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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (21 September) . . Page.. 3069..


Rhodium Asset Solutions Ltd

Ms Alexis McDonald

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.31): Yesterday in the Assembly, when talking about Rhodium, the Chief Minister threw down a challenge. He said, "Take me through the report now. Find the recommendation. Cite the page numbers. Give me the paragraphs and the page on which the issue is discussed."In regard to our quoting from page 3 of the Auditor-General's report, he then went on to say, "I can only assume it is because it is not explained. It is one line. It relates to the decision that the shareholders advised the board of."Actually, page 3 does not relate to that. Page 3 of the report states:

In Rhodium's case, it seems evident that the lack of clear, strategic direction from the Shareholders created uncertainty and made it difficult for Rhodium to provide and commit to appropriate long-term strategic planning to achieve its business objectives.

The Auditor-General clearly lays at the feet of the Chief Minister, as a shareholder, that it was his lack of strategic direction that made it uncertain and made it difficult for Rhodium. The Chief Minister goes on and says that there is no recommendation. More important than the recommendations, I think, are the findings. The recommendations tell you how to fix things, but the findings are the things that have to be fixed. That is quite clear under the governance and accountability framework, something that the Chief Minister shies away from continually. You can almost hear the theme music in the background: "not, not, not responsible". On page 25, under the heading Key Findings, the report states:

Rhodium has been facing uncertainty since its establishment due to the lack of a clear strategic direction from the Shareholders.

Rhodium has been facing uncertainty as a consequence of Mr Stanhope's actions as a shareholder. The report continues:

Consequently, it was difficult for Rhodium to provide and commit to appropriate long-term strategic planning to achieve its business objectives and maximise the returns to the Shareholders.

The Chief Minister asked where the recommendation was. There it is, Chief Minister. It is the third dot point on page 25. It is a matter of action and consequence. There was no action on the part of the Chief Minister; the consequence was that it was difficult for Rhodium to provide and commit to appropriate long-term strategic planning.

If you search the electronic report for the word "shareholder", it appears 48 times in the report. Quite clearly, the auditor places a great deal of importance on the role of the shareholders. The interesting thing is that 35 of the 48 recommendations are technical—for example, the shareholders get a report, the shareholders do this or the shareholders do that. But 13 of them adversely reflect on the lack of guidance from the number one shareholder, the Chief Minister.

Interestingly, the Chief Minister said yesterday that he does not interfere, does not play a day-to-day role, but that he does have functions that he must fulfil. One of them, of


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