Jacinta Allan-Sam Groth - BT 6946

The state Opposition says YES, she has.

In a shocking media release the state Opposition says more than 50 staff within the Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions have been put on indefinite paid leave while their exit packages are being negotiated.

The question is – how long does it take to work exit packages?

It has been more than four months since the announcement of the cancellation of the games was made.

And the upper house inquiry set up to look into the debacle has learnt that most of the key players including ministers had known for some time before the public announcement was made.

And it was done because the former Premier Daniel Andrews claimed he could not justify spending big money (with costs blown out of proportions) for a two-week sports extravaganza. Premier Jacinta Allan was not only part of that government, she was the deputy Premier and key minister responsible to deliver the games.

You would like to think that the person making the announcement was circumspect dealing with taxpayers’ money.

And you would further expect such a person to fast track calculation of exit packages with everything tidied up to save every possible dollar.

And if what the Opposition is claiming is true, that does not seem to be the case, far from it.

These wage costs come on top of more $11 million in wages paid by the Victoria 2026 organising committee to 30 June 2023 and $380 million in compensation payments for cancelling the Games, says the state Opposition.

The total cost of the debacle is expected to be at least $600 million.

Shadow Minister for Tourism, Sport and Events, Sam Groth, said: “Again and again the Premier has refused to tell Victorians about the true cost of the Commonwealth Games debacle.

“On what we do know, more than half a billion dollars will be wasted on a non-existent 2026 Commonwealth Games, while other states are eyeing off many of Victoria’s major events in the wake of the reputational damage inflicted.

“In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, taxpayers will miss out on the economic benefit of the Games while still having to pay for the cancellation, which could have been better spent on vital hospitals, roads, schools and more housing.”

There is no reason why the staff employed to organise the 2026 Commonwealth Games should be continuing to be paid by the Victorian taxpayers.

The Premier will be better served to avoid such scenarios where her government can be painted showing complete lack of care or responsibility when it comes to handling money.

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