NSW Ditches Controversial Plan To Spend $25 Million On Installing Aboriginal Flag On The Sydney Harbour Bridge
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The NSW State Premier has backed out of his promise to install an extra flagpole atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the Indigenous flag, after questions were raised about the eye-watering cost of the project.
Instead, the Aboriginal flag will now permanently replace the NSW state flag on top of the iconic bridge.
The $25 million (£14.2 million) cost of the additional flagpole for the Harbour Bridge, which has already been set aside in the state budget, will now go towards Closing the Gap initiatives instead.
"This is a practical and pragmatic solution which makes sense and ensures that we celebrate our nation’s ancient heritage alongside its modern history in a continuing story, which we can all be part of, and celebrate together as one," Premier Dominic Perrottet said, as per the Daily Telegraph.
The Aboriginal flag was erected on the Harbour Bridge last week to mark NAIDOC Week, and was due to be pulled down today (Monday, June 11).
The flag will now remain on the bridge permanently, with the state flag relocated to the site of a redevelopment on Macquarie Street.
"The work that we’re doing on Macquarie Street - I will ensure that the NSW flag has a place there of prominence so that people can see it, appreciate it, learn from it and value it," he said, as per the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Premier had initially defended the cost of installing an extra flagpole on the Sydney Harbour Bridge but faced backlash from the public who couldn’t quite believe it the cost would be so high and take two years to be installed.
The NSW Premier seemed equally bewildered by the cost and construction time when asked about the installation process by Channel 10’s The Project last month.
He said: "I don't know. But it does, apparently. I'm even surprised it takes this long," he said.
"I mean I made the announcement a while ago and the first brief that came back was that it takes two years to do."
The Premier, who has been dubbed ‘Dom the Builder’ because of his construction spending, even claimed he would get up there and do the job himself.
He added: "I’ll go to Bunnings myself and climb up there and put the pole up."
However, following widespread ridicule on the cost, Perrottett told 2GB on June 20 that the cost ‘doesn’t seem to pass the pub test’.
He said: "I accept that it’s not a simple process and it's not a simple construction.
"But like most fair-minded people across the state, I would say that it seems to be a pretty ridiculous and outrageous cost."