The Rann Government has been severely embarrassed by claims from a senior public servant that cyclist Stuart O’Grady was on a $40,000, two year contract to promote South Australia, but had not done a day’s work in the last financial year.
Chief Executive of the Department for Trade and Economic Development (DTED), Ray Garrand, yesterday gave evidence to the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee and confirmed that $40,000 had been paid to Mr O’Grady in 2005/2006 as a consultancy payment to be an Ambassador for South Australia in Europe.
Liberal Member of the Legislative Council Rob Lucas said today that Mr Garrand had made a series of claims to the Committee, most of which have now been strongly denied by O’Grady’s management.
For example, Mr Garrand claimed the Department had not made a payment to O’Grady for the second year of the contract and wanted to meet O’Grady’s manager to discuss performance under the contract.
Mr Garrand also claimed that ‘from memory,’ the contract required the following:
“…it would include hosting events for the South Australian Government, some media activities in terms of promoting the state, being able to use his name, a number of interviews with him around the time of the tour, using him to attract students here, as you point out, and attend various business functions in London and Europe, and the main focus was to promote South Australia in Europe.”
Mr Lucas said that Mr Garrand was unable to explain important aspects of the contractual arrangements with Mr O’Grady such as the length of the contract and what work had actually been undertaken by Mr O’Grady under the contract.
In response to other questions, Mr Garrand outlined that cricketer Darren Lehmann had a similar contract and had received $50,000 per annum for work in India and had actually spent about 28 days in the last year as part of his contract.
“Mr Garrand confirmed that the appointment of Mr O’Grady and Mr Lehmann were not as a result of a formal submission from the DTED, but rather were decisions taken by Premier Rann and the Government,” Mr Lucas said.
“It seems incredible that Mr Rann could have approved such an open-ended contract with Mr O’Grady where clearly there remains strong disagreement about what was required of Mr O’Grady. Any contract like this should have very clear requirements incorporated into the contract before any payment is made.
“On the basis of the evidence so far, it would appear that any criticism of this contract should be directed at Mr Rann and his Department, and not Mr O’Grady.
“The Budget and Finance Committee has directed Mr Garrand to provide a copy of the contract details of total payments to Mr O’Grady and work undertaken by Mr O’Grady under the terms of the contract.”