Melbourne , Feb.23: In the backdrop of attacks on Indians that led to a debate on how safe Melbourne streets are, Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on Tuesday lashed out at the state government for spending money on 25 Indian journalists’ visit to the country what is seen as a public relation exercise to rebuild the state’s dented reputation.
According to ’Herald Sun’, Abbott said the money would be better spent preventing the bashings which have given Australia its "PR problem".
"I think it would be much better spending the money on better policing of our streets because that’s the basic problem," Abbott said adding "Our streets aren’t safe, particularly the streets of Melbourne, which appear to have been pretty seriously under-policed.
If you didn’t have these racially motivated bashings in unsafe streets we wouldn’t have the PR problem, so let’s go to the heart of the matter."
According to the newspaper, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was spending 250,000 (AUS) dollars on flights and five-star accommodation for the visiting journalists.
A DFAT spokeswoman confirmed that about USD 10,000 would be spent on each of the 25 Indian reporters.