Page 1785 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 June 2022
Let us not forget that the Minister for Skills is also the Special Minister of State, who has responsibility over all ACT procurements. This minister has been delivering failure after failure, and whether it is incompetence or complicity he must demonstrate some decency and resign. This is a pattern exhibited for years, and this Labor-Greens government must be held accountable. It must stop and it must stop today. Canberrans deserve better. To all members here today: I implore you to put integrity first. Send a message to all Canberrans that you put their interests above your own. The Minister for Skills has failed in his duty to the public and must resign. If he does not have the decency to do so, the Chief Minister must demand his resignation. I commend my motion to the Assembly.
MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (10.16): While it is never comfortable to face a no-confidence motion, I welcome the opportunity to put on the record the government’s position on these procurements and the steps that I have taken, as the responsible minister, in relation to them.
As members would be aware from our discussions in this place yesterday, the Canberra Institute of Technology operates under a governing board, an executive external to government, in line with the Canberra Institute of Technology Act 1987. To answer Ms Lee’s question in her speech, as the Minister for Skills I have policy oversight over the delivery of vocational education and training in the ACT but not day-to-day delivery oversight of CIT operations, as is the case with government directorates.
CIT’s governance is primarily the responsibility of the institute’s board and executive. The board is made up of individuals with knowledge and experience of the vocational education and training sector, as well as members with specialist expertise in key focus areas of training delivery for CIT like health care, construction and innovation. The board selects the CIT CEO, who is then responsible for the institute’s operations, including matters like procurement.
CIT does provide me, as minister, with regular advice about its activities. I also have the capacity under the act to seek information and direct the institute to take certain actions, only in limited circumstances. In my capacity as the Minister for Skills, I initially contacted CIT in early 2021 to seek more information about a series of contracts which the institute signed between 2017 and 2021. These contracts were brought to my attention by media inquiries. At the time, there were four contracts that had been identified, with a total value of $3.274250 million over three years.
I wrote to the CIT board chair, Craig Sloan, seeking advice on how these contracts represented value for money. In this correspondence I also requested information from CIT on the specific outcomes being sought by these consultancies and how these outcomes had been delivered to date. The CIT chair provided a written response and a detailed breakdown of the services provided under these contracts, copies of which I now table. The chair of the CIT board advised me: