VICTORIAN Premier Ted Baillieu is under fire for rejecting a new number plate slogan before driving home his Government's own.
Victoria's new slogan, Stay Alert Stay Alive, was not among the final contenders from a year-long public selection process run by the Transport Accident Commission and VicRoads with the help of two consultants, documents released under Freedom of Information show, the Herald Sun reports.
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A recommendation that slogans be rotated so various safety messages would appear over time was also ignored.
Asked about the process, the Government revealed it hired a third consultant, top-end brand strategists Mojo, to develop a new selection of slogans for the premier and his department "with consideration given to the previous research".
Stay Alert Stay Alive was among 33 options put forward by Mojo.
The Government declined to say how much Mojo was paid but the earlier work cost taxpayers $90,000 in consultants fees and hundreds of hours of work by public servants.
A senior whistleblower who worked on the project claims Stay Alert Stay Alive was parachuted into calculations by the Baillieu Government after 13 months of rejected research.
Another source also claims the slogan was pushed by the Government itself.
Their claims are supported by TAC documents that show the Premier's choice was not among 23 shortlisted after public consultations or the three recommended by Sweeney Research.
After ditching the previous slogan weeks after winning office, Mr Baillieu asked the TAC for fresh ideas but rejected 26 options.
Mr Baillieu then called on Victorians to suggest ideas.
After receiving 2123 submissions, the Government undertook a nine-month evaluation process, involving two departments, the two consultants, VicRoads, the TAC and eight focus groups.
"We were in the throes of analysis by paralysis - no real recommendation from the agency but lots of research," the source said.
"(The process) was definitely overruled by insisting on more and more groups until the 'right' answer emerged."
Paul Price, the Premier's spokesman, said Stay Alert Stay Alive was suggested in at least four public submissions.
"The Coalition considers road safety a very serious matter which requires a whole-of-government response," he said. "As part of this approach all road safety agencies were involved in the planning for the new road safety message to appear on Victorian number plates."
Opposition scrutiny of Government spokesman Martin Pakula suggested the whole process was a charade.
"Why pretend to give people a say and waste their time and our money," he said.
Read more at the Herald Sun.