In today's Daily Telegraph, "Clover Moore spending $80,000 in taxpayers' money on her own team of photographers", I'm accused of using public money to hire a personal photographer.
The Telegraph has once again deliberately contorted the facts. The City of Sydney is hiring a photographer to capture events and projects to promote the work the City does - not for my personal benefit.
I have posted below the response sent to the Daily Telegraph yesterday when the City was asked for comment on this story.
You can see for yourself that it was made clear the City has advertised for a photographer to help promote and provide a record of City events and projects - from park openings and building projects to citizenship ceremonies and community events. He or she will be contracted by the City to take photos for the whole organisation, to appear in publications, newsletters, online, historical documentation, sponsorship submissions including proposals and tenders, and internal and external presentations. This is standard practice.
The Telegraph seems to be particularly interested in one line in the tender documents for the role, which says the photographer should: "only submit imagery that has been edited, colour-balanced, retouched and has all necessary metadata fields completed".
This too is standard practice. Photographers use editing software to brighten an image of a park opening that his been shot on a dreary day, or to bring out the vibrancy of the colours of fireworks shot on New Year's Eve.
Read the City's statement below for the truth the Telegraph won't print:
The City of Sydney has a statutory obligation to inform all residents of its actions and operations, the majority of which emanate from decisions of Council.
The City tenders for photographic services to promote and provide a record of the City's urban renewal projects, programs, buildings, citizenship ceremonies and community events.
The City's photography panel is due to expire and the City is now inviting expressions of interest for a new panel of approved freelance photographers
One in-house photography contractor would work for the City, not the Lord Mayor's office. He or she would be contracted by the City to take photos for all divisions to appear in publications, newsletters, online, historical documentation, sponsorship, submissions including proposals and tenders, and internal and external presentations.
A contract photographer will be more readily available than the panel of freelance photographers, who are often unavailable due to other jobs.
There are six full time staff members in the City of Sydney media unit, and two in the Office of the Lord Mayor.
The City's media unit responds to more than 2,000 media inquiries every year. In the past financial year, they issued 330 media releases relating to Council decisions, leading to media coverage valued at over $77.5 million.
Media staff promote the City's many operations, services and projects, which are delivered on behalf of ratepayers, residents, workers, visitors and tourists every single day of the year.
These services, including cleansing, waste collection, parks, libraries, swimming pools and recreation, ensure that our global city looks its best, and that Sydneysiders have the essential services they expect.
Media staff also promote and drive up attendance at the City's many events, including New Year's Eve, the biggest public event in Australia.
There are five full time communications staff who communicate directly to residents in person and online. These staff do not deal with media issues. They ensure the public is informed of upcoming capital works projects, project updates and launches, and public consultation processes.
This includes the production of website materials, letterbox drops, flyers, signage, the Council's annual report, residents' guides, and activity guides.