The Rann Government had rushed through a four year extension of the contract for Mr Rann’s Special Envoy to Europe Nicola Sasanelli in the last weeks before the state election.
Evidence given today to the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee by Department of Trade and Economic Development CEO Lance Worrall revealed that Mr Sasanelli was only one year into a two year contract in January 2010 when the Rann Government organised the four year extension.
“There was no need to sign a four year extension for Mr Sasanelli in January 2010, because the contract didn’t need to be renewed until January 2011,” Shadow Minister for Finance Rob Lucas said today.
“Of course the impact of Mr Rann’s decision was that if Mr Rann had lost the March election then Mr Sasanelli would have still been locked in with his four year contract.
“Mr Worrall told the Committee that the original recommendation to extend this contract before the election hadn’t come from his department but from the Deputy CEO of Mr Rann’s Department of Premier and Cabinet.
“The Committee was told Mr Sasanelli’s contract was for $195,000 per year with up to $40,000 per year from DTED in expenses, and about the same amount from DPC for expenses.
“So the possible annual cost to taxpayers is $275,000 per year and the total cost over four years is about $1.1 million.”
The total cost of Puglia-related expenditure is now estimated to be over $4 million when future promised commitments are included. The attached table details the evidence provided today and the Budget and Finance Committee will pursue final costs next year with DPC and DTED.
Other evidence to the committee included:
• KPMG international competitiveness survey this year showed Adelaide had dropped from third to 47th and for comparable sized cities from first to seventh;
• Trade Commissioner to India – A.K Tareen – was paid $334,000 per annum plus travel costs, but the costs were not recorded specifically in the budget as he was deemed a ‘contractor’ and not an employee or consultant;
• DTED was still considering the option of introducing charges for the migration visa program;
• DTED has stopped funding the G’Day USA events but will continue funding Puglia events;
• The SA Business Ambassador Network (SABAN) has been disbanded; and,
• DTED had raised the option of discontinuing funding of the annual trade fair in Puglia, Fiera del Levante, but Mr Rann’s Cabinet overruled that option.
Total Puglia Related Costs (attachment to be added)
Note: As per evidence given by DTED to the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee on 13 December 2010