TV personality’s highly paid government job questioned

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday March 6, 2020

It’s a contract, not a salary. Adobe

The government’s careers ambassador has not attended one public event since his appointment despite pocketing a six-figure pay packet, Senate estimates heard.

Back in October, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said TV personality Scott Cam would “inspire the next generation of tradespeople” as the government’s careers ambassador. He would work with the National Careers Institute, government, industry, education providers, career advisors, parents, and employers, they said.

But the Block host hasn’t done a great deal since his appointment was announced.

Scott Cam

Officials from the Department of Education, Skills, and Employment told Senate estimates on Thursday that so far, Cam has appeared in three short videos, and made four social media posts.

In one of the videos, Cam congratulated the 2019 Australian Training Awards finalists. The video was played at the event as he was unable to attend.

Cam had also posted on the National Career Institute’s website once. He had posted questions on the website’s engagement hub, which received 223 “stakeholder responses”, according to department officials. However, they noted the department and Cam had not yet responded to the feedback.

Cam will earn $350,000 for the 15-month contract, including $226,000 this financial year. He has pocketed $145,000 for the first five months.

Skills and training deputy secretary Nadine Williams argued the money was a contract, not a salary.

“Mr Cam has been contracted to do a range of activities that are designed to raise the profile of VET and designed to raise the profile of careers advice more generally,” she told estimates.

Cash said that Cam would take part in at least eight events as careers ambassador this year. The departmental staff said negotiations with Cam and his talent agency had been occurring.

Cam’s job was to influence public perception of vocational education and training, Cash argued.

“It’s about utilising that profile to draw people’s attention into what otherwise they may not actually give any notice to,” she told the committee.

She also told estimates he would host the Australian Training Awards in November — which she described as “the logies of training awards” — and would be joining her for a TAFE event in Western Australia next week.

 

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