The private company of former PwC CEO Luke Sayers was given more than $1.5 million from the Federal Government days after his wife was exposed appearing in illegal advertisements spruiking former Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
Investigations show the Sayers Group, which Sayers founded in mid-2020 when he left PwC, had a Federal contract increased from $658,680 to $2,166,780 — a lift of 230 per cent.
That was on May 2 last year — days after it emerged his wife Cate Sayers, the founder of charity Inclusion Foundation, and Karen Hayes, the then CEO of Guide Dogs Victoria, had appeared in advertisements spruiking Frydenberg for re-election.
It is illegal for charities to endorse politicians or political parties.
Frydenberg was forced to pull the advertisements, which appeared on his website, on social media, and on flyers distributed in his then electorate of Kooyong in Melbourne.
It was one of the biggest stories in the lead up to last year’s federal election, held on May 21, which saw the Coalition ousted and Frydenberg lose his seat.
Luke Sayers was the CEO of PwC Australia from 2012 to 2020, and so throughout the entire PwC tax leaks affair.
Like PwC, Sayers Group is a “consultancy”, which makes millions of dollars from government contracts, often for services previously provided by public servants.
NIAA spokesperson Jamie Fox told The Klaxon the Sayers Group had been given the $658,680 contract to “provide specialist advice and governance support”.
PM&C and the NIAA had a “shared services arrangement”, where they shared “human resources”, IT and “other corporate services”, Fox said in a written statement.
The Sayers Group had been contracted to “review” that “arrangement”.
“Sayers Group were engaged to provide specialist advice and governance support to review this arrangement as part of NIAA establishing its own in-house services,” Fox said.
No reason was given why it was considered necessary for taxpayers to be billed over $650,000 — over a period of eight months — to help the nation’s most powerful department (PM&C) work out how to share some of its human resources and IT services.
Also unexplained is why PM&C needed that support beginning 18 months after it had created the NIAA, and for a period of more than a year.
“The Sayers Group were engaged to manage this project within an eight month timeframe and during that time, it became apparent the scope and timeframe would need to be adjusted, and therefore the contract was varied,” Fox said.
The NIAA’s reasons for having provided the $658,680 contract are vague and heavily laden with management speak — so too are its stated reasons for increasing it by 230 per cent.
NIAA responses to The Klaxon over $1.5m Sayers “amendment”.
The Sayers Group’s contract (to “review” the “shared services arrangement” between PM&C and the NIAA) included to “negotiate a revised shared services arrangement between the NIAA and PM&C” and “develop a new Memorandum of Understanding that reflected this new arrangement”, Fox said.
It was to “develop an implementation plan to enact the new MoU mapping out which functions would be transitioned from PM&C to the NIAA”; and “develop a high level long term corporate strategy for the NIAA” that “considers options” for the “future delivery of all corporate services”.
Fox said the “variation in the contract”, on May 2, 2022, was for “additional services for the NIAA”.
They were to “project manage the transition of functions from PM&C to the NIAA”; to “develop a Channel Management Strategy”; to “support the creation of a Corporate Front Door help desk model”; and “provide Business Analysis functions, including current/future state mapping for those process in scope for process redesign”.
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