26 May 2021

Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker on the gulag gravy train: “A multinational company that secured a $121 million contract to support asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea boosted its profits by billing the Australian government $75 an hour for local workers it paid just $8. … Company records show that Spanish-owned Applus Wokman, which in 2017 won the contract to provide case management and resettlement support for hundreds of asylum seekers, paid local workers as little as 10 per cent of the wages it claimed from the Department of Home Affairs. … In February last year, then auditor at Applus Wokman, Samuel Kelly, raised the gulf in wages claimed compared with wages paid with Home Affairs on behalf of about 30 local staff. … Mr Kelly told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald that the company sacked him and 10 other workers after the payment issue was raised with the Australian government in February 2020.” And in a separate scandal: “Canstruct has been paid $1.4 billion over five years to run Nauru’s offshore processing scheme and last financial year pocketed a net profit up to $100 million, according to corporate filings. While media reporting has linked Canstruct to two political donations, federal and Queensland records reviewed by The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald reveal 11 political contributions to the Liberal National Party in Queensland made by company executives or closely linked corporate entities. The donations total at least $47,500 and were made between October 2017 and July 2020. Queensland’s most senior federal government member is Peter Dutton, who was until recently home affairs minister. There is no suggestion the donations were made by Canstruct to influence contractual dealings with the federal government.”