Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 March 2010) . . Page.. 877 ..
In terms of our arrangements, at the heart of the issue, perhaps, are the tendering arrangements. They are rigorous, they are transparent and they are demanding. Through that process Akron was successful. To the extent that a company that is contracted to provide service for the ACT does go into receivership or voluntary administration, or indeed liquidation, the law provides a quite rigorous, stepped process in relation to the consequences of that receivership or liquidation. The ACT government, of course, abides by the law and abides by those nationally consistent standards. We seek to represent best practice. I believe that we do and I have no advice, evidence or suggestion that in relation to the Akron contracts the ACT government, through the LDA, at any stage has done anything that does not represent best practice.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Bresnan, a supplementary?
MS BRESNAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, in relation to Akron, what evidence beyond a statutory declaration does the government require to ensure that a company is complying with their legal obligations?
MR STANHOPE: The issue with the statutory declaration relating to Akron was very much in relation to payments, and payments to subcontractors. It was a condition applied over and above the normal regulatory inspection of any business or company’s operations, particularly as they involve the community. There are a whole range of inspections and regulatory requirements that anybody performing the sort of work that Akron performed needs to undertake and be subjected to. As to the detail or the extent of those, Ms Bresnan, I would have to take advice, but of course there is a whole regulatory regime and we, of course, apply and comply with those regimes.
In the context of a failing company, the ACT government, as a contractor, behaves in relation to issues around receivership or administration or liquidation in exactly the same way as every other organisation or entity does that enters into a contract with an organisation that fails, in relation to the indebtedness and the debts that are left unresolved. We behave in exactly the same way as every other company or any other organisation or every other entity does.
Ms Bresnan, if at the heart of your question is a suggestion that the government or governments could adopt a different attitude in relation to bad debts of subcontractors that are contracted and with whom they engage, why or how is it expected that the government accept a different level of liability obligation over and above that of the broader contracting community? In other words, why would you expect, in relation to the payment of those debts, that there would be a different regime for governments as against every other contractor who contracts for services with a company that actually falls—(Time expired.)
MR SESELJA: Supplementary question, Mr Speaker?
MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Seselja.
MR SESELJA: Chief Minister, when did the ACT government or its agencies first become aware of financial difficulties being faced by Akron?