High cost of secrets in office dispute
TAXPAYERS have been slugged tens of thousands of dollars for a secret report into bullying allegations in a minister’s office but the document will never be released.
Federal Government documents reveal the Finance Department paid $27,272 to Canberra-based workplace investigators CPM Reviews, which recently conducted an investigation into claims of bullying between senior staff in the office of Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt.
In the past two years, the Government has paid more than $124,000 to the workplace investigators to help resolve employee disputes.
While Mr Wyatt, pictured, is not the main subject of the probe and is not the subject of any allegation of bullying, the Sunday Mail understands he has been accused of mismanaging the conflict and ignoring staff concerns.
In recent weeks, staff were told the report was complete but would not be released and would only be given to Mr Wyatt, not the Prime Minister’s Office or the Special Minister of State.
In a statement, Mr Wyatt confirmed he had received the report and would be “carefully considering it … due to privacy concerns, the report is not suitable for public release,” he said.
The Sunday Mail has seen some of the evidence submitted to investigators, including an email demanding a junior employee pay accommodation costs for a more senior staffer after a booking error.
In September, the Sunday Mail revealed Mr Wyatt threatened to quit Federal Parliament in order to protect a staffer at the centre of bullying claims. GOVERNMENT INSIDER