on Jeroen Weimar Housing Policy Implementation Head

The Labor Party and the state government is facing backlash regarding the appointment of former COVID Commander Jeroen Weimar to head the state government’s housing policy statement implementation body.

3AW’s mornings host Tom Elliott said he couldn’t believe the news and thinks Weimar’s new role will turn out to be a “disaster”.

“I don’t have a personal problem with Jeroen Weimar, but his career in public life has been marked far more by failure than success,” Elliott said.

Director at Red Bridge Group, Kos Samaras, says despite the criticism of a lack of transparency, many Victorians won’t pay attention to Mr. Weimar’s new role.

“He would need to go back to his A-game, which a lot of Victorians, thought at the time, during the pandemic, he was,” he told Nick McCallum, filling in for Jacqui Felgate.

Kos Samaras’s partner, Ros Spence is the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence in Jacinta Allan’s cabinet.

Like Tom Elliot and unlike Kos Samaras, the leader of the Opposition John Pesutto has gone hammer and tong on the appointment which he believes defies proper process.

Also read: Should John Pesutto push to expel Moir Deeming

Posing a list of questions to Premier Jacinta Allan, John Pesutto said, “Premier Jacinta Allan needs to urgently answer a number of questions about the appointment of Jeroen Weimar to head up a new team to implement Labor’s housing statement.”

Among others, his questions include:

Why was the role not advertised?

What was the selection process and was Mr Weimar interviewed along with other potential candidates?

At the time of Mr Weimar giving evidence before the Commonwealth Games Inquiry of the Victorian Parliament, was he made aware of this potential appointment?

Mr Weimar headed the committee for the scrapped 2026 Commonwealth Games which cost at least $600 million to taxpayers, according to Mr Pesutto.

The Housing statement issued last year has a plan to build 800,000 homes and has a lifespan of 10 years.

A worried Mr. Pesutto has asked the Premier to come out clean on what Mr Weimar was being paid for this new this role and how long has he been contracted for.

Mr Pesutto also asked if Mr. Weimar’s appointment has the potential for extension or renewal.

Many of the questions raised by Mr Pesutto would seem fair to Victorians particularly when we have just had a disastrous scrapping of 2026 CWG and the Victorian taxpayers lost in excess of $600 million.

Given the shortage of raw material all around, what feasibility study / modelling has been done to tell Victorians he and his team will deliver 80,000 new homes a year for the next 10 years.

Victorians will hope this does not turn out to be another 2026 CWG disaster.

In the absence of details, the state Opposition is asking if this is just another con job by Labor.

In her report on the politicisation of the public sector last December, Ombudsman Deborah Glass found “frequent side-stepping of merit-based recruitment”.

The Ombudsman also found candidates were “often hand-picked without an open and advertised process”.

With lack of sufficient details, the appointment definitely isn’t a good look for the government.

Then there is another pertinent question – why appoint Weimar only for six months for a project planned for 10 years?

Is the government hiding something and will Mr. Weimar keep the seat cosy while the government can get someone who will see the project through?

Not satisfied by the government’s responses, Mr Pesutto has referred the appointment of Mr Weimar to Ombudsman Deborah Glass “on the basis that it appears to have been made in the absence of the necessary accountability, transparency and merit-based recruitment process”.

Mr Pesutto said: “It’s only appropriate that we request the Ombudsman investigate the appointment of Mr Weimar as a matter of urgency as it raises the same concerns that her report warned against in terms of public perception of the politicisation of the public service.

“The Premier must also fully explain her role in securing the position for Mr Weimar given he has no experience in housing and, until a few months ago, was the head of the Commonwealth Games organising committee.

“The Commonwealth Games debacle has cost Victorian taxpayers at least $600 million and trashed the state’s reputation.

“Victoria’s housing crisis is too important and it’s simply not good enough to be gifting plum, $500,000 jobs to mates.”

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