Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Government’s $1m bill despite ‘spending cut’

Taxpayers have forked out more than $1 million in just six months on consultants for one State Government department, sparking Opposition claims it was an "incredible waste" of money.

The cash splash came after former treasurer Jackie Trad established a razor gang to slash consultancy and contractor spending last July.

But The Courier-Mail can reveal the Employment, Small Business and Training Department spent $1,007,673 on "external professional services" between September 2019 and February this year.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tim Mander slammed the cash splash. Picture: Tara Croser
Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tim Mander slammed the cash splash. Picture: Tara Croser

Deloitte Consulting, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte Access Economics were engaged for five initiatives, including a $766,415 evaluation of the department's programs.

LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander said it was an "incredible waste of money".

"To drag ourselves out of recession, we need to invest money where it matters and get bang for buck," he said.

"Labor's reckless economic management is costing jobs, particularly when so many small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open.

"It's why Queensland had the highest unemployment rate, the highest number of bankruptcies and the lowest business confidence before coronavirus."

A further $109,102 was spent on a review of licensing and process requirements to artisanal food producers, while $39,139 was spent on stage one of the Screen and Digital Gaming Workforce Planning Project.

A department spokesperson said the department was fiscally responsible and only engaged external professional services when there was no capability internally, or where specialist skills, advice and industry knowledge was needed.

Employment, Small Business and Training Minister Shannon Fentiman. Picture: Tara Croser
Employment, Small Business and Training Minister Shannon Fentiman. Picture: Tara Croser

Employment, Small Business and Training Minister Shannon Fentiman said Treasurer Cameron Dick had been clear when he said the Government would reduce the use of external consultants and contractors to help hit the state's savings target of $3 billion over four years.

Mr Dick made this commitment earlier this month when he also revealed government advertising would be slashed along with glossy publications and switching off social media accounts.

"We will ensure that work that can be done by public servants is done by public servants," she said.

"We won't sack them.

"When Tim Mander was a minister in the LNP government, they wasted $100 million getting Queensland's assets ready for sale.

"They cut programs and they sacked Queenslanders.

"In contrast, we are committed to investing in training and supporting businesses to create more jobs."