Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the Newman Government which promised to rein in the use of consultants has paid consulting firms the lion’s share of more than $2 million spent so far on the Costello Audit.
“The Newman Government says it cannot find funds for our roads, schools, or people with disabilities but it can waste $2.2 million on a political exercise headed by a Liberal Party activist who has delivered the findings the LNP wanted,” Mr Pitt said.
“At the same time it manages to break its promise to cut down on consultants’ fees.
“An Opposition right-to-information search shows Queensland taxpayers have so far shelled out more than $2.2 million for the LNP’s ‘independent’ Audit conducted by its Liberal Party mate, Peter Costello.
“I am sure there are many community groups across the state that could do with a share of the $2.2 million it has cost taxpayers so far for Mr Costello to deliver his foregone conclusions.
“Queenslanders have always been suspicious of the political motives behind this report and the RTI information shows they have good cause.
“I have previously predicted the outcomes of the Costello Audit so perhaps I could have saved taxpayers $2.2 million.
“Regardless, the government could have saved the money if it had used Queensland Treasury as a genuinely independent source of advice.”
Mr Pitt said the RTI documents show Mr Costello through consulting firm BKK Partners had racked up claims so far of about $200,000 for just 47 days’ work including his daily fee of $3,300 plus expenses.
“Audit chief executive Mark Gray, through Laurina Consulting, has expenses totalling around $600,000 so far,” he said.
“Payments to other consulting firms for working on the Audit include more than $300,000 to KPMG, around $170,000 to Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and about $80,000 to Synergies Consulting.
“Audit panel member Dr Doug McTaggart was paid fees alone of $67,500 for 27 days’ work through Beekon Consulting,” Mr Pitt said.
He said the third Audit panel member, Sandra Harding, was paid her $2,500 daily fee for 35 days through James Cook University.