$100,000 funding for cooking show

Ben Milbourne

Ben Milbourne

THE STATE government has handed over $100,000 to a celebrity chef for a cooking show, as it puts the squeeze on expenditure in other areas.

In the lead-up to what's expected to be a tight state budget, fees have been frozen on 130 government boards and committees for a year, estimated to save $80,000.

The state's MPs may also have their salaries frozen, while the government considers a report on parliamentarians' pay and entitlements.

But Tasmanian Ben Milbourne, a finalist on the hit cooking show  Masterchef , has been handed funding to film his new show  Ben's Menu  next month.

A government spokeswoman confirmed the money had been paid to Mr Milbourne, describing him as a ``champion of Tasmanian produce and our state''.

``The Liberal government remains committed to delivering our election commitment and supporting his new television series with $100,000, which will not only be good for promoting our state and its produce, but also the Tasmanian screen industry,'' the spokeswoman said.

In the lead-up to the election the Liberals promised to audit government boards to identify savings.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the review of boards and committees was continuing.

``The cabinet agreed to freeze board fees for a year from July, foregoing the annual 2 per cent pay increase,'' Mr Gutwein said.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green said the Liberals were creating new boards.

``Saving $80,000 by freezing the pay of board members is less impressive when you consider the Liberals are actually creating new boards,'' Mr Green said.

``It is about time the Liberals explained which boards will be abolished and whether they stand by their original savings target,'' he said.

 Ben's Menu  is expected to air on Channel Ten, weekdays from 4pm-4.30pm in September.

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