NSW Government to spend $25million to put Aboriginal flag on Sydney Harbour Bridge


Government was given a quote that was MILLIONS cheaper to permanently put the Aboriginal flag on Sydney Harbour Bridge before it accepted the wild $25 million price tag

  • Government set aside $25million to put Aboriginal flag permanently on bridge
  • Premier Dominic Perrottet couldn’t say why the cost was so expensive
  • Northern beaches company said it could do it for less than $650,000
  • Mr Perrottet said he would to speak to NSW Transport to review the cost 

The NSW government received a quote that was a massive $24.3 million cheaper than the one it eventually accepted to permanently add the Aboriginal flag to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

It was revealed on Sunday the new addition to the bridge, and the replacement of the current two flags, would take $25 million from the pockets of taxpayers – something Premier Dominic Perrottet admitted was ‘ridiculous’.

The $25 million price tag came as a shock to Poseidon Poles and Flags, in Sydney’s northern beaches, which said each pole would only cost up to $200,000 to erect.

Lauren Mace, from the pole company, said she guessed there were safety concerns behind the mammoth price.

‘It is a lot (of money) … I think there’s quite a lot of work that needs to go into it, for a flag to stand on the harbour bridge securely,’ she told The Daily Telegraph

The traffic control needed to close the bridge, one of Sydney’s busiest thoroughfares, could also be to blame for the massive price. 

NSW Government set aside $25million to permanently fly the Aboriginal flag on the Sydney Harbour Bridge

NSW Government set aside $25million to permanently fly the Aboriginal flag on the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Mr Perrottet on Sunday laughed when he was quizzed by a reporter why putting up a third flag was so expensive.

‘I don’t know. But it does (cost that much), apparently,’ he said.

‘I’m even surprised it takes this long. I mean I made the announcement a while ago and the first brief that came back was that it takes two years to do.

‘I’ll go to Bunnings myself and climb up there and put the pole up.’

The premier later confirmed he would look at other quotes to try bring the price down, telling 2GB’s Ben Fordham it ‘doesn’t pass the pub test’.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said he 'didn't know' why putting up a third flag would cost taxpayers so much

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said he ‘didn’t know’ why putting up a third flag would cost taxpayers so much

‘The advice that I have received has been that it’s complex, that there are heritage concerns, obviously all the poles will need to be replaced and all three of them are the equivalent size of a six-storey building, so I accept that it’s not a simple process and it’s not a simple construction,’ he told the radio station on Monday.

‘But like your listeners and most fair-minded people across the state it seems to be a pretty ridiculous and outrageous cost.’

He insisted he didn’t find see the matter as a joke, and said his comments about going to Bunnings were ‘lighthearted’ but that he found it ‘incredibly frustrating’.

He added he would sit down with NSW Transport and go through the cost ‘line by line’ to ensure the ‘taxpayers get value for money’.

Mr Perrottet also ruled out replacing the NSW flag with the Aboriginal one, saying he wanted all three to fly together.

The premier wouldn’t disclose what price he thought would be reasonable.

‘$25 million dollars is incredibly excessive for what would appear to be, despite its challenging, a pretty simple task,’ he said.

Cheree Toka (pictured) organised a successful petition and raised more than $300,000 towards the cost

Cheree Toka (pictured) organised a successful petition and raised more than $300,000 towards the cost

Treasurer Matt Kean said Mr Perrottet had instructed the transport department to review the cost.

A Transport NSW spokesperson said the project required ‘sophisticated engineering’  in a complex place.

‘Transport must also ensure safe installation conditions at the peak of the bridge while minimising the disruption to one of the busiest transport corridors in Sydney,’ they said.

‘The $25 million figure is a budget for Transport to work within to install these three new flag poles, and the department has been working to refine the design and methodology to maximise value for money.’

The Aboriginal flag will be permanently flown atop the bridge by the end of the year following a five-year-long grassroots campaign. 

Kamilaroi woman Cheree Toka led the push to give the flag a prime position on Sydney Harbour for 365 days a year by organising successful petitions and fundraising $300,000 towards the cost. 

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