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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 5622

Ms JULIE BISHOP (10:33 AM) —I refer the parliamentary secretary to a report of the Australian National Audit Office of last year which was critical of Australia’s overreliance on what it termed ‘highly paid consultants’ to deliver AusAID programs overseas. It also made the comment that Australia uses double the average aid budget of comparable OECD countries. In particular, I refer the parliamentary secretary to the highest paid full-time consultants who have received funding from AusAID. We have mentioned Peter Kelly in Vanuatu. There was also Mr Sikosana in Papua New Guinea, a health adviser, on a salary of $371,350; Mr Desai, in Vanuatu, an energy adviser, on $344,000; Hugh Brown, an infrastructure adviser to the Indonesian tsunami reconstruction program, on $342,800; and Graham Applegate, in Indonesia, a senior technical forest and climate specialist, on $342,000.

I also refer to the highest paid part-time consultants: Victor Canales in PNG was a census planning and budgeting assistant for two months and was paid $146,444. Mr Canales, again in PNG, gave assistance with data entry for a household survey for two months and was paid $115,868. Dr Hong Tan did a mid-term review of private sector development specialists for four months, for $114,000. Michael Carter, a strategic evaluation leader for five months, was paid $131,000. And Jessica Kenway worked on a review of the Australian partnerships for African communities for five months at a cost of $104,869.

Will the parliamentary secretary advise what analysis is carried out in relation to the value for money provided by those advisers? What assessment is done of the outcomes and the results achieved by those full-time consultants and part-time consultants? Will the parliamentary secretary advise whether a process is undertaken to engage people who are actually living and working in those countries—for example, NGOs or people in the private sector—who could provide better value for money so that the aid dollars are spent on actual results and outcomes rather than on processes, strategies, reviews and the like?