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Mrs Carnell's objections to this simply do not hold water. It is a good amendment. It is not an amendment that is going to bog them down. It is not an amendment that is going to cause lots of incompetent people to be left in charge of ACT Electricity and Water. It is going to ensure that the board of directors have a breadth of experience and understanding along the lines Mr Osborne talked about earlier in the night in relation to lower income people, a depth of understanding to ensure that ACTEW is a good corporate citizen, that it understands all the things it needs to understand to be a responsible part of the community.
I am sure that ACTEW management would not find this requirement onerous. I am sure that ACTEW management would welcome the notion that among its directors were people who understood environmental matters, people who understood industrial relations matters, people who understood that some of their clients cannot just dash off a cheque whenever they get a bill, that they can get into financial difficulty, and people who do have consumer concerns and other things. I cannot see any reason from a public interest point of view, from a practical point of view, why we would not want to support this. All it is doing is giving to the community some assurance that our board of directors will have what I consider to be an appropriate breadth of experience.
I am interested in Mrs Carnell's commitment to run past the Assembly the names of the directors of the company and their CVs. I do not quite understand what “run past” means. I do not quite understand how that is going to work. There was some story running around before that somehow or other the directors of the company were going to be able to be disallowed by the Assembly under statute law. That is simply not the case because they are not appointed under a statute. This process, I think, gets the right balance. Obviously, the requirements of the Companies Act will have to be taken into account in appointing board members, and there is no reason why these other concerns should not be taken into account as well.
Wednesday, 21 June 1995
MS HORODNY (12.04 am): There is ample room on the board for people with financial management skills as well as people who can balance the debate on economics and environmental, social and industrial relations concerns. Having a board with directors who have management skills alone, at the expense of other concerns, does not ensure that the corporation will do well. The history books are full of corporations that have gone under, even with so-called financial whiz-kids on the board. The argument that putting on the board individuals with more diverse skills and expertise somehow makes the board a mickey mouse arrangement is an insult to community representatives who have skills in environmental, social and industrial relations areas and does not value those important considerations in this new and high-flying ACTEW.