Questions over Hard Yakka's bootcamp deal

Attorney- General Jarrod Bleijie and Premier Campbell Newman pictured with Hard Yakkas' Bob Davis after a tour of the property.
Attorney- General Jarrod Bleijie and Premier Campbell Newman pictured with Hard Yakkas' Bob Davis after a tour of the property. Robyne Cuerel

QUESTIONS have been raised about the legitimacy of an expression of interest process that awarded Oz Adventures/Hard Yakka at Susan River a $600,000 government contract - despite it not making the candidate short list.

After years of petitions and meetings with the State Government and local politicians, Bob Davis' Hard Yakka bootcamp program was awarded a contract to run a youth bootcamp in August 2013.

Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie visited Mr Davis' camp at Susan River in January 2013 to announce the tender process, and returned in August to announce it's success.

A right to information report seen by the Chronicle has revealed Hard Yakka was the tenth recommended program, and not even short listed for further consideration.

The panel did not endorse Hard Yakka, with comments about the submission lacking "clarity" and "explanation".

"The submission did not provide sufficient evidence or explanation across a number of elements of the criteria and proposes an unacceptable residential camp model," it read.

"Oz Adventures submission did not demonstrate understanding of the intention of the early intervention program and included some infeasible program elements."

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About two weeks before the tender was announced, photos posted on Mr Davis Facebook page on August 8 showed an expansion to the residential section of his camp.

It wasn't until August 21 when Mr Bleijie announced Hard Yakka would receive government funding for a two-year trial as part of an overhaul of youth justice.

Queensland Shadow Police Minister Bill Byrne called on Mr Bleijie to step down over the decision - and the Premier to answer serious questions.

"Why did Oz Adventures receive the tender when the department advised so heavily against it?" He asked.

"If Jarrod Bleijie is going to override warnings from a department and a panel of experts about the extensive shortcomings of a tenderer, he must explain what's going on."

But responding to the Chronicle, Mr Bleijie defended overturning the decision by the expert panel.

"Bob Davis and his camp is a local success story which has been turning around the lives of young people from across Queensland for years and it is continuing to do so through the Government's boot camp program," he said.

"Oz Adventures had a demonstrated emphasis on the camp as a consequence of anti-social behaviour and an opportunity to instil discipline, structure and respect as well as established facilities which meant they were able to commence operations immediately."

Mr Bleijie said he had no personal, political or business connections with Mr Davis.

Mr Davis wasn't aware of where he placed in the expression of interest process and said he was always expanding his facilities.

Topics:  attorney general bob davis contract hard yakka state government

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