More than $1 million was spent on consultancies in the past two years by the Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division of the Department of Premier Cabinet, whilst money was not being made available to address critical problems on the ground in the APY Lands.
The stunning revelation was made in yesterday’s Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee meeting.
“Minister Portolesi and premier-in-waiting Jay Weatherill, as the last two Aboriginal Affairs Ministers, need to explain why so much is being wasted on consultancies rather than actually delivering improved services,” Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said.
“What is equally concerning is that these Ministers and their Department have not been transparent and accountable in revealing actual expenditure on consultancies. In a number of cases the Department has been concealing hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on consultants by calling them contractors and hiding them in an aggregate figure.”
Some examples of the types of consultancies include:
$450,000 – Gientzotis Consulting – APY Lands Capacity Building Review
$270,000 – Price Waterhouse Coopers – review of infrastructure services in APY Lands
$58,000 – Ian Botrain – remote services delivery agreement on APY Lands
$45,000 – Monica Redden – review of aboriginal interpreter services
$10,000-$15,000 – Quark – AARD Grievances
? – PKF – AARD Functional Review
“DPC’s Annual Report, which supposedly lists all consultants employed by the Government, makes no mention of any of these consultants or the money spent on them,” Mr Lucas said.
“It was also concerning that at the Committee meeting the DPC executive in charge of AARD, Ms Pauline Peel, was unable to provide answers to questions about cost and purpose on a number of these consultancies.
“This wasteful expenditure on consultancies is just another example of the warped priorities of this Labor Government.”