Page 3367 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 18 September 2013

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Government—executive contracts

MR COE: My question is to the Chief Minister. On 8 and 15 August you tabled 57 long-term executive contracts with a total value of over $60 million. About 45 of these executives commenced work prior to signing a contract and the average time between starting work and signing a contract was over six months. Were these executives paid for the period prior to signing their contract?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, they were, and I covered the reasons around that in the previous question time. Agreeing to the employment of those individuals is not just dependent on the executive contract being signed, and that is advice we have had from the Government Solicitor.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Given these executives were paid, under what financial arrangements were these uncontracted payments authorised?

MS GALLAGHER: Again, I covered this last question time and I have taken advice on it. There are no concerns in relation to the Financial Management Act. It is around the fact that there are other processes for agreeing to conditions of employment outside of an executive contract.

However, I would say that I have made it very clear to the directorates, and indeed to all the ministers, that the tabling of these executive contracts is an important accountability measure to the Assembly and it needs to be kept up to date. I am advised that that is the case to date. So there is no concern around any unauthorised payments. Agreements are reached around employment and are not just dependent on an executive contract being signed.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Minister, do you think it is acceptable or appropriate that taxpayers’ money is spent before written contracts are signed?

MS GALLAGHER: I do not think it is acceptable that this accountability measure to the Assembly has not been met. In terms of people being paid for work they have done when they have entered into terms on good faith with their employers, yes, I do think it is appropriate that they get paid. But they need to work for it, and they have. There has been no suggestion that they have not.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: If there are no contracts, who has provided the authorisation of the relevant documentation to the payroll to actually pay these employees?

MS GALLAGHER: My understanding is there would be a series of correspondence from the point of view of appropriate selection processes, authorisation from

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