Labor integrity crisis gets snow-deep
EMPLOYMENT Minister Shannon Fentiman has belatedly declared staying at the Canadian ski slopes home of a consultant whose firm later won work from her department.
The Courier-Mail can reveal Ms Fentiman last week updated her Register of Member's Interests to include the free accommodation she received during a winter getaway on the idyllic slopes of Whistler.
The home is owned by PricewaterhouseCoopers consultant Nicole Scurrah, who was former premier Anna Bligh's chief of staff, and her husband Paul, who was recently appointed boss of airline Virgin Australia.
Ms Fentiman's declaration came after the Opposition questioned Treasurer Jackie Trad during Budget estimates hearings on her stay at the same Whistler home, which she did declare.
PwC has been awarded six small contracts totalling $242,000 from Ms Fentiman's department since January, however it is understood Ms Scurrah is not involved in any of them.
There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Ms Scurrah or her husband.
Ms Scurrah is part of the consulting team hired by Treasury last month to help develop ways to cut spending on consultants.
There is no suggestion Ms Scurrah or PwC has acted inappropriately.
Ms Fentiman's declaration has deepened the State Government's integrity crisis, with shadow treasurer Tim Mander accusing the minister of a major integrity breach.
"Most Queenslanders don't get an opportunity to enjoy a ski holiday in Whistler, let alone get free accommodation," he said.
"This trip to Whistler happened more than five months ago, and Jackie Trad's factional ally Shannon Fentiman has been caught red-handed."
Ms Bligh was caught in a similar scandal in 2008 when she failed to declare house sitting the harbour side home of Thiess director Ros Kelly when the company was bidding to build the Airport Link tunnel.
However it is understood Ms Fentiman and her partner stayed with the Scurrah family, raising questions about whether the accommodation needed to be declared.
"I was initially of the view that I did not have an obligation to disclose the accommodation under standing orders as I considered it to be outside the definition of sponsored accommodation," Ms Fentiman said.
"I decided out of an abundance of caution and transparency to list the accommodation as sponsored and err on the side of disclosure."
When asked about her declaration last week, Ms Trad said Ms Scurrah was a friend, the disclosure had been made and she was not involved in hiring consultants.
She also scoffed at Opposition suggestions that the accommodation was luxury.
"I am not sure about the luxury apartment reference but anyway," she said.