When it comes to budgets of any description, how much is ever enough?

Ideally, monies allocated to the likes of health and education would be bottomless.

It's not uncommon for failings in any budget to be blamed squarely on those who initially distribute the funds ... it's nearly always been the stock standard excuse, the blame game in action.

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The headlines tell us as much, so it must be true. But what if it's not that simple?
As budgets and detailed expenditure are more publicly available, one has to ask if the money is being well spent upon receipt.

And, as most of the organisations concerned are tax-payer funded, we have every right to ask.

So are frontline services being sacrificed for the ever-increasing seven-figure salaries, bonuses and golden handshakes that now appear to be an acceptable norm among the executives?

Is it right that these, in many cases, obscene pay packets are continually being forked out when the businesses are constantly under-performing where it really counts?

Then there are the frequent "rebranding" exercises often costing millions.

This is the type of wasteful spending that can, of course, only be discussed at a conference that just happens to be held at a five-star luxury resort.

Those in upper-management whom we may think barely lift a finger when it comes to producing adequate results at the coalface are very quick to lift a finger when dialling down for room service or grabbing the free bubbly from silver trays ... each glass worth more than the minimum wage that the poor server makes.

There's no $18 roast of the day at these conferences or the stark option of grabbing a quick sammie on the go, like the overworked young doctor still hours away from completing another double shift.

No, the health of the nation is discussed over a fatty and decadent dinner of foie gras, parsnip puree and shaved truffle. And, of course, copious amounts of alcohol must be consumed as they brainstorm anti-smoking strategies next to a specially commissioned ice-sculpture of a healthy heart.

Then there is the important business of the multimillion-dollar advertising and marketing campaigns, many of which have proven ineffective in the past.

Despite this, they soldier on — brave troopers that they are — recklessly spending more of our money on focus groups, pricey ad agencies and PR.

Yep, more of an already inadequate budget frittered away on yet another flawed and bound-to-fail "thinktank".

Meanwhile, an underpaid orderly is struggling to push a sick patient on a squeaky, rusted-out old bed or wheelchair.

Next on the agenda is the all-new car fleet — an absolute must for excellent patient care.
Whether it be health boards, schools, Work and Income or any other government-funded venture, no amount of money will probably ever be enough but are the powers-that-be distributing the dosh in the most financially responsible way?

So as patients lift the lids on their "stretch-a-dollar-further" lunch trays, those just finishing up at their all-expenses-paid conference can rifle through their goodie bags and tell each other what a bloody good job they're doing ... before boarding business class flight back to the office.

Let's all raise a glass to their continued good health. Pink Chardon, anyone?