Two of these contracts are again “limited tender” and the other one was a “pre-qualified tender”. The pre-qualified tender contract started life originally as a $52,800 contract that was amended to eventually to reach $217,800. Public information as to value-for-money is not available.
The advice that O’Neil appears to be providing is associated with government business enterprises (GBEs) such as NBN, Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), Western Sydney Airport, Snowy Hydro, Moorebank Intermodal Terminal and Defence Housing Australia (DHA).
Better than Newstart
Not content with all these contracts and obviously working simultaneously for the IPFA and the Department of Finance, John O’Neil was awarded another contract. Again as a “limited tender”– this time by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – to provide advice on development finance. What started off as a contract for $165,000 ballooned out to $335,500 through a contract variation and extension.
What was good for the former interim IPFA CEO, also appears to be fair cop for three of the appointed managing directors of IPFA. Bear in mind that under the IPFA organisational structure, the CEO is supported by five managing directors. Three of these were appointed from the private sector and they have non-standard remuneration conditions.
The three managing directors are: Rob Ritchie, Chris Allen; and Catherine Black. The first two were appointed under Angus Taylor’s watch. Responsibility for IFPA moved in December 2017 to infrastructure minister and part-time Elvis impersonator, Michael McCormack.
The first IPFA managing director
Rob Ritchie was appointed to IPFA in September 2017, while Angus Taylor was running the show, having previously come from a legal background working for Ashurst. Ritchie went to the University of Sydney and studied both economics and law over the period 1986 to 1989. Remarkably, Angus Taylor studied economics and law at the University of Sydney from 1986 to 1993.
Those familiar with #Watergate will also recall that Ashurst is the same firm that Angus Taylor deployed to put out a statement on his behalf to deny that he had received any payment associated with the controversial $80 million water buyback.
Ritchie has been fortunate to be awarded two contracts by IPFA — both through “limited tender”. The “professional services” that Ritchie delivers to IPFA come at the price of $298,300 for 12 months’ work from October 2017, and an additional $397,210 for 12 months’ work commencing August 2018.
The second IPFA managing director
This brings us to the second managing director, Chris Allen, who was also appointed in September 2017. Allen comes from an infrastructure financing background being a director, together with his partner Donna Allen, at Rhumbline Advisory Pty Ltd.
IPFA does not directly pay Allen. However, IPFA has awarded two contracts to Rhumbline Advisory Pty Ltd. You guessed it – again under “limited tender” – for “economic evaluation of projects”. The terms and payments under those contracts are remarkably similar to those received by Chris Allen’s IPFA associate, Rob Ritchie.
For the 12 month period commencing September 2017, Rhumbline Advisory was paid $285,000. In addition, for the 12 month period commencing July 2018, Rhumbline Advisory was paid $379,500.
The third IPFA managing director
The final managing director, Catherine Black, is an ex Queensland Treasury Corporation director. Black is a bit of a johnny-come-lately being the newest appointed director of IPFA. Her appointment commenced in September 2018, under Michael McCormack’s watch.
IPFA does not pay her directly either, instead it pays Noir No 64 Pty Ltd; not an alluring perfume but rather a company, a company which was awarded a “limited tender” contract of $379,500 for the “economic evaluation of projects”. The contract term is for one year, commencing September 2018.
It is unusual for a newly-formed company such as Noir No 64 Pty Ltd, which only registered for business in July 2018, to win a contract of that size.
It’s even more remarkable that the IPFA would know of its existence. The mystery can, of course, be explained by the fact that Noir No 64 Pty Ltd only has one director: Catherine Black. See details of the company here.
For the record, the chief executive of IPFA, Leilani Frew, is paid in the old school, traditional manner receiving an annual salary of $372,890 plus a fixed annual loading of $75,000.
As we move into August and September 2019 – the expiry date for the contracts of the three IPFA managing directors – it will be interesting to see whether new “limited tender” contracts will be issued.
IPFA is a unique agency. It has no visible achievements, although the management team is paid handsomely, and some in an unusual fashion.
This is the legacy of Angus Taylor’s time at the helm when he was Assistant Minister for Digital Transformation and Cities. Things change though. Given the substantial remuneration for Key Management Personnel at IPFA, and the time the KMP have now had to engage in the achievement of their Key Performance Indicators, the best may be yet to come.
On the other hand, it may not.
Jommy Tee is a long-time career public servant, having worked in the policy development field for 25+ years as well as an independent researcher interested in politics, current affairs, and Nordic noir.
Ronni Salt is also an independent researcher, who comes from the land and has an interest in politics and current affairs. The identities of the authors are known to the editors of this publication.
You can follow Jommy Tee and Ronni Salt on Twitter
@Jommy_Tee and @MsVeruca.
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