Premier Rann continues to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants whilst at the same time forcing savage budget cuts in hospitals and schools, Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said today.
Mr Lucas said the Liberal Party had been given a leaked copy of a quote from The Nous Group for $68,000 to ‘facilitate’ a one day summit in February for Mr Rann on the SA Strategic Plan (SASP).
The letter, dated 20 October 2010, is signed by The Nous Group Principal Tanya Smith and was sent to Emma Lawson, Executive Director for the SASP in Mr Rann’s Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Until recently, Tanya Smith was Deputy Chief Executive of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
“Whilst the final agreed cost has not been revealed it is clear it involves tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars. This is an outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money for a one day summit and publicity event for Mr Rann,” Mr Lucas said.
“Why couldn’t the more than 1000 staff in his own department organise a one day summit rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars on consultants?
“However, an investigation of departmental annual reports reveals The Nous Group is one of the Rann Government’s favourite consultancy groups.
“In late 2010, the Department for Trade and Economic Development (DTED) revealed in its annual report it had paid $260,000 to The Nous Group to ‘undertake a cultural gap analysis and design, deliver and evaluate workshops on organisational cultural management!
“Whatever that means, it certainly isn’t worth spending $260,000 on!
Also, in late 2009, the Department of Premier and Cabinet revealed they had paid ‘more than $50,000’ to The Nous Group to ‘develop the Climate Change Adaptation proposal’.
Mr Lucas said senior public servants are furious at the amount of money being wasted on these consultancies, and at the process of appointment.
Mr Rann must answer the following questions:
• were the contracts given to The Nous Group after an open tender, or were they just given to them?
• how many other contracts have been given to The Nous Group?
• was Tanya Smith, when she was Deputy CEO of DPC, involved in any way in the awarding of the Climate Change consultancy to The Nous Group?
• what was the actual total cost of this Climate Change consultancy?
• what was the value of spending $260,000 on ‘cultural gap analysis’ in DTED in 2010 when budget cuts in 2011 to DTED will cut it almost in half?
“This continual waste of taxpayers’ money on consultants is just another example of the warped priorities of Mr Rann and his Ministers.
“Frankly, some of these consultancies are just useless ‘navel gazing’ exercises and the money could be much better spent elsewhere.
“Only Mr Rann could support cutting spending on the eating disorder unit at Flinders Hospital whilst wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants and papers on ‘cultural gap analysis’.”
If Mr Rann refuses to answer these questions, the Liberal Party will pursue the issues with Departmental CEO’s when they appear before the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee this year.