Blame passed in TasTAFE payout
Tasmania's Education Minister is not impressed with a large payout for disgraced former TasTAFE head Stephen Conway.
An Integrity Commission report earlier this year found Mr Conway gave his close friend and deputy favourable treatment that resulted in improper financial and career advantages.
Mr Conway's contract has now been paid out, despite the Integrity Commission's findings, a total of $496,000, which included:
- $188,000 bonus
- $251,000 salary
- $28,000 superannuation
- $24,000 other benefits
- $5,000 long-service leave
Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff refused to take responsibility for the payment, blaming Labor instead.
“I did not sign the contract, the previous government signed the contract, but I accept that many Tasmanians would see that (as) an extraordinary figure,” he said.
“I am not avoiding scrutiny, this report and all reports that are tabled in parliament will be scrutinised thoroughly.”
Mr Rockliff was grilled by Labor over details of Mr Conway's contract.
“Is there a clause about misconduct, yes or no?” Opposition Leader Rebecca White asked.
“Given the very serious findings of the Integrity Commission, so serious that Mr Conway had to leave his position, so serious that you just admitted you had to bring in policy, why was any payment made at all?” Deputy Leader Michelle O'Byrne asked.
The Opposition wants the Government to release the contract.
Mr Rockliff described it as a “classic contract, signed by the classic Labor Green government, it's on your head”.
The Opposition alleged that the Government had conspired to get Mr Conway the payout.
Ms O'Byrne said the contract would have a misconduct clause in it, and so she believes “the Government chose a course of action to ensure that that clause did not have to be utilised”.
Greens Leader Cassy O'Connor said Mr Rockliff would have signed off on the payment.
“We are talking about public funds, a public authority,” she said, joining the call for the release of Mr Conway's contract.
“If it is good enough for the Minister to come and get in here, and blame shift and buck pass and blame the other side for the Premier signing off on a $188,000 payout to a former public official who is disgrace, then it is good enough for the Minister to lay that contract on the table,” Ms O'Connor said.
Former Queensland TAFE executive Jenny Dodd will take over the role as head of TasTAFE early next year.