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Canberra Today 8°/10° | Monday, July 4, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

CIT mess: Libs say Minister Steel fails again

PROMOTING the CIT deputy chair Kate Lundy to the top job is “another failure” by Skills Minister Chris Steel, say the Canberra Liberals. 

It comes following the public revelation of $8.87 million worth of “unusual” contracts awarded by CIT to a consultancy company.

New CIT chair Kate Lundy.

“Appointing the deputy chair, who has been on the board for most of these contracts, to the position of chair raises serious concerns,” said Lee, describing the decision as yet another failure by the Minister for Skills Chris Steel.

Lundy, a former ACT Labor senator, has been in the position of deputy chair since April 2020.

Since 2017, CIT contracts were all awarded to the same person, and linked entities, primarily to provide mentoring to the CIT CEO, and have steadily escalated in price.

The most recent contract – signed in March – is valued at almost $5 million, Ms Lee said.

“The services provided by the contractor do not appear to have changed significantly since 2017, but the rates to provide those services have increased from $1000 per day to $10,000 per day,” said Lee.

“The deputy chair was on the board when concerns over these contracts were raised with the minister for skills in March 2021.

“The deputy chair was on the board when it responded to the minister’s concerns with reassurances that the contracts represented value for money.

“The deputy chair was on the board when the latest contract for $4,999,990 was signed in March.”

Since this issue was brought to light, Ms Lee said the minister has attempted to evade scrutiny by saying he is at arm’s length from CIT: “but we know that is not the case”.

“The Act clearly states CIT must comply with any direction of the minister. In fact, he used those powers over a year ago to promote the deputy chair to chair of the board from July 1, 2022,” she said.

“With this appointment being made on May 17, 2021, the minister’s claims last week that he is taking strong action including refreshing the board is simply not true.

“In responding to the CIT board last week, the minister said he was underwhelmed with their response to his questions, but it is the Canberra public that are rightfully underwhelmed with the minister’s response and lack of accountability regarding these contracts.”

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