Premier Rann must clarify why he allowed a consultant with contracts with the Rann Government worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to remain in the extremely sensitive and important position of Clerk of the Executive Council, Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said today.
This week’s Government Gazette advises that on 20 January 2011 the Governor, based on the advice of the Rann Government, revoked the appointment of Tanya Smith as a Clerk of the Executive Council.
Tanya Smith is a Principal of The Nous Group, which has had contracts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) and the Department of Trade and Economic Development (DTED). Up until about a year ago, Ms Smith was the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of DPC.
“The position of Clerk of the Executive Council is extremely sensitive because that person has access to all of the confidential Cabinet submissions considered by the Rann Government, and is also partly responsible for liaison between the Governor and Government over those Cabinet submissions,” Mr Lucas said.
“It is incomprehensible why Mr Rann would have allowed Ms Smith to retain this critical position for up to a year after she left the public service. This decision means for the last year Ms Smith could have accurately told other possible clients she still had this important position with the Rann Government.
“Mr Rann should have revoked this appointment as soon as Ms Smith left to join The Nous Group consultancy.
“This is either another unbelievably bad decision by the Rann Government or another example of its sloppy and incompetent management record. It further demonstrates how distracted the Rann Government is by all the division and factional infighting of recent months.
“Furthermore, the Liberal Party has just been notified it will take three months to reply to a simple FOI application to DTED for details of costs of consultancies awarded to The Nous Group. What has the Rann Government got to hide when such a simple request is being stonewalled by departments?
“This decision to delay a reply was made by Mr Lance Worrall, CEO of DTED, who was previously a long-term personal staffer to Mr Rann.
“The Liberal Party has been provided with information that the Rann Government has not revealed, as it is required to do, the detail of all Nous Group consultancy contracts with all departments. For example, we were trying to determine whether it was correct The Nous Group had received a significant consultancy contract from DTED to advise on DTED Strategic Directions 2009-2014.
“If the Rann Government is going to delay answering through the FOI process, the Liberal Party will seek answers through the Legislative Council’s Budget and Finance Committee.”