Page 1737 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 7 June 2022
We saw only last week the Labor-Greens government was brought kicking and screaming to finally address the chronic teacher shortage in our schools. We know that our nurses are almost at breaking point—they are calling out for more support—and we know that our frontline police officers are so lacking in support and resources that they cannot even attend property crimes, forcing Canberrans to do nothing more than report it on a website. This is the same government that has allowed a whopping $8.87 million to be paid to one external contractor to provide services that no-one can make head or tail of what they are, whether there is any benefit to the Canberra community or whether, indeed, they have actually been delivered.
We already know that the minister responsible will say—if he has got his talking points ready—that they were subject to open tenders and all processes were followed. But we know that this Labor-Greens government has a broken procurement culture. You can have all the processes in place that you like, you can do all the internal reviews that you like, but it is absolutely clear that these contracts look like they were designed to deliver a predetermined outcome and those that were in positions of enormous privilege jumped through hoops to make it happen.
I emphasise that the overwhelming majority of staff at CIT are hardworking, capable people teaching our future generation the skills they need to thrive in the workplace of the future. These contracts are an absolute slap in the face to these hardworking CIT staff, a few of whom have now approached me about their serious concern about these contracts but have either been overtly told to stop asking questions or—let us just leave it at that. This is the result of a toxic culture of secrecy that has been fostered and continues to be fostered by this Labor-Greens government.
In closing, let’s recap this extraordinary situation—$8.87 million in contracts over the last five years to one individual. The latest contract pays this individual $10,000 a day to deliver strategic guidance that is wilfully opaque or, at best, completely unintelligible. Starkly missing from these contracts is information that is a given under any other procurement contract that you would expect—details of personnel, their charge-out rates and qualifications, key milestones and deliverables. $8.87 million, Madam Speaker.
There are many questions that need to be answered by the minister responsible and this Labor-Greens government. In its 21 years in power, this Labor-Greens government has fostered this culture of secrecy, a culture of fear and a culture of serious probity issues, especially in procurement. This must stop. The minister needs to stand in this place and be held accountable to the Canberra community. I commend my motion to the Assembly.
Motion (by Mr Steel) proposed:
That the debate be adjourned and the resumption of the debate be made an order of the day for a later hour this day.