Page 4333 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 13 October 2009

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Mr Hanson interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, your chance to ask a question will come later.

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. We believe that is in the interests of the long-term health needs of this community and indeed the services that we can provide to the north and south of Canberra through the public hospital system. Indeed, this has been acknowledged by the operators themselves. This is something that has been lost in some of the discussion we have been having: LCM are wanting to sell the hospital. They have agreed with the discussions they have had with the government around—

Mr Hanson interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: They are a large health provider across the country. They operate 3,000 beds. They understand another organisation’s desire to deliver economies of scale by operating both public hospitals. (Time expired.)

Actew—executive salaries

MS HUNTER: My question is to the Treasurer, and it concerns the failure of Actew to again publish executive salaries in their latest annual report. Treasurer, at a time when there is widespread community concern in relation to executive salaries, will you not follow the Assembly estimates committee’s recommendation of June this year and ensure that Actew disclose executive salaries in their annual report?

MS GALLAGHER: This is a question that I have taken advice on. This is something that I have wanted to have further discussions with Actew on, but in my recent discussions with them I did not cover the publication of particular directors’ salaries. They do publish some of the details in the annual report. Their view is that they do report everything that they are required to report, by law. I think there is value in looking at the requirements that Actew, when they are reporting and when they are following all the procedures, need to follow, and then weighing up some of the community interest in those salaries. It is a discussion worth having.

At this point in time Actew have said to me that they report as they are required to report and that there are some matters, as a corporate structure and as a board, that they are not required to report. They are satisfied that there are protections in place on that. I think it is worthy of further discussion. I know that it is mentioned in the estimates committee report, and I am happy to take it up with Actew further.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Hunter, a supplementary question?

MS HUNTER: Treasurer, could you explain the government’s response to the estimates committee’s recommendation? The argument around the commonwealth Privacy Act was used and it was said that it would be breached if Actew executives’ remuneration were disclosed. How can this be the case when executive salaries of public companies across the country are disclosed in annual reports as a matter of law?

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