Page 3435 - Week 09 - Thursday, 21 August 2008

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performance of the TOC. The Chief Minister failed. He failed when it was set up; he failed as it progressed. Because of his failure, the taxpayers now pay a financial price because the corporation is virtually valueless. All we will get is the winding-up costs of the garage sale to get rid of the furniture. That is all there is left.

I will go to the conclusion of the Rhodium report. Dr Foskey read much of paragraph 5.1, but it needs to be put quite clearly on the record:

The shareholders, while not directly responsible for the day to day failures and questionable behaviour at Rhodium, failed to establish and communicate its expectations to the company.

Yet again, it is quite clear that they failed to communicate; they failed to deliver for the people of the ACT what they are charged to do under the Territory-owned Corporations Act.

The defence will be that somehow the Liberal Party is responsible for Rhodium. Rhodium was created by the Labor government; they sold off the rest of the assets of Totalcare. But they will get up and say that somehow this is the fault of the previous Liberal government. That is not correct. Rhodium is the creation of Jon Stanhope, the Chief Minister, and the then Deputy Chief Minister, Ted Quinlan. The current shareholders are Jon Stanhope as Chief Minister and Katy Gallagher as Deputy Chief Minister of the ACT. What we have in this unanimous report of the committee—without dissenting comment from the Greens, Labor and Liberal—is that the shareholders failed.

The shareholders failed on so many issues: they failed to monitor; they failed to give direction; they failed to answer on the business plan; they failed to even agree what they wanted from Rhodium. “We’re going to set up Rhodium because we’re going to set up Rhodium. We don’t know what we’re going to do with Rhodium, because we just don’t have any business acumen and, quite frankly, we’re not interested.” You can see the same with Actew. The current shareholders are the shareholders of Actew, and we can see the lack of interest that they took in the power station. The Deputy Chief Minister is also the Minster for Health. She had a seat at that board table, but she did not use it.

What we have got is this lackadaisical approach, first at Actew and now at Rhodium. Actew was quite concerned about this report, and it went and got some legal advice that it is clearly established that it is the directors of a corporation formed under the Corporations Act who are responsible for setting the strategic direction of the corporation, not its shareholders. That is true under the Corporations Act, but we are not talking just about the Corporations Act here; we are talking about sections 16 and 17 of the Territory-owned Corporations Act, which puts to the shareholders certain responsibilities and obligations to seek information and, if necessary, to make directions and, if they have to, to give compensation for directing a territory-owned corporation to act in a way that is contrary to the Corporations Act. That is why we have the Territory-owned Corporations Act—they are different. Those corporations are owned by the government on behalf of the taxpayers, but the directors are the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister.

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