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Unions slam Department of State Growth’s advisory deals
The Mercury, July 17 2014 – Matt Smith
UNIONS have criticised Tasmania’s new Department of State Growth for awarding contracts worth $300,000 to interstate companies for consultancy services.
Four companies have each recently been awarded $100,000 contracts – and just one of them is from Tasmania.
The State Government said yesterday the idea was to “est¬ablish and appoint a panel of consultants to provide specialist, strategic policy and advisory related services to the department on policy and regulatory reform initiatives within the scope of the Department’s policy and legislative responsibilities”.
A spokesman told the Mercury money had not been paid to the companies yet and said their services might never be used.
But Community and Public Sector Union acting general secretary Mat Johnston has questioned the need for the tender at a time when the state’s public service is being reduced and a pay freeze has been floated by the State Government.
“It defies belief that when we’re led to believe there’s a glut of public sector workers, the Government is spending hundreds of thousands on consultants to do work that current employees can perform,” Mr Johnston said.
“In one breath the Government is preaching fiscal res¬ponsibility and in the next is content to spend money on interstate consultants to do work that can be done in-house.”
The Government said the panel was set up under the former government and “to date the panel has not been asked to provide any advice and no money has been expended”.
“Successful panel members tendered on a daily rate and are available to be called on by the Department of State Growth for high level expert advice – advice which is specialised and not readily available within the bureaucracy.”
The Department of State Growth was created on July 1, formed by merging the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources, and the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts.