Page 2152 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 22 June 2005

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To summarise, the ICRC sets the figures. You need to look at Actew’s cash needs and at the whole picture—if you are capable of it—or get some help. I do not see any penalty for the people of the ACT.

MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Does the managing director of Actew receive a performance bonus on top of his $450,000 salary for increasing the dividend to the government?

MR QUINLAN: We do not decide what his performance bonus is. I am not sure that it is on top of the salary package as opposed to part of the salary package. I do not have the precise numbers. Like many CEOs in Australia in charge of commercial organisations, there is a performance element in his salary, if that is what you are asking. I think there is.

I might expand on the answer, given that we have had some publicity in relation to the salary paid to the CEO of Actew. I am advised that the Hay Group has evaluated that position twice over the past few years. I am advised that the upper level of their assessment is well above the salary for the position. The salary is set by the board. It is their choice. How the board manages the organisation and what incentives they put in, is really for them to decide.

Mr Mulcahy: You are the shareholders.

MR QUINLAN: We are the shareholders.

MR SPEAKER: Order! This is not a conversation; this is an answer to a question.

MR QUINLAN: The board assesses that salary; they have done it, as I am advised, with professional assistance. The shareholders are sensible enough to manage as shareholders, and not micromanage or drag selective figures out of the full report of Actew and try to make political capital out of it, as you have done.

At the end of the day, his salary has been decided by the board. I think the board has taken recognised professional advice twice on those salaries. The salary provided fits within a range provided and is certainly below the upper limit set. As a shareholder, at this stage I do not feel disposed to interfere in that process. I can look on with envy, seeing as I sat in that position for a couple of extended periods. I remember being very well remunerated, but not quite at that level.

Nevertheless, if you had read the press over the past few years you would have understood how the salaries paid to senior and chief executives across Australia have changed, how they have escalated so that you get the best people, and how they have included an incentive element. If you took the salary of the chief executive of Actew and stacked it up against other organisations—as the Hay Group has done for the board, which made the decision—you would get a better perspective.

It is easy politics to pick out a big number—my salary, your salary—and bandy it around. That has a certain amount of popular appeal. But put it into perspective of what

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