FORMER Australian Wool Innovation executive, Paul Swan, is raking-in an estimated $3000 a day in private consulting fees to the industry body, after resigning from AWI in January.
A grilling by Queensland Senator Barry O’Sullivan during Senate estimates hearing in Canberra revealed a lucrative consulting contract valued at $32,881, to deliver 11 pilot programs.
It was exposed the deal was made by Dr Swan and AWI chief executive, Stuart McCullough, with the boards knowledge, while employed at AWI.
“The advice I have is he is paid $3500 a day in consulting fees, (including accommodation costs), to hold 11, one-day events?” Senator O’Sullivan said.
Mr McCullough said it was quoted to be up to $1500 a day.
He estimated Dr Swan was paid $220,000 annually while employed at AWI, equating to roughly $4000 a week.
Dr Swan is reportedly not one of the nine staff made who received redundancy payments of up to $531,371 in termination and ex-gratia fees, as part of a company restructure last year.
AWI withdrew funding from Bred Well Fed Well, facilitated developed by consultant, Jason Trompf, due to reports the program denigrated breeders who were not aligned to Australian Sheep Breeding Values.
In replace, Australian Shearing Contractors Association and Dr Swan developed a new program, Realising Performance Potential of Merinos with the similar aim of lifting lifetime performance from Merino ewes.
AWI withdrew funding from Bred Well Fed Well in favour of a “wool focused” extension program, developed by Shearing Contractors Association and Dr Swan, known as Realising Performance Potential of Merinos.
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“You are bright enough to know where we are going,” Senator O’Sullivan said.
“The Intellectual Property of the product was funded by (AWI), done by Dr Swan when he was an employee, now delivered at a greater costs to AWI?”
Mr McCullough said the pilot programs bring to an end the development stage of this piece of work which would go out to tender.
“(Paul) admitted openly that he would like to do contracting work with AWI and we have him retained on other things in the company,” he said.
“Paul has very good knowledge of the Australian wool industry.”
In a statement, Dr Swan clarified the consulting fees which he said was at the “much less impressive” average rate of $1097 per day
“This reflects the fact each workshop I have delivered has involved one day in-the-field presenting, charged at $1500/day, and an average of 1.1 additional days spent preparing, travelling, analyzing results, and reporting back to AWI, at approximately $750 per day,” he wrote.
Dr Swan’s letter to the editor can be seen here.