A former Labor staffer was handed a five-year contract worth $550,000 a year as the Chief Executive of Hydrogen Power South Australia without a competitive process, Premier Peter Malinauskas has revealed during Budget Estimates.
The $2.75 million appointment of Sam Crafter is the latest case of Labor’s “jobs for the boys” approach after the State Election and follows on from the $1.4 million appointment of fellow former Labor staffer Rik Morris as Chief Executive of the $2 million-a-year “Premier’s Delivery Unit”.
The Premier made the revelation under questioning by Opposition Leader David Speirs on Monday.
“I and other members of the cabinet were particularly keen on the candidacy of Mr Sam Crafter, and we approached him to apply for that role,” Mr Malinuaskas said.
“Mr Crafter was the primary candidate for that position.”
And the Premier also admitted he “personally appointed (Rik) Morris”.
During the same Budget Estimates hearing it was also revealed Mr Crafter contributed to the hydrogen election policy for which he was ultimately employed to deliver.
Mr Speirs said in just three months Labor had developed a worrying habit of employing former staffers to high-paying public sector jobs.
“On one hand you have Premier Malinauskas and Treasurer Mullighan saying they are slashing public sector executives and with the other they are giving out plum jobs to their Labor mates,” Mr Speirs said.
“During Budget Estimates Premier Malinauskas has revealed that both Mr Crafter and Mr Morris were handpicked for positions worth a combined $3.15 million.
“Given the cost and nature of these positions South Australians would be rightfully asking why Premier Malinuaskas hasn’t undertaken national and international recruitment processes.
“Instead, he is handpicking former staffers for multi-million-dollar public sector jobs which disappointingly reeks of ‘jobs for the boys’.”
Mr Crafter and Mr Morris both have a long history with Labor, working for several previous State Government’s with Mr Morris even running as the party’s candidate in the seat of Florey in the 2018 state election.