TAFE SA bungles resemble an episode of ‘Utopia’

Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas today slammed the Weatherill Government and TAFE SA for financial mismanagement and incompetence that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

TAFE SA confirmed today at a Budget and Finance Committee meeting that 40 staff had been declared as “excess” and some of those staff had been excess for up to 5-6 years. These are still being paid their full salary but are not teaching and instead are polishing their CVs and are focused on “retraining and redeployment”.

“This is simply a massive waste of taxpayers’ money which cannot be defended,” said Mr Lucas.

“TAFE SA stated that 18 months after the last enterprise bargaining agreement ended TAFE still hasn’t made an offer to staff and they still are unable to implement the Government’s forced redundancy policy.

“In addition to four weeks’ recreation leave and about six weeks’ ‘non-attendance’ leave each year some staff are provided ‘skills and experience retention leave’.

“However, when asked what ‘skills and experience retention leave’ was, how much leave was available and how many staff were receiving it TAFE executives were unable to even answer these simple questions.”

TAFE Chief Executive Robin Murt also confirmed that Jadynne Harvey, former senior ministerial staffer to Jay Weatherill, had been dismissed from his senior executive position in May. Termination payouts will be more than $100,000 as he is paid 3/4 months’ pay for each unexpired year of his contract.

Mr Harvey was controversially tapped on the shoulder and given the executive position without going through a merit-based selection process.

TAFE SA also confirmed that Mr Murt’s contract includes a $50,000 bonus payment and that at least three other executives also receive bonus payments as part of their salary packages.

“Today’s responses from TAFE SA almost resembled a script from ‘Utopia’ but the sad reality is that it results in a massive cost to taxpayers,” said Mr Lucas.

“The Minister and the Weatherill Government have to accept responsibility for the financial mismanagement and incompetence of TAFE SA and it is time for them to take urgent corrective action.”