High cost of se­crets in of­fice dis­pute

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - ANNIKA SMETHURST

TAX­PAY­ERS have been slugged thou­sands of dol­lars for a se­cret re­port into bul­ly­ing al­le­ga­tions in a min­is­ter’s of­fice, but the doc­u­ment will never be re­leased.

Gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments re­veal the Depart­ment of Fi­nance paid $27,272 to Can­berra-based work­place in­ves­ti­ga­tors CPM Re­views, who re­cently con­ducted an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into claims of bul­ly­ing be­tween se­nior staff in the of­fice of Aged Care Min­is­ter Ken Wy­att (pic­tured).

Dur­ing the past two years the Gov­ern­ment has paid more than $124,000 to the work­place in­ves­ti­ga­tors to help re­solve em­ployee dis­putes within the gov­ern­ment.

While Mr Wy­att is not the main sub­ject of the probe and is not the sub­ject of any al­le­ga­tion of bul­ly­ing, it is be­lieved 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 be given only to Mr Wy­att, and 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, it was re­vealed that Mr Wy­att had threat­ened to quit par­lia­ment in or­der to pro­tect a staffer at the cen­tre of bul­ly­ing claims.

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