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"An elegant hoax"? You've got to be joking.

The BCITF money paid to Thiess at Dawesville - a scholarly paper by Dr John Lourens FCPA

You'll recall we have spoken about these coincidences

  • The  WA Government BCITF made a grant of more than $500K to Thiess for workplace reform and training on the Dawesville cut project
  • Bruce Wilson was on the BCITF board
  • The AWU WRA Inc was set up as a Workplace Reform entity
  • The BCITF Annual Reports for 92-93 and 93-94 specifically mention the AWU and the workplace reform model at Dawesville
  • Thiess and the AWU executed a Memorandum of Understanding about workplace reform at Dawesville and this was included in the Thiess submission to the BCITF for funding
  • WA Police included extensive reference to the BCITF grant and there is considerable correspondence and evidentiary statement material relating to the grant on the WA Police AWU Scandal file
  • Ian Cambridge in his affidavit of September 1996 posits that the WA Government was the original source of the money paid by Thiess to Wilson's AWU-WRA, and that the money was earmarked for training

After reviewing more infromation from the WA Government released under FOI, I published the following post in December last year.  It was somewhat light-hearted, in particular about the video production company that did very well out ofthe BCITF grant, but the essence of the post is clear.   The AWU is mentioned extensively and is central in the Thiess grant application material, and later in the BCITF Annual Reports about the Dawesville Cut grant.   But nowhere is there a single line item, bill, invoice, deliverable, KPI or other obligation on the AWU or the AWU-WRA that relates to a single cent of BCITF funding.   In other words, it is not possible to substantiate the claim that the BCITF supplied the money that went to the AWU-WRA.  

Here is an extract from my post of 23 December, 2013.

The following set of minutes from a meeting about the workplace reform and innovation taking place at Dawesville gives an insight into the project.   As you can see, sadly the AWU couldn't make it, but the video company Resolutions was there, as were the government bureaucrats, and they spent a lot of time talking about marketing their innovative workplace reform CD-ROMS.

Download Minutes of Board Meeting Thiess project  

Here is the Thiess submission for funding from the BCITF.

Download Thiess submission   

You will notice the importance placed on the role of the AWU.   Astute readers of the blog will have observed the prominence of the AWU name in the BCITF annual reports, and the emphasis on the innovative nature of the MOU between Thiess and the AWU in delivering Workplace Reform in an innovative way.

Download MOU Thiess and AWU re Dawesvill  

So what deliverable, what specific role, what return for money expended was accounted for specifically against the AWU.   Nothing.

Nowhere in the BCITF paperwork will you find a single line item requiring the delivery of a single thing from the AWU.   Nowhere will you find reference to a bill from the union, or any acquittal for services delivered.

The billing relationship was entirely between Thiess and the AWU.   Thiess paid the AWU WRA on its submission of invoices for "workplace reform advisers onsite".   Thiess does not pass this cost on directly to the BCITF by way of a specified account.   But Thiess does produce and rely on the "innovative workplace reform agreement" between it and the AWU to set the tone of the workplace reform activities going on at Dawesville.

In closing, remember this.   Every cent that went into the Thiess financial accounts associated with the Dawesville Channel (Cut) project was government money.   The "things" that Thiess delivered were paid for and owned by the taxpayer.   There is no doubt that taxpayers own Parliament House or the Hume Highway - the Dawesville Cut is the same.  So is the notion that taxpayers own the other outcomes of the payments they made to Thiess, and that Thiess had a duty of care to administer those taxpayer payments diligently.

There is no doubt in my mind, that extended payments, going to a fictional incorporated association that produced absolutely nothing in return, represent a singular case of fraud and corruption, passed off as innovative workplace reform.

The Western Australian Government can hide behind the board minutes of its BCITF and try to pretend that taxpayers got value for money from CD-ROMs and Dozer Driving Forms.   But what value did it get from buying Bruce Wilson a loveshack and handing him hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars?  

Dr John Lourens has applied his forensic accountancy skills to a review of the material available on the BCITF and its grant to Thiess.   He comes to a conclusion similar to mine - there is nothing that bound the AWU or the AWU-WRA to do anything but "look nice" in the Dawesville Cut project, and it was entirely a matter for Thiess as to what (if anything) it paid the AWU or the AWU-WRA for the inclusion of the AWU's name and influence on the Dawesville Cut workplace reform and training.

Download Reflections on the Thiess funding submission to the BCITF (2)