‘Absolutely eye-watering’ cost of Brisbane App slammed by councillors

A phone app developed by Brisbane City Council to promote the city's attractions has a two-year budget of $4.1 million for development and marketing, an amount opposition councillors described as "eye-watering".

Key points:The council has spent $1.3m on the app so farThe Opposition says the city should be spending its money fixing infrastructureDeputy Mayor Krista Adams says the Opposition should explain why it's wrong to support local businesses

The Brisbane App was launched mid-September and includes maps, event listings and the details of thousands of businesses.

This week the council announced the app had been downloaded more than 100,000 times and was used for an average of 22 minutes.

On Tuesday, in response to questions on notice from Labor councillors and independent councillor Nicole Johnston, the details of the development and marketing costs were released.

Melbourne-based company We Make Apps developed the app at a cost of $285,610, while $69,000 has been allocated each year for three years on maintenance and support.

Licence management was also allocated $74,040 per year for three years, while $230,000 was allocated in this financial year for "additional functionality development".

The council is also advertising the app on 68 billboards across the city through advertising companies oOh!, JCDecaux and QMS, as well as on 25 buses and on more than 215 bus stops at a cost of $65,903.

More than $206,000 has been spent on talent for photos and video content used in the app, while $49,312 was spent on radio advertising and $369,856 was spent on television advertising.

Another $61,408 was paid for social media advertising and a further $38,260 was paid to social media influencers.

To date, the council has spent $1.3m on the app's development and promotion.

'Absolutely eye-watering'

Independent councillor Nicole Johnston said the app was "the wrong priority for our city".

"The Lord Mayor's decision to spend $4m-plus on marketing and advertising an app is unconscionable when footpaths are crumbling, flood mitigation is neglected and road safety projects are ignored," she said.

Opposition Leader Jared Cassidy said the costs and forecast budget were "absolutely eye-watering" and a "blatant misuse of residents' money".

"This council should be spending $4.5m on upgrading our community spaces, fixing our footpaths, making our streets safer and improving services for the suburbs," he said.

"But instead Adrian Schrinner is blowing the budget on advertising."

Deputy Mayor Krista Adams, however, said it was "appalling" that Labor believed "backing Brisbane businesses" was "financially irresponsible".

"The app is an initiative of the Economic Recovery Taskforce aimed at helping businesses that have done it tough during the pandemic," Cr Adams said.

"The cafes and restaurant sector, in particular, has struggled and the Brisbane App gives owners a free way to promote their business to new and existing customers.

"Cr Cassidy needs to explain why he believes backing Brisbane businesses that have battled through unprecedented circumstances isn't worthwhile."

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Posted 3 Nov 20213 Nov 2021Wed 3 Nov 2021 at 7:58pm, updated 3 Nov 20213 Nov 2021Wed 3 Nov 2021 at 9:40pmShareCopy linkFacebookTwitterArticle share optionsShare this onFacebookTwitterLinkedInSend this byEmailMessengerCopy linkWhatsApp

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