School scandal costs taxpayers $60k and counting

Taxpayers have forked out upwards of $60,000 for an external investigation into the bungled appointment process of a Brisbane school principal after the state's corruption watchdog completed its own extensive probe.

Right to Information documents obtained by The Courier-Mail have revealed Q Workplace Solutions was engaged by the Public Service Commission in August, one month after the Crime and Corruption Commission's findings into the Inner City South State Secondary College saga were handed down.

And it can be revealed the probe still hasn't finished.

The CCC released a scathing 178-page report in July after investigating allegations former deputy premier Jackie Trad had interfered with a school principal selection process at ICSSSC in her electorate.

CCC: Jackie Trad did not commit a criminal offence over Inner City South State Secondary College

Qld Premier responds to CCC findings of principal recruitment process

Former deputy premier Jackie Trad
Former deputy premier Jackie Trad

The watchdog, which found Ms Trad had not acted criminally or corruptly and had been "misled" about her part in the saga, handed a confidential report to the commissioner for it to consider whether disciplinary action against any public servants was appropriate.

The former deputy premier resigned from the ministry in May after learning of the investigation and the Education Department's deputy director-general Jeff Hunt was stood aside days later over the scandal.

The department this week refused to say whether Mr Hunt was still stood aside or whether anyone else had been.

"The Department of Education is aware that this matter currently remains under the consideration of the Public Service Commission," a spokeswoman said.

The commissioner refused to tell The Courier-Mail in September whether it had engaged external consultants for an investigation.

However a contract released under Right to Information has revealed Q Workplace Solutions' investigation will cost between $40,480 and $62,100.

The terms of reference have been redacted.

The Government last year vowed to crackdown on consultants following a major review of the public service by former QUT vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake.

When asked why the body couldn't conduct its own investigation, PSC chief executive Robert Setter said it was common practice to seek specialist expertise when dealing with "complex cases or allegations involving employees, and where that expertise is not available internally."

"The process is ongoing however, an update can be provided once any resulting actions have been finalised," he said.

Mr Setter wouldn't say when the process is expected to finish.

 

The revelation has been slammed by LNP finance spokesman Jarrod Bleijie who claimed tens of thousands of taxpayers' dollars were being spent on "another Labor integrity investigation".

"Taxpayers are paying for this report and they deserve to see it in full," he said.

A government spokesman said the commissioner was conducting an independent process that was free from political interference.

Originally published as School scandal costs taxpayers $60k and counting

LNP finance spokesman Jarrod Bleijie
LNP finance spokesman Jarrod Bleijie

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