Emerson criticized for deceptive patronage figures

Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson has been scolded in a budget estimates report for using misleading patronage figures

Emerson criticized for deceptive patronage figures
Emerson attacked for deceptive patronage figures

By Sean Muir |
October 31, 2012

Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson has been scolded in a
Queensland Parliament committee
report for a lack of transparency and for using misleading patronage figures.

The Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee budget estimates report, tabled in Queensland Parliament on Monday, says figures used consistently by Emerson regarding patronage on the TransLink network are incorrect.

The report says Emerson has continuously pointed to falling patronage in an attempt to portray the TransLink network as being in crisis.

"Most recently, Minister Emerson suggested that patronage had decreased by 300,000 from the 2010-11 year to 2011-12," the
report says.

Figures published in the Translink Annual Report for 2011-12 support this conclusion.

But the report says the patronage figures published in the annual report for previous years, including 2010-11 are not accurate figures and therefore give rise to a false comparison.

Emerson also faced criticism along with Department of Transport and Main Roads Director-General Michael Caltabiano for dodging questions on accountability and transparency.

"Non-government members asked a range of questions regarding the transparency and accountability of the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR)," the report says.

"The answers provided by the Minister and Director-General were disappointing and did not live up to the ideal of accountability in government championed by the LNP."

According to the report, Emerson was also asked to allow a briefing for members of the Opposition regarding proposed changes to the structure of DTMR, Translink and Queensland Rail, but declined.

The report says Caltabiano was asked whether DTMR’s Departmental Liaison Officers (DLOs) were located in the Minister’s office or on another floor in the department, but gave an ‘evasive answer, referring only to the branch and division the staff were located in and not their physical location.’

The report says the
Caltabiano was
also asked about persons appointed to the DLO positions since March 24.

"The Director-General admitted that he personally knew one of the successful applicants prior to their appointment," the report says.

Caltabiano was
from his position last week for a possible ethics breach.

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