Taxpayers had a right to know how much taxpayers’ money was being paid to key consultants such as Bruce Carter and Ian Kowalick by the Rann Government.
“Premier Mike Rann and his Ministers have refused for eight months to answer questions on notice in the Legislative Council about how much taxpayers’ money has been paid to people like Bruce Carter, Ian Kowalick and David Cappo,” Liberal MLC Rob Lucas said today.
Mr Lucas said the questions on notice were as follows:
For all departments, agencies, boards and authorities reporting to the Minister for each financial year since 2002-03 what were the total payments made to Mr Bruce Carter (or any company, firm or entity in which Mr Carter has a financial interest) in the following categories:
1. Salary, allowance, sitting fee or other similar payment;
2. Travel, accommodation or entertainment expense; and
3. Any other payment.
“Similar questions on notice were lodged eight months ago for other consultants and advisers, like Ian Kowalick and Monsignor David Cappo,” he said.
“These questions are just some of the more than 2000 questions on notice lodged in parliament that the Rann Government has been refusing to answer – in some cases for up to six years.
“Given Mr Rann’s vigorous criticisms of payments to consultants when in Opposition, it is perhaps not surprising that he wants to keep secret how much money he has been paying to high profile consultants like Mr Carter.
“Mr Carter has been the ‘go to’ man for the Rann Government on a number of high profile and lucrative appointments such as the Olympic Dam Task Implementation Task Force, the National Wine Centre review and Basketball Association of South Australia review. These tasks were in addition to key board appointments (for which payments are known) to WorkCover, Economic Development and SA Motor Sport Boards.
“Mr Kowalick has also received a number of key appointments such as the Desalination Working Group, Royal Adelaide Hospital investigation, Future ICT Adviser. These tasks were in addition to key board appointments (for which payments are known) such as Murray-Darling Basin Commissioner, Playford Centre, Playford Capital Ltd, Adelaide Festival Centre Trust, SA Government Biotechnology Industry Advisory Council and the State Opera of SA.
“Public service leaks have advised the Liberal Opposition that answers have been prepared by government departments but that the Rann Government has so far taken the decision not to allow the release of the answers,” Mr Lucas said.
“Given the controversy over Minister Jennifer Rankine’s $80,000 appointment (without tender) of consultant Margaret Wagstaff to help with her portfolios, there can be no excuse for Mr Rann not revealing total payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars to consultants like Mr Carter, who was also appointed without tender.
“It is important to note that this release makes no criticism of the individual consultants like Mr Carter, but instead is directed at Mr Rann and his Ministers for their secrecy.
“This refusal by Mr Rann to answer important questions is typical of the arrogance and lack of accountability of this Labor Government.”