Something to THINK ABOUT …
As the Paladin scandal is increasingly overshadowed as we move into the election maelstrom, it’s worth bearing in mind how sweet a deal Paladin struck with our government.
To put it into some perspective, the $423 million Paladin contracts are almost as much as the entire 2018-19 Australian aid to PNG ($520 million) and roughly the same as the total value of the entire PNG security industry ($400-500 million), as assessed in a 2017 report by the Lowy Institute.
The Paladin contracts work out at an astonishing $1600 a day for each of the refugees housed on Manus. For that you could snap up a ‘romance package’ room at Sydney’s Park Hyatt Hotel with an unparalleled view of the Opera House.
It adds up to about $20 million a month to Paladin. Comparable mining camps provide superior services for about $100 a day a person, say 1.2 million a month
Part of the justification for the outlandish contracts is that it costs much more to provide similar services in PNG. Sure, travel, compliance, logistics and structures cost more in our nearest neighbour but the actual cost of the services seems to leave an astonishing profit margin for Paladin.
That is evidenced by revelations by the AFR that Paladin pays 500 guards about $450 a month … $2 an hour … try getting security for that in Australia!
And it was a sweet deal from the start: Paladin was paid a total of $89 million even before it signed a contract with Home Affairs. Now it can look forward to another $333 million from last February to this coming June.