Vic public execs to head back to school

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he's happy to send highly-paid bureaucrats back to school.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he's happy to send highly-paid bureaucrats back to school.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he's happy for highly-paid bureaucrats to go back to class and be schooled on how to deliver some of the state's most expensive infrastructure projects.

The Office of Projects Victoria wants to create a "Major Projects Academy" for executives responsible for delivering the state's largest infrastructure and social projects with budgets of up to $2 billion.

"We're happy to train people up to get things built," Mr Andrews said.

"We've got 60,000 people ... employed directly because of our major projects agenda in road, rail, level crossing removals, schools and hospitals."

The OPV, established in September 2016 to oversee major projects, is seeking expressions of interest from existing academic institutions on how to structure a program for executives.

"The training is to enhance leadership and expertise to avoid pitfalls when managing complex major projects," it said in the tender documents.

"In short, what skills can be taught to executive officers."

In a statement to AAP, a Department of Treasury and Finance spokesman would not say how many executives are expected to be trained through the course or an estimated cost.

However, he said setting up a Victorian Major Projects Leadership Academy would "support identifying, retaining and attracting project talent across the public sector".

Such an academy would also "enable cross-department, cross-jurisdiction and cross-generational collaboration, knowledge transfer and capability building", "transfer lessons learnt" from other projects.

Shadow treasurer Michael O'Brien said the government had been embarrassed by project cost blow-outs and was trying to train public servants to avoid repeating mistakes.

"These people are being paid an enormous amount already, why are they being hired if they don't have the skills necessary and go back to school on the job at the taxpayer's expense?" Mr O'Brien said.

Australian Associated Press