‘Less than half’: Premier hints at Sam Smith tourism costs

The state government spent less than $500,000 bringing British pop singer Sam Smith to McLaren Vale for a controversial invite-only concert, Premier Peter Malinauskas says.

Jan 18, 2023, updated Jan 18, 2023
Premier Peter Malinauskas. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Premier Peter Malinauskas. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Backlash over the taxpayer-funded concert, held at the d’Arenberg Cube last Wednesday in front of a select crowd of about 300 media personalities, social media influencers and radio competition winners, has been fuelled by Opposition claims that it could have cost between $1-$1.5 million based on information provided on Sam Smith’s booking agency website.

But Premier Peter Malinauskas this morning told reporters that the SA Tourism Commission spent “less than half of the $1 (million)” figure – citing commercial confidentiality as the reason why he could not disclose the actual sum.

“As far as I can go, without compromising the confidentiality arrangements that are in place, which are standard operating procedures… it’s not even half the amount that was being proffered around by the Opposition,” he said.

“I think these types of things are worthy of scrutiny, but when the Opposition start throwing figures around they want to get at least close of the ballpark and they’re not even anywhere near it.”

The Opposition has since Monday called on the government to reveal the cost, with its spokesperson for government accountability, Michelle Lensink, this morning saying “taxpayer dollars are a precious resource, and the South Australian public needs to know if the Malinauskas Labor Government is using it wisely”.

“That’s why South Australians deserve to know what celebrities and influencers have been paid to visit the state and how much taxpayer money has been spent,” she said.

The Premier said like all taxpayer-funded advertising campaigns, the government would analyse the SA Tourism Commission’s investment to “make sure that bang for buck is received”.

He said Frontier Touring, the company representing Smith, approached all state governments asking if they would bid to host a concert to promote the singer’s new tour.

“Normally these types of events that launch tours of this nature occur in front of iconic images like the Sydney Opera House, or somewhere else,” Malinauskas said.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

“Different governments around the country had the opportunity to bid into that process and we won out.”

The government is also facing scrutiny over its decision to spend taxpayer dollars luring King Charles III’s niece Zara Tindall and her former rugby captain husband Mike Tindall to South Australia in December to attend the rebooted Adelaide 500 supercars event.

It has refused to disclose the amount it paid the Tindalls, citing commercial confidentiality.

“What I would say is Zara Tindall was in Australia doing a tour that went around across other states and other arrangements were entered into in other jurisdictions around the country,” Malinauskas said this morning.

“There is a particular market in the United Kingdom for touring cars and we want to make sure we get access to that and the Tindall opportunity presents a way to do it.”

Actress Rachel Griffiths also attended the Adelaide 500, but Malinauskas said her attendance was secured by a $10,000 donation to a charity – Back to Back Theatre in Geelong – for which she is a patron.

Malinauskas said it was important that the SA Tourism Commission capitalised on the growing reach of influencers to promote the state.

“Some of that’s happening in innovative ways that in some ways cut against the grain or are seen to be unorthodox, but the truth is the days of big dollars only being spent on TV advertising with a global celebrity like Paul Hogan back in the day, for instance, are passing us by,” he said.

“We have to be in mediums in the traditional format like TV, but we’ve also got to be on social media as well.”

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.