The Rann Government is wasting more than $2 million of taxpayer funds each year retaining the under-performing Carmel Zollo as Minister Assisting in Mental Health, according to Liberal MLC Michelle Lensink.
Ms Lensink said the cost of elevating Ms Zollo to the Ministry would be better spent providing support and services to people with mental illness.
“South Australia has the lowest per-capita spending in Australia on mental health, yet the Rann Government is frittering away $2m on the clumsy Ms Zollo.
“In fact, in just over six months since Ms Zollo was promoted to Minister Assisting in Mental Health, she has achieved jack-all,” she said.
“She has refused to answer one single question in Parliament from any member of the Opposition, Democrats of Independents.
“Her standard response to any question is that it’s an ‘operational matter’ and that it is ‘inappropriate to comment’
“She won’t even tell us which mental health community groups she’s met with or even what her responsibilities are. She appears to do little more than collect a larger pay-cheque and get driven around in a taxpayer-funded vehicle.
“Ms Zollo failed to issue a single press release during her first six months, and was relegated to a by-line in embattled Health Minister Lea Stevens’ press releases during Mental Health Week last week.
“When she made a rare Ministerial Statement in Parliament yesterday, she incorrectly quoted the wrong statistics which show that SA’s funding has slipped from third best to worst in Australia.
“When questioned about Jonathan Phillips’ criticisms of her government’s ‘small solutions’ approach, she replied that she didn’t know what he was taking about!
“There’s no end to the blunders from Ms Zollo.
“If the Premier had any backbone, he would tap her on the shoulder and sack her immediately.”