FILE PHOTO (November 2013): An Australian Army Land Rover lands on a beach in the Philippines during Op Philippines Assist. Photo by Corporal Jake Sims (digitally altered by CONTACT).
We asked Minister Chester’s office for comment/clarification on 11 October.
They provided the following response on the 17th.
“The Land Rovers, which are normally sold for an average of $12,000 per vehicle, are being offered to RSLs for $6,180 (exclusive of GST), on a cost recovery basis, which is the cost of servicing, respraying and other work required to ensure that the vehicles are safe and roadworthy prior to transfer of ownership. Cost recovery ensures that this important work can continue. Each vehicle will be provided with a New South Wales roadworthy certificate.
More than 80 RSLs have submitted an initial Expression of Interest (EOI) since the Minister’s announcement.
Contact details were also provided on the media release distributed by the Minister and the Department of Defence. The Minister’s office and Department always welcome questions should news outlets or members of the public require further details.”
That last line essentially means “if we don’t include obvious and salient facts (which inclusion might make our minister look less generous), you people should do your jobs properly and ask for clarification via our office”.
But CONTACT did ask, and it took six days to get a simple, fact-based answer!!!!
That’s not acceptable to any reporter who, like I did, publish regardless on the day.
Nor should it be acceptable to the minister, who has suffered through the overwhelmingly bad publicity dished up by CONTACT 😉 (this being the third bite of the cherry) – plus the probably-never-to-be-corrected erroneous reporting in The Australian.