Page 3433 - Week 09 - Thursday, 21 August 2008

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… there was not unanimity across government in relation to the extent to which Rhodium as a business would optimally achieve the government’s policy objective.

Not only did they not know but they gave no guidance. Paragraph 4.30 makes it quite clear that the shareholders failed, and I will read the paragraph:

The Committee believes that the shareholders of Rhodium failed in their duty. They failed to give guidance to the Board in what was expected of it and sent mixed messages about Rhodium’s future.

The Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister of the ACT failed the board and the people of the ACT in this regard. Then there is the whole issue of the business plan. Who was in charge here? According to Mr Quinlan, the shareholders were there to monitor and review what was going on, and that was the purpose of the amendments to the Territory-owned Corporations Act that were passed unanimously by this place. Paragraph 3.8 states:

On 24 December 2004 the voting shareholders requested the Board to provide them with a business plan within six months. The draft business plan was completed in April 2005 and identified a number of areas for possible expansion. The Board did not receive any feedback on the business plan.

Again, the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister failed. There was some discussion about responsibility under the Corporations Act, but we need to take that in the context of the Territory-owned Corporations Act, because it defines what the shareholders can do. It should be remembered that this report is the unanimous report of the committee, without dissent or comment. The Greens, Liberal and Labor agreed to this. In paragraph 4.47, the committee says:

The Committee believes that it may have been appropriate for the Government to have issued a direction to Rhodium under section 17 of the Act. Provision for directions exist for just this type of circumstance, where the Government desires a TOC to take an approach that may not be in its best commercial interest. The issuing of such a direction would have been a transparent way of approaching the matter and may have resolved much of the uncertainty facing Rhodium, although it would have exacerbated difficulties in attracting private sector expertise to join the company.

Again, the shareholders failed to tell the board what was required of it and to give it the direction they were actually required to provide under section 17 of the Territory-owned Corporations Act. The amendment to that act was made when Mr Quinlan was around and in charge. The shareholders have to review and monitor what goes on in these corporations; they have an obligation.

In paragraph 4.50 the committee says:

It appears that the shareholders have failed to comply with the Territory-owned Corporations Act 1990.

The Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister broke the law; they did not do their duty. They did not give the direction and offer the compensation that is detailed in

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