Transport Minister awards $290k contract to friend – three months after he sets up company

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Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian awarded a nearly $300,000 contract for ‘strategic consultancy’ work to a friend who had only registered his company for tax purposes a few weeks earlier, it was revealed in a budget estimates hearing today.

In March, the Transport Minister’s department awarded a $290,000 contract to the $1 company Conrad Consulting and Capital Pty Ltd, whose sole director is John ‘Jack’ Simos.

Conrad Capital was awarded a contract “to provide strategic consultancy services” to Transport NSW from 6 July 2012 to 6 June 2013.

This was not revealed until nine months after the commencement of the contract on 26 March 2013.

Ms Berejiklian and Mr Simos worked together in the office of former NSW Treasurer Peter Collins.

Ms Simos was also Chief of Staff to Mr Collins, who Ms Berejiklian then succeeded in the seat of Willoughby.

“The Transport Minister claims to be fixing the trains, but she is really fixing up her Liberal Party mates,” Labor’s Leader in the Legislative Council Luke Foley said.

“The Minister still hasn’t told taxpayers what dealings she has had with her former colleague over this contract.

“Given the Government’s own tender website states the method of tendering was ‘limited’ and based on ‘proven relevant experience’, and Conrad Capital was only registered for GST three months before it was awarded the contract, how could the company be able to prove any relevant experience?”