Qantas heavies accounting firms? Qantas has told each of the four accounting firms used by the company that if they talk to the Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) they will be blacklisted, we’re told. AIPA has apparently engaged a forensic accounting firm to do some snooping.

‘Witch-hunt’ on pay at Queensland Health. Crikey has hinted previously at the calamitous payroll systems at Queensland Health. Now we understand the department has sent thousands of letters to employees alerting them to the fact they’ve been overpaid. And as one insider reports:

“Unfortunately many employees after looking at the evidence either do not understand or being ascribed overpayments they have already worked through. Now the hard working professionals will be spending hours, time and many trying to correct the apparently uncorrectable. This will distract from their core business of looking after us. It will cost more money and no one has any faith that they will ever get correct pay. There will be resignations, services will be affected, goodwill has been spent. The employees accept that they should be paid correctly. They do not want more than they deserve. But they are now subject to a witch-hunt through no fault or action of their own and have no faith that the current letters are closer to the truth than the months of painstaking interactions with pay office prior to this. Please lay your employees correctly.”

Wine deliveries in NT dry zone. The government’s rave about “rivers of grog” in the country’s north seems to have fallen on deaf ears of senior management. A Crikey spy reports that an ICC manager has his cases of wine delivered to his office: “No need to wait for the grog shop to open, no need to present ID unlike his client Aboriginal people. If FaHCSIA has any sort of code of conduct, then do something about this arrogant boofhead.”

Had The Voice, didn’t understand it. Channel Ten, under its new Lachlan Murdoch-led cost-cutting management, baulked at the cost of broadcasting AFL next year, pulling out of its alliance with Seven last week. But according to one insider, the network offered more for The Voice — a new singing contest franchise that’s proved a big hit in the US — than it would have paid to broadcast AFL over the five-year contract period. And even that wasn’t enough — Nine snapped up the rights last month.

Bush ballads: farming and foreigners. The farmers have been coming out of the woodwork since Crikey examined the increased interest of foreign investors in Australia’s agricultural land. Another writes:

“Our farming land adjoins land (4000 hectares) recently purchased by Westchester Group, a US super fund, north-north-east of Garah in NSW. Initial observation shows that a developing gully (50 metres wide, one kilometre long adjoining our land) that had been returned to perennial grass by the previous two owners to prevent further erosion has been cropped across. Other activity relates only to having the maximum land cultivated without obstruction. How is this acquisition helping Australia’s sustainable long-term food production? The funding is foreign, the profit if any is repatriated overseas and the only benefit to productivity is a scale effect which is now running completely against good conservation outcomes. The fact they paid a high price for sodic/saline vertisol helped out a couple who didn’t wish to be farmers any longer.”

We’d love to hear more of your stories. Email us or use the anonymous form (to avoid the boss’ wrath).

Cheer up, Fairfax: you could be sacked. Each week Fairfax staff look forward to their pay slips, and not just because of the cash — apparently the Fairfax pay office prints an inspiring or uplifting message at the bottom of the message. But as one staffer informs us, given the recent redundancy drive to outsource subediting, “one would have thought that for June 16 they could come up with something less calculated to offend than ‘the best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one’.”

Peter Fray

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