TV tradie Cam defends $347k taxpayer-funded pay packet, saying he ‘needs to provide for his family’


Television tradesman Scott Cam has defended his $347,000 contract as National Careers Ambassador, arguing everyone is entitled to be paid for their work.

Key points:

  • Scott Cam is being paid $347,000 for a 15-month contract as National Careers Ambassador
  • The Federal Opposition has criticised his appointment, arguing there is little to show for his work since he started in October
  • In a later exchange, Cam told a Sky News presenter his pay packet was “none of your business”

Both the Coalition and the celebrity builder have copped significant criticism from the Federal Opposition for the 15-month appointment.

Cam has only made one public appearance and a handful of social media posts and videos since he started in October.

Standing alongside Employment Minister Michaelia Cash on Tuesday, Cam denied suggestions his work to promote careers in trades did not constitute value for money for taxpayers.

“We work for a living, that’s the Australian way, and we get paid for what we do,” he said.

“I suppose my brand of 21 years as a national presenter on television is bringing some awareness to it.

“I need to provide for my family. I get paid for what I do.”

Cam said his limited number of public appearances coincided with many TAFE campuses and institutions being closed for the summer break.

He argued he was about to start a tour of campuses around the country, and showing up to empty classrooms would have constituted a waste of taxpayer funds.

“This national tour is taking me away from my day-to-day job, so I think it’s only fair that I get paid, like you get paid,” he said to reporters in Sydney.


Scott Cam argues taxpayers are getting value for money out of him. (AAP: Joe Castro)

Senator Cash described Cam, who hosts the Nine Network’s renovation reality television program The Block, as Australia’s “most well-known tradie”.

Later, in a terse exchange on Sky News, Cam continued his defence.

“My management and the Government discussed the fee, that’s none of your business, that’s a commercial arrangement and how that came about is between my management, myself and the Government.”

The Federal Government appointed the Gold Logie winner as National Careers Ambassador to encourage people to take up trade apprenticeships.

Cam will earn $262,000 between October 1, 2019 and the end of this financial year, with a further $85,000 paid next year.