Tuesday, 10 September 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs. The Department of Home Affairs invited Paladin, a company registered to a beach shack on Kangaroo Island, to be the sole tenderer for garrison and security services at Manus Island. The $532 million Paladin contract is the second largest in the Department of Home Affairs. A senior Home Affairs official recently told Senate estimates in February that the department was 'quite happy' with the services provided by Paladin. Does the minister agree that the government is 'quite happy' with the services provided by Paladin?
I thank Senator Keneally for the question, even though yesterday, in answer to a question from this side of the chamber, 'What is the greatest threat to border protection in Australia?' my response was 'the shadow minister sitting opposite'. Yesterday in response to a question asked by Senator Hanson I explained to the Senate that, as you would now know, on 30 August 2019 at the request of the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority the contract for Paladin Holdings was terminated for convenience with an effective end date of 30 November 2019. I also have provided further information in terms of what the department actually does, in terms of the performance management of the contract, to ensure delivery of services on behalf of the PNG ICA. The information is that the active management of the performance management framework and the identification and rectification of service failures demonstrate sound contract and fiscal management and ensure services are maintained at required levels.
Documents recently tabled in the Senate show that Paladin service failures occurred over 1,000 times in 18 months and included such poor maintenance that a Home Affairs official actually fell through rotting floorboards during a prearranged inspection. Is the minister quite happy with 1,000 instances of performance failures in just 18 months—a rate of almost two a day?
Senator Keneally, as I said in my answer to your previous question the department operates a rigorous performance management framework to ensure delivery of services on behalf of the PNG ICA. The active management of the performance management framework and the identification and rectification—
On direct relevance. Twice now I have asked the minister specifically if the minister agrees that the government is quite happy with the services. She has repeated the answer she gave to the first question. I ask you to direct her to the question.
Senator Keneally, I was listening to the minister. That was the conclusion of your question. I think the minister was being directly relevant to the earlier part of your question, about the performance of the contract you were quoting, but I will continue to listen very carefully.
As I was saying, the performance management framework and the identification and rectification of service failures demonstrate sound contract and fiscal management and ensure services are maintained at required levels. Higher levels of abatements during the initial period of contracts are not unexpected, and Paladin demonstrated continuous improvement in meeting service standards during the course of the contract through transition and normal operations. The abatements, I'm instructed, often related to relatively minor administrative failures.
Australian workers and small-business owners are paying Paladin $20 million a month through their taxes, under the direction of the Minister for Home Affairs, as a result of this contract being awarded without a competitive tender. Can you provide one example of how the minister is quite happy with the services Paladin has provided?