Liberal Member of the Legislative Council Rob Lucas has today criticised Premier Rann’s priorities because he is cutting public service jobs everywhere, but not in Ministers’ personal offices.
Mr Rann is wasting about $25 million over four years on an explosion in the number of ‘Spin Doctors’ and other Ministerial staff employed in Ministerial offices.
Mr Lucas said the total number of staff employed by Mr Rann and his Ministers in November 2006 was a ridiculous 275, compared with only 191 under the former Liberal Government in early 2002.
“Put simply, this means that Mr Rann is now employing 84 more ‘Spin Doctors’ and other staff – an explosion of almost 44 per cent!”
The numbers employed in Ministerial offices are listed in a confidential Government document titled, ‘Ministers’ Directory’:
Date Ministerial Staff Numbers
Jan 2002 (Lib) 191
May 2004 (Rann) 235
May 2006 (Rann) 255
Nov 2006 (Rann) 275
“At a conservative estimated cost of $75,000 per staff member (with on costs), an extra 84 staff members cost about an extra $6.3 million per year, or $25 million over four years,” Mr Lucas said.
“The Rann Government has also been trying to conceal the real numbers and total costs of Ministers’ offices by releasing misleading figures in budget papers.
“For example, in last year’s budget papers, Minister Pat Conlon claimed he only had 10 staff in his office and the total cost of his office was $1.4 million.
“However, the confidential Ministers’ Directory reveals Mr Conlon actually has 21 staff in his office and not 10. Mr Conlon (and other Ministers) conceals the real figures by having his department pay for extra staff in his office.
“It should be noted that in the September 2006 State Budget, Mr Rann announced almost 2,000 public service job cuts for all agencies and yet at the same time he was further increasing staff in Ministerial offices.
“If Mr Rann was prepared to cut this waste of $25 million on Ministerial staff, then that funding could be diverted to high priority areas such as mental health funding or extra assistance for helping children with disabilities.
“This is yet another example of an arrogant Premier and Government which is increasingly out of touch with the priorities of South Australian families.”