Highly-paid contractors at Major Projects Victoria are having their deals reviewed after the Auditor-General slammed their $33,000 a month salaries.
Five contractors at the infrastructure body are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year despite a 2012 report condemning the over-use of contractors at MPV. The five contractors were a mix of group directors and project directors, working on projects like the Melbourne Market relocation and the Ballarat West Employment Zone.
Auditor-General John Doyle’s latest follow-up report found MPV ignored the 2012 advice and continued to employ guns-for-hire on big wages.
“MPV continues to fail to adequately assess whether it can find qualified, skilled staff within the Victorian public sector,” Mr Doyle said.
“Instead it appears intent on engaging contractors – in what are essentially employee roles – with remuneration levels that MPV has failed to adequately justify.”
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the previous government had ignored the 2012 report, but use of contractors would be limited.
She said the five contractors on big wages at MPV were being reviewed.
“The department is going through a restructure where these things are being looked at,” she told reporters.
Mr Doyle said the contractors were earning significantly more than Victorian public servants with similar responsibilities for major projects. The contractors are on monthly retainers of between $23,000 and $33,000.
About one quarter of MPV’s $10 million budget is spent on salaries for just nine senior staff.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy said the government had scrapped major projects and was setting up authorities to run the projects it was building.
He said MPV should be wound up if it wasn’t overseeing any large projects.
“There is no need to have an office which really isn’t doing anything,” Mr Guy said.
Ms Allan said MPV was used to oversee project delivery, including the Flinders St Station upgrade and the State Library redevelopment.