Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 28 August 2008) . . Page.. 3878 ..
gas-fired power station. Are we seeing more evidence of the lackadaisical approach of Jon Stanhope and Katy Gallagher, the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of the ACT, in this regard as well?
Dr Foskey used roughly these terms the other day: the story of Rhodium Asset Solutions should be a cautionary tale for all of us. No-one comes out of the story of Rhodium Asset Solutions with their reputations intact. There are people across the territory who have been employees, board members and shareholders who have collectively overseen the running down of a territory-owned asset. Something that was once worth many millions of dollars may now be worth at the very best $1 million to $2 million. This was supervised by and overseen by a range of people. It is something that we should take to our hearts as people who aspire to manage the affairs of the ACT. We should learn the lessons of the reports of the Auditor-General and the public accounts committee and not again indulge in the rear-end-covering exercise that we saw last week with the Chief Minister flourishing around legal advice that said that the public accounts committee was wrong, wrong and wrong. Instead of learning the lessons, he is trying to hide his responsibility. It is time that we had a bit more openness. It is time people took responsibility for their failings; it is time they learnt from their mistakes and did not repeat them.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Health, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Disability and Community Services, Minister for Women) (10.44): I rise today to speak to this motion and to table some advice that the Chief Minister and I, and the government, have received in relation to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts report 16 entitled Review of Auditor-General’s report No 5 of 2006: Rhodium Asset Solutions Ltd.
The advice from Treasury does not address questions raised in the committee’s report that go to the actions of the Rhodium board. Those matters are quite rightly left for the board to respond to if it considers it appropriate. The advice concentrates instead on the role and conduct of the government, in particular the voting shareholders. The advice addresses a number of shortcomings in the committee’s report and provides some context around the accountability and governance arrangements that apply to our territory-owned corporations. Indeed, the issues of accountability and governance which are dominant themes of the committee’s report do not appear to be well understood by the committee, whether it be in respect of Rhodium or in respect of government TOCs more generally.
I would like to take this opportunity to provide some further context in the situation with Rhodium in particular and, in clearing up any lingering misconceptions and misunderstandings, debunk the considerable layer of mythology that has developed around governance issues associated with that company. Much has been said over the last few years about poor management practices that were the catalyst for the Auditor-General’s report in 2006. I do not intend to go over those issues in any great detail today other than to say that, while the Auditor-General’s report was the basis for the committee’s inquiry, Rhodium has come a long way in addressing and rectifying the problems identified in that report.
First let me look at some background as to how and why Rhodium was established. On 1 January 2005, Rhodium was established as a territory-owned corporation. While