An increasingly arrogant Rann Government is now refusing to answer questions on the costs of consultants employed by departments and agencies.
Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said today that, for many years, Labor and Liberal governments have answered questions on consultancy costs during estimates committee hearings providing details on the name of each consultant, the cost, tasks undertaken and the methods of appointment.
“However, Mr. Rann, this year, after an estimates committee question became the first Premier to refuse to provide detailed answers on consultancy costs,” Mr. Lucas said.
“Mr. Rann’s supposed justification is full of political spin and deception. For example, he claims that departmental annual reports now show all payments to consultants and the nature of work undertaken.
“However, Mr. Rann knows he issued a new directive last June (Department of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013) which covered reporting requirements on consultants in departmental annual reports:
“The details of expenditure relating to individual consultancies no longer needs to be reported…..”
“A search of annual reports this year shows the majority are not reporting details of individual consultant costs and it is likely this trend of non-disclosure will continue.”
Mr. Lucas said this now means a department may have spent $700,000 on a consultant, but they only need to report, in their annual report, that ‘more than $50,000’ was spent on the consultant.
Mr. Rann also claims details are provided on the Tenders SA website, but some departments are not complying with the policy and the details are removed from the website after a limited period. This means it is impossible to conduct searches of past consultant costs.
“Once again it is clear this is a deliberate policy of Mr. Rann to prevent the release of information which should be public and is released by all other state and territory governments.
“It comes after recent revelations that Mr. Rann had refused to answer more than 500 questions on notice, in some cases for up to four years.
“This is another example of the increasing arrogance of Mr. Rann, who, having won a state election easily, has obviously decided he can now do whatever he wants to.”