Block host Scott Cam has hit back at criticism over his government role and said claims he's "getting paid and doing no work" are complete falsehoods, and that he's worked with government for free for years.
Mr Cam was last year appointed the federal government's national careers ambassador - a move by the government to boost interest in trade apprenticeships.
His $347,000 remuneration was scrutinised yesterday during Senate estimates, with committee members querying exactly what activities he has undertaken to warrant the six-figure position outside of four social media posts across Facebook and Instagram since news of his appointment to the role in October last year. The Senate hearing was widely reported in the media.
However, Mr Cam has said such criticism is completely unfair – with much of his focus on a careers portal yet to launch.
"I do think it's unfair. There are a lot of falsehoods … that I'm getting paid and doing no work," Mr Cam told 9News of the media criticism.
"The (careers) portal isn't ready until July. They just launched it and now I'm going to work towards the July date. There's not much that happens over summer when people are on a break… it's a waste of resources for me to be spruiking… it always has been locked in for more events to start as of next Tuesday.
"It was the government's decision to not do anything more earlier as obviously as a nation we have had a lot of other things going on this summer.
"There's a lot of things that I do for free which I've done for a long time in conjunction with the government (such as) the Georgina Josephine Foundation and their National Low Speed vehicle Run Over Prevention Awareness Day program run in partnership with the NSW Government which I've been doing for eight years and the asbestos awareness for 10 years. That's all been for free. But no one ever talks about that."
Mr Cam has at least another nine public appearances scheduled for the coming months, including the National Careers Week and National Skills Week and the Australian Training Awards.
In December last year the Department of Employment and Skills officials told a estimates hearing on Cam would be paid $260,000 in this financial year and $85,000 in 2020-21.
He will work with the National Careers Institute, alongside government, industry, education providers, career advisors, parents and employers to improve career options
"We're going to have a skill shortage that's going to be debilitating. The parents have been urging their kids to go to uni and not go into the trades… people like me who were the beginning of the end are coming to retirement," he said.
"All those tradesmen are retiring in the next 10 to 15 years. We needed an influx of tradesmen 10 years ago. We need to focus on getting kids in the trade."
Mr Cam is the host of The Block, a Channel Nine show. Nine is also the publisher of this website
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/the-blocks-scott-cam-hits-back-at-criticism-over-government-role/2505bc3f-114d-4ef2-be31-264a6c2bd666