Trade Minister wants to ‘steer away from consultants’ – appoints another consultant

The Weatherill Labor Government has hired yet another consultant despite the Minister for Trade declaring his approach “to steer away from consultants”.

Minister Hamilton-Smith yesterday announced that former Labor Minister Karlene Maywald had been appointed as a ‘Strategic Adviser – Water Opportunities’ – a $70,000 a year external consultancy role which follows her appointment as the Sampson Flat bushfire recovery coordinator this year.

 

The new position joins a long line-up of consultants in South Australia’s trade portfolio including Brian Hayes QC, Sean Keenihan, Sir Angus Houston and Rob Chapman. 

 

The appointment comes just weeks after the Minister for Trade declared during Estimates:

 

“My approach as the Minister has been to steer away from consultants. I do not like the idea of paying consultants large amounts of money to do these things (Hansard, 27/7/15)”

 

Freedom of Information documents have revealed the Weatherill Labor Government has spent almost $1.5 million alone on consultancy fees for China and India engagement strategies from 2010 to 2014.

 

Shadow Minister for Investment and Trade Tim Whetstone said Labor needs to focus less on hiring consultants and more on assisting export businesses open new doors overseas.

 

“As expenditure on consultants and glossy brochures for trade strategies increases, funding for the state’s export assistance program remains utterly stagnant,” Mr Whetstone said.

 

“Now the Minister for Trade has hired another consultant to advise him, at a time when export businesses are crying out for more support and South Australia’s presence on the ground in overseas markets is scarce at best.

 

“The State Government must stop its obsession with appointing consultants ahead of allocating funding to South Australian businesses to sell their products overseas.”