John Fahey has double duty in Australia


BRISBANE, Australia -- John Fahey, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, has taken on another role in his native Australia: making sure victims of recent catastrophic flooding don't get ripped off by unscrupulous repair people.

This past November, Fahey was endorsed for a second three-year term as WADA president, a volunteer position. This week, he accepted Australia prime minister Julia Gillard's offer to be head of a new "inspectorate" to oversee federal disaster funding.

A Fahey spokesperson told The Associated Press Wednesday that the former federal finance minister would be able to handle both positions because he is based in Sydney and not at WADA's headquarters in Montreal.

The length of his commitment with the flood relief committee and other details of his position have not been disclosed.

Fahey, a former New South Wales state premier for Australia's main conservative party, was appointed despite being on the other side of politics from Gillard, who leads the Australian Labor Party.

In an interview with Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio, Fahey said Australian taxpayers' money would not be wasted on con artists seeking to enrich themselves from flood reconstruction, delivering a "no carpetbagger" guarantee.

"Look, it's going to require a great effort. But how can you argue with the principle of giving value for money?" Fahey said.

"I'm more than happy to see that certain principles are adhered to: proper competitive tendering and a guarantee that the carpetbaggers haven't moved in to take advantage of the difficulties that certain parts of this country are currently in."

Government officials have estimated that weeks of flooding in Australia's northeastern state of Queensland would cost the government at least $5.6 billion. Police said 35 people were killed during the flooding. The added cost of Cyclone Yasi, which struck the Queensland coast last week, has yet to be calculated.

Fahey's group will have the power to examine building contracts, some before they are signed, and inspect projects to make sure they are meeting milestones.

Fahey was first elected WADA president in November 2007, replacing Canada's Dick Pound.