Top public servant resigns for using $70,000 taxpayer cash to rent a house in Sydney – after Australia Post boss bought Cartier watches for rich executives
- Daniel Crennan has stepped down as deputy chair of corporate regulator ASIC
- He will repay $70,000 granted for him to move from Melbourne to Sydney
- ASIC chairman James Shipton has also stepped aside over expense claims
- It comes after Australia Post boss Christine Holgate stepped aside over gifts
A top public servant has resigned after spending $70,000 of taxpayer cash on renting a home in Sydney.
Daniel Crennan stepped down as deputy chair of corporate regulator ASIC on Monday after his lavish expenses were exposed on Friday.
ASIC chairman James Shipton has also stepped aside after it was revealed the organisation paid more than $118,000 for him to receive personal tax advice.
The scandal comes after Australia Post boss Christine Holgate stood aside last week for buying four highly paid executives Cartier watches worth $19,950 as a reward for their hard work.
Daniel Crennan (left, on Friday) stepped down as deputy chair of corporate regulator ASIC on Monday after his lavish expenses were exposed
Mr Crennan, whose base salary is $588,433, was given $70,000 over two years as a rental allowance after moving from Melbourne to Sydney in early 2019.
Last week the auditor-general wrote to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg raising concerns that this tipped his pay above the amount allowed for his role.
Mr Crennan, a former corporate lawyer, said he did not break any rules but has agreed to pay back the cash and has resigned.
He said in a statement: ‘I had been intending to retire from my position in July 2021. However, in the current circumstances, I have decided that it is in the best interests of ASIC for me to resign now.’
Mr Crennan said he was told the rental payments were consistent with ASIC policy but later learned about concerns raised by the auditor-general.
‘I requested that ASIC cease paying me the rental allowance. I also offered and agreed to repay the rental allowance ASIC had paid to me,’ he said.
The auditor-general has recommended an independent review be conducted into issues raised regarding relocation payments, including those given to Mr Crennan.
Australia Post boss Christine Holgate (pictured) stood aside last week for buying four highly paid executives Cartier watches worth $19,950 as a reward for their hard work
ASIC boss Mr Shipton, whose base salary last year was $811,654, has agreed to repay the $118,000 he received for tax advice after relocating to Australia from the United States to run ASIC in 2018.
He has stood aside temporarily as an independent review examines these costs.
Last week Australia Post boss Ms Holgate was stood aside pending a review after telling an estimates hearing she bought colleagues Cartier watches as a reward for securing a deal to do banking in post offices.
She originally said the four watches cost a total of $12,000.
But on Friday Australia Post Chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo said he had been made aware of ‘further details of the purchases’ and wished to clarify the record ‘as a matter of urgency’.
ASIC chairman James Shipton (pictured) has stepped aside after it was revealed the organisation paid more than $118,000 for him to receive personal tax advice
He said the four items were purchased in November 2018 at a cost of $7,000, $4,750, $4,400 and $3,800, coming to a total of $19,950.
Mr Di Bartolomeo said Australia Post will continue to participate transparently with the budget estimates process and fully cooperate with the investigation to be conducted by the federal communications and finance departments.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the parliament on Thursday the gifts were disgraceful and appalling and demanded Ms Holgate step aside.
Australia Post is a commercial business that does not get taxpayer funding – but its only shareholder is the Australian government which means its finances are scrutinised by politicians.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the parliament on Thursday demanded Australia Post boss Christine Holgate step aside