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Victoria payout regrettable

Media Statement

17 January 2000

Victoria payout regrettable

State Services Minister Trevor Mallard said today he regretted that Victoria University is caught up in a golden handshake scandal with former Vice Chancellor Michael Irving and wants the exact amount made public.

"I am not personally aware of the total amount of the payout to Professor Irving, however I know that the State Services Commissioner concurred with it, as it is required to before such a payment is made. I have asked for a full report on the matter.

"I understand that it is a large payment and I am not happy with the situation. It is extremely regrettable that public money is being wasted in this way. It is especially regrettable to future students at Victoria University whose fees will off-set some of the payment.

"The responsibility for such shoddy contracts lies squarely with the previous National Government and we are having to put up with the fallout from their poor administration of public funds.

"The new Government will not allow any public institutions to enter into contracts which allow such huge golden handshakes.

"However, the Government is unable to intervene at this stage. Even as Minister of Education, I cannot intervene as the university has statutory autonomy. I would, however, ask the university to reconsider its decision not to release details of the settlement.

"Public money is involved and the public has a right to know," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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