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Yet more evidence of consulting firm McKinsey’s lucrative relationship with the Morrison government has emerged, after the blue-chip company inked a deal worth $2.2 million with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to provide professional advice on a business case for manufacturing an mRNA vaccine onshore.

The contract, which ran from late December to March, and was worth nearly $25,000 a day, indicates the government has been considering the possibility of locally manufacturing mRNA vaccines for some time.

Currently, Australia is only producing the AstraZeneca vaccine locally, and experts have slammed the government for not investing in local manufacture of mRNA vaccines.

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But the contract also represents another sugar hit for McKinsey, a company which, as Crikey previously reported, has made millions off the government’s pandemic response. The firm currently has a $3 million contract with the Department of Health to assist with the vaccine rollout after its initial deal was extended and doubled in value last week. It also signed a $2.4 million deal with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to advise on “maximising economic and social opportunities” arising out of the vaccine rollout.

All up, McKinsey has now made well over $7 million in COVID-19 related government contracts since December last year. Further analysis shows the value of contracts between McKinsey and the federal government doubled in value from almost $23 million in 2019 to over $50 million in 2020.

And while the Australian government continues to line the pockets of the notoriously secretive consulting firm, McKinsey’s international reputation continues to haemorrhage.

The company recently settled for almost $600 million with US regulators over its role in inflaming the country’s opioid epidemic. The firm has a long history of doing dirty work for authoritarian governments like China and Saudi Arabia, and French lawmakers were incensed that President Emmanuel Macron would let it control the country’s sluggish vaccine rollout.

In spite of all that, it’s still good enough to take millions of Australian taxpayer dollars.

This article was updated to reflect a response from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources clarifying the contract description.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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