Page 578 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 10 February 2009

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This was an orphaned child that was left to die on its own.

The Auditor-General makes a number of other comments about the role, or lack of role, of the voting shareholders. Of these 48 references to the shareholders, a quarter related to adverse consequences from the lack of appropriate action by the two voting shareholders. The two voting shareholders did nothing, did not do the things that were required of them, and the Auditor-General draws the conclusion that this led to adverse consequences for Rhodium and, indeed, for the people of the ACT. Ultimately, the taxpayers, at a time when every dollar is critical to the delivery of services, will be left high and dry.

By any judgement, very critical comments are made by the Auditor-General. We need to acknowledge that the voting shareholders in this context have a prominent role in the strategic direction and the activities of the entity. The voting shareholders can do many things under this act. They can tell the board to do certain things. They can request the board to do certain things. They can ask the board for certain reports. They never did. Indeed, the board itself must seek approval or agreement of the shareholders to do various things, and in most cases that approval was not forthcoming.

The board certainly should be required to provide certain documents to the voting shareholders for approval. The voting shareholders are not passive in this process. The Chief Minister and the Treasurer cannot sit there and say, “It was not us. We did not run Rhodium.” But the reality is that they have a role, a very, very special role given to them by laws passed in this place. It is essential—or it was essential because they will not give it now—that they give appropriate guidance and direction to the entity for which they are the voting shareholders.

Without apology, Chief Minister, the responsibility for this mess is right at your feet and those of your Deputy Chief Minister. You cannot hide behind the board or the former CEO of Rhodium. They themselves will answer for what they did. It is your failure and the failure of your colleague, with your two voting shares. You did not provide guidance. You did not provide direction. All you provided was confusion. Look at the awful mess that you have created and the legacy that the people of the ACT will now suffer from.

Unfortunately for the ACT community, the opportunity that might have been to realise a good value for Rhodium has gone. But fortunately for the ACT community, the Auditor-General has documented the failure of you and your colleagues.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Motion by Ms Gallagher agreed to:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

The Assembly adjourned at 9.27 pm.

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