Heritage Tasmania billed taxpayers more than $20,000 to employ the services of two consulting firms and a marketing company last financial year.
The figures emerge as the government body comes under political pressure over problems with its workplace culture and concerns regarding the management of the state’s heritage register.
An audit of the register, completed in 2018, showed that a significant number of heritage boundaries had been incorrectly recorded.
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In March this year, the Community and Public Sector Union conducted a staff satisfaction survey at Heritage Tasmania, which revealed unrest around workplace bullying and harassment, as well as director Pete Smith’s leadership style.
In response to questions from independent Windermere MLC Ivan Dean in the State Parliament on Thursday afternoon, Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council Leonie Hiscutt detailed Heritage Tasmania’s engagement of three external providers in 2019-20, including how much their services cost.
Mrs Hiscutt said the organisation paid Louise Cooper Consulting $6664.79 to assist the Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment Department in implementing a cultural change action plan at Heritage Tasmania.
“[Heritage Minister Elise Archer] is aware of the anonymous and confidential survey of Heritage Tasmania staff conducted by the CPSU in March of this year, which appeared in the media,” Mrs Hiscutt said.
“Louise Cooper Consulting facilitated several sessions with staff and managers as part of the cultural change action plan.”
Heritage Tasmania employs 17 people, equating to 14.6 full-time employees.
Mr Dean said it was “appalling” that an outside consulting firm had been brought in to address cultural problems within an organisation made up of that number of people.
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“To think that you’ve got to bring in a consultancy group to work with them to try to straighten the place up … is staggering,” he said. “[It’s] absolutely staggering, as far as I’m concerned.”
“You’re talking about a handful of staff.
“Clearly something’s horribly wrong with the senior management.
“This is not just something new. It’s gone on for a long, long, long time. And there comes a time when you’ve just got to fix it.”
In 2019-20, Heritage Tasmania also engaged Ossa IT Pty Ltd, an IT consulting business, at a cost of $11,500, to help the agency “maintain and develop the heritage management system, which is the business system that hosts the Tasmanian Heritage Register”.
SCA Marketing was paid $3800 to assist the Tasmanian Heritage Council to “facilitate its annual strategic plan and workshop and refresh its strategic plan of 2019-2024”.
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