Federal Nationals MP for Page, Kevin Hogan, appears to think the voters in his electorate are all idiots and that this clumsy attempt to rebrand funding, by inserting himself into story, would go unnoticed.
This is Hogan in The Northern Star on 14 December 2013 along with Diesel the wombat and friends:
Three new rainproof features worth $500,000 were unveiled at the popular local attraction yesterday by owner Tony Gilding and Federal MP for Page Kevin Hogan....
"We have no problem getting tourists here," Mr Hogan said.
"But we know from every study we do the longer we keep them here, the more money they spend."
These are the same new features being announced in the Echo NetDaily eight months earlier by then Federal Labor Government MPs Janelle Saffin and Justine Elliot who were photographed with the very same wombat:
Tony Gilding of the castle yesterday announced a major expansion and refurbishment program. The program is in part funded by two grants from the federal government’s tourism industry assistance schemes. The total project budget is excess of $500,000 and the funding assistance from the federal government is $227,475. The balance will be funded by the Macadamia Castle.....
Federal MPs Justine Elliot and Janelle Saffin attended the launch of the Macadamia Castle expansion program. Ms Elliot said the Macadamia Castle is one of the north coast’s most iconic and exciting tourist destinations. In operation for more than 30 years, its animal park has provided exciting adventures for generations of kids. ‘I’m proud as the local MP to have delivered this important federal funding for an outstanding local business,’ she said. ‘This federal funding will help Macadamia Castle expand to provide more jobs and enhance their tourist attractions. I congratulate Macadamia Castle for their outstanding role as a major tourist destination on the north coast.’
Ms Saffin said she was pleased to support the application for federal funding as Macadamia Castle provides valuable employment and training opportunities to over 50 local people. ‘Many of his wonderful staff are my constituents, as are many of the local families that take advantage of the attractions wonderful facilities.’
Side by side with Hogan’s photo opportunity with the wombat, The Northern Star ran this short article on 14 December 2013:
THE Federal Government has scrapped the Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund Grants Program.
The Northern Rivers received $500,000 for two tourism-related infrastructure projects from the program.
It is understood the money will be redirected to larger tourism infrastructure projects instead of the government picking individual businesses to benefit.
"In line with the government's policy priorities for tourism, funds allocated to the TIRF grants program will be re-focused to support demand-driven infrastructure for the tourism industry," the Department of Industry website stated.
Apparently Diesel will not be having his photograph taken with Mr. Hogan again for quite a long while.