Minister defends $2.2m contract to donors

Federal minister Ken Wyatt has dismissed concerns about awarding a $2.2m contract without a tender.
Federal minister Ken Wyatt has dismissed concerns about awarding a $2.2m contract without a tender.

The federal indigenous affairs minister is waving off concerns over a contract he awarded without tender to a company linked to Liberal party donors.

Ken Wyatt's spokesman told AAP Vanguard Health was recommended by the Finance Department, and assessed under Health Department standard guidelines, to provide eye surgeries in Aboriginal communities.

The $2.2 million contract was given to deliver services at twice the market rate, Nine newspapers reported on Tuesday.

But Mr Wyatt's spokesman says the Vanguard Health contract had originally been signed under the then-Labor government in 2010-11.

Vanguard Consulting, which runs Vanguard Health, has donated $21,000 to Queensland's Liberal National Party.

It comes as an ex-staffer in Mr Wyatt's office blew the lid on the MP's failure to address bullying and poor procedural issues in his office.

Kate Johnston told Nine newspapers on Monday that Mr Wyatt sacked her in 2018 when she raised the alarm.

She also claims Mr Wyatt had "defection talks" with Labor and threatened to trigger a by-election when approached by former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull's office.

A spokesman for Mr Wyatt told AAP on Monday he would not comment on "internal office or staff matters".

Australian Associated Press