Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (20 September) . . Page.. 2952..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
The statement on page 3 is a gratuitous comment in relation to a decision which the government had taken around the sale of Rhodium.
Point me to the recommendation, point me to the page in the report, which substantiates an assertion that any of the shortcomings or management deficiencies that the Auditor-General identifies were as a result of a so-called lack of strategic direction by the shareholders. It is a gratuitous, throwaway remark by the Auditor-General in the foreword to the report. I have to say at one level I have absolutely no idea what the Auditor-General is talking about, because I have looked in the report, I have looked through the text, I have sought out a recommendation or a finding in relation to this matter and found none. So it is an interesting question: what exactly did the Auditor-General mean? Why is the statement there? What does it mean?
I have no idea, essentially, what it means because there is absolutely no script within the report in relation to the matter. There is no recommendation in relation to the matter. There is no connection between any of the findings in the audit report and the shareholders—absolutely none. It is fanciful and dishonest to suggest that there is. If there is, point it out. Okay, you have mentioned one line on page 3 in the Auditor-General's foreword. Take me through the report now, find the recommendation, cite the page number, give me the paragraph and the page on which the issue is discussed.
MR SPEAKER: Direct your comments through the chair.
MR STANHOPE: Point me to the discussion, let alone the recommendation. There was an issue for the board of Rhodium in terms of its future long-term strategic plan. That issue was a very strong feeling within the shareholders that the business should be sold. It was a position of the shareholders of which the board had been aware for some time that the business should be sold.
In the context of the shareholders having begun an active discussion around the sale of the business, I would imagine that there would be some difficulty perhaps in agreeing on a long-term strategic direction when the shareholders are actively discussing the sale of the business. But the annual statement of corporate intent is the expression of the shareholders' expectations of the business. Don't give me the nonsense around a connection between the findings of the report and the shareholders, because there is none, and any suggestion that there is is wrong, is false and is not included within the report. You are simply making it up.
If we want to go to the decisions and the issues which the shareholders have faced in relation to Rhodium, we need to go back to Totalcare. We need to go back to the mess which we inherited on coming to government: a Totalcare under the management of Mr Smyth and others which at the time that we assumed responsibility for Totalcare had assumed accumulated losses over three years of $21 million and a range of other costs not met in relation to superannuation. That was before the saga we know of the Williamsdale quarry, the $5.6 million we lost on Williamsdale.
MR SPEAKER: Order! The Chief Minister's time has expired.
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. If it would help the Chief Minister, it is also on page 8 of the report: