from today's news: http://www.news.com.au/national/kevin-rudds-department-of-hot-air-costing-taxpayers-90m/story-e6frfkvr-1225859701357
Kevin Rudd's Department of Hot Air costing taxpayers $90m
TAXPAYERS will fork out $90 million a year to keep more than 400 public servants employed within the Federal Climate Change Department - despite most of them now having nothing to do until 2013.
More than 60 of them are classified as senior executive staff on salaries between $168,000 and $298,000 a year. Their salary bill alone will cost an estimated $12 million every year.
A further $8 million will also be paid in rent for plush offices at Canberra's Constitution Place until 2012, where it is believed 500 new computers will be delivered this week.
It can be revealed that despite Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's decision on Tuesday to suspend the failed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme until at least 2013, the department has ruled out plans to cut back staff.
A formal response by department secretary Martin Parkinson to a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday - the same day as the scheme's suspension - claimed the department would not offer redundancies.
The formal response, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, said there were no plans for "the immediate future" of any scaling back of staff, despite the agency losing its core function.
According to official figures, the number of top-paid bureaucrats being paid up to $298,000 a year has almost doubled since January this year from 39 to 61. That was to gear up for establishment of the Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority, which will also now have no function.
Overall agency staff has also been ramped up since last year with total climate change employees having risen from an initial 246 to 408.
Of the 61 senior agency officials, only nine have been inherited from the scrapped home insulation scheme. The majority, 38, were employed on the CPRS and a further 19 were employed on the renewable energy scheme which has also been axed.
But none of the 408 staff within the department will be shed even though the department's key function, the CPRS, has been axed.
Its own tender documents reveal a lease contract of $16 million for its offices which expires in 2012.
"The hundreds of public servants who have been beavering away on this policy, the 114 public servants who they took to Copenhagen for that matter in support of this policy . . . none of that's changed," Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said yesterday.
"Which is why I think that Mr Rudd for political reasons doesn't want to talk about his great big new tax on everything but as sure as night follows day, if he gets re-elected, we'll be stuck with it."