TV tradie Scott Cam has defended the amount he is being paid as Australia’s careers ambassador.
Last week Senate estimates heard that Cam has not attended one public event in his ambassador role since being appointed in October, despite pocketing $350,000 for the 15-month contract. He has, however, appeared in three short videos, made four social media posts, and posted once on the National Career Institute’s website.
Cam defended his work on Sky News on Tuesday, arguing that he had not made many appearances because it was the wrong time of year to visit students.
“If you did your homework and knew what you were talking about, you’d work out that all of the tours and appointments we’re going to see are school-based,” he said.
“Over the summer all of those facilities are closed, there’s no students there. I think that would be a waste of taxpayers’ money if I was standing at an empty school.”
When questioned about pay arrangements, The Block host did not say whether he was offered the sum or had negotiated it.
“My management and the government discussed the fee. That’s none of your business. It’s a commercial arrangement. How that came about is between my management, myself and the government,” he said. “The amount is taxpayers’ business. How it came about is my business.”
He justified the six-figure pay packet as “the value of the brand and the profile the government deem fit to pay me”.
“I have a high profile and the government wanted to utilise that,” he said, reflecting the words of employment and skills minister Michaelia Cash last week.
She had told estimates employing Cam was about “utilising that profile to draw people’s attention” to the trades industry.
This week Cam launched a national tour alongside Cash. He told Sky News he has 12 appearances lined up so far, with more to be added. He argued the tour was encroaching on his work.
“We work for a living – that’s the Australian way – we get paid for what we do,” he said.
“This national tour is taking away from my day-to-day job so I think it’s only fair that I get paid like you get paid.”