MEDIA RELEASE - $800 A DAY: Nationals milk taxpayer funding

With an $800 a day pay packet, the Nationals’ recently announced Fresh Milk and Dairy Commissioner has no job description and no statutory authority or power, a NSW Parliamentary committee has revealed. In fact, the Budget Estimates committee also revealed:

  • No selection criteria;

  • No ad for the job was posted;

  • No formal interviews for the position were held; and

  • No selection panel was convened.

Despite being appointed last week, Ian Zandstra, the new Commissioner has still not signed a contract, and contract negotiations are still ongoing. Labor Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Jenny Aitchison said the announcement looks like a stunt. “The Nationals say they have appointed a commissioner but that’s not true. He hasn’t even signed his contract.” “Dairy farmers are getting ripped off, dealing with drought, and rising energy costs. They deserve better than another empty gesture from the Nats, because once our dairy farmers are gone, they aren’t coming back.” “The Commissioner will be paid more in a day than some families earn in a week, but the position has no statutory authority and the Nationals can’t even tell us what his job will be.” Labor MLC, Courtney Houssos, who led questioning in Budget Estimates called on the Nationals to explain how the appointment was made. “We know they didn’t advertise the position, they didn’t have a process for accepting resumes and they didn’t have any formal job interviews. This isn’t the process taxpayers expect for an $800 a day job they’re paying for.” “The Nationals need to explain how they made this appointment.” Labor also raised concerns that the Dairy Commissioner would not be independent, and would be gagged by the Nationals. “The Minister said the commissioner can make public statements, but on further questioning it was revealed that he was not even a permanent public servant. Furthermore, the role has no statutory independence, so the commissioner will be subject to the same caveats on public statements as all public servants are,” Ms Houssos said. Ms Aitchison said it looks like yet again, Dairy Farmers are getting short-changed by the Nationals.

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