Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has defended the appointment of Scott Cam to a lucrative role as a trades ambassador – despite revelations the TV builder has little to show for his near six months in job.
The Gold Logie winner scored a $350,000 18-month contract in 2019 to promote apprenticeships for young people, but has attended just one event since October.
“I want to see him do the job that he was contracted to do, it is a very important area,” Senator Cormann told Sky News on Friday.
“We want him to inspire young people to pursue apprenticeships and careers in the trades. I’m sure that he will work very hard.”
The Block star’s sole public appearance so far has been a media conference alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Skills Minister Michaelia Cash to announce his appointment.
Since then, Cam has pocketed $145,000 of his contract.
On Thursday, Skills Department officials told Senate estimates that Cam had also appeared in three short videos, made four social media posts and put a profile on a government website.
The National Careers Institute asked over 5,000 people about what they needed to make good career choices. We found that…
Senator Cash also told estimates the celebrity builder would host the Australian Training Awards in November.
“It is literally the Logies of training awards,” she told the hearing.
It was also promised Cam would appear at eight events this year, including one with Senator Cash next week.
On Thursday, Labor quizzed department officials about the details of Cam’s future events. That led to this exchange between Senator Kristina Keneally and department deputy secretary Nadine Williams:
Keneally: “How many events does he have planned for the rest of his contractual period? Face-to-face events? … You just said he has a number planned. What is the number?”
Williams: “We might need to take that on notice. We have a range of events that we are working through with Mr Cam.”
Keneally: “But you said he had them planned.”
Later, Senator Keneally’s Labor counterpart Deborah O’Neill quipped that, “like The Block, we’re going to have to wait for the reveal”.
The previous Labor government also paid Cam to open trade fairs.
The ABC reports that, as part of his 15-month contract, Cam will receive $262,000 between October 1, 2019 and the end of this financial year.
He will earn a further $85,000 next financial year.