Australian taxpayers are footing the bill for services and privileges provided to a relatively small group of citizens living in an out-of-the-way backwater, a study has found.
“What we’ve found is that there are small groups of people living in remote areas like Canberra, with surprisingly high costs for general expenses like charity work, retirement plans and Indian weddings,” the report’s author said.
“I think what Australians will be saying is, ‘If I choose to live in a community three and a half hours from the nearest city, is it reasonable for taxpayers to pay $150,000 for an Australian Air Force jet to get me to Sydney?’
“’If I choose to spend $1000 on a posh dinner in London, is it realistic to pass on the receipt to someone else?
“’If I choose to build a $7,000 bookshelf when everyone else is buying Kindles, should I perhaps chip in a bit?’ I think these are valid questions”.
But a spokesperson for the community hit back, saying the community members had a very close connection to the land and to the work. “This is the very essence of who they are. They were born for this. For many of them, they simply don’t know anything else. It stretches back generations in some cases”.