adding up the dollar amount for these few examples I have listed.
Suffice to say, they are part of the stated 4.65 BILLION DOLLARS spent by the government, mostly in the past 12 months.
And, now the coffers are empty.
How much will be given to help the fire ravaged communities, when all the $$$$ have been spent on funding to help keep this govt in power?
How much more of the allocated funding for the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) can be siphoned off (“repurposed for drought relief” to quote govt.) - to try and maintain a now almost non-existent surplus? Is that fair, do you think?
As I said at the start, I do not understand millions, whether it’s dollars or occupants of ants’ nests. But I do know that a MILLION is a hell of a lot of $$$$ - or ants.
I am an ordinary person who budgets in the tens or sometimes hundreds of dollars, Yes, I do understand the cost of things. I know that simply living costs a lot.
I know that a visit to the dentist or optometrist can make me feel ill when a total sum of hundreds of dollars is mentioned.
I have, on occasion, had to fork out a thousand dollars on something very serious and, in the case of buying a house, hundreds of thousands. Yikes!
But, a MILLION? Never. Does not even compute with my brain, let alone my bank balance.
That’s why the $9 MILLION raised in last weekend’s concert seemed fantastic. A wonderful boost for very needy people.
And, don’t get me wrong. $9,000,000 is fantastic!
I thank everyone involved in that great gesture of giving.
But then I can’t help but ponder what BILLIONS of dollars might be able to do if aimed in the right direction.
PS: I apologise for the image above that depicts NZ money. I made a mistake when gathering an accompanying pic and am too lazy to alter it!
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I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.