Page 1345 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 April 2013

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Questions without notice

ACTEW Corporation Ltd—managing director

MR HANSON: My question is to the Chief Minister as a shareholder in ACTEW. Chief Minister, clause 49 of the 1995 articles of association of ACTEW requires that the shareholders approve the remuneration of a chief executive officer or an executive director. At the PAC hearings last week, the chair of ACTEW stated to the committee that the government, in 2004-05, altered the constitution of ACTEW to make it clear that the board were responsible for the appointment and remuneration of the managing director. Minister, given that you have been raising so many concerns about the salary of the managing director, why is it that the Labor government removed the ability for the shareholders to approve the managing director’s remuneration?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Hanson for the question. Mr Hanson is right in that I have raised concerns around the remuneration of the managing director of ACTEW Corporation since the shareholders became aware of the full extent of the remuneration arrangements. I would have to go back to the decisions taken around 2004-05. I have not done that in the last month but, in line with the governance arrangements of ACTEW under the Corporations Act, I do not think it is unreasonable to believe that one of the most important jobs that a board can do is settle the employment arrangements of its chief executive officer.

Shareholders have quite restricted powers in many ways as to how ACTEW operates, and that has been clearly established through the Territory-owned Corporations Act. I have sought advice on this from time to time from our legal advisers.

I can certainly go back to the decisions of 2004-05. It predates my time as a shareholder. So I would not have been involved in those discussions, but I do not think it is unreasonable to expect, in the way that ACTEW operates, that a fundamental part of the board’s responsibility is to approve the employment of and the remunerations of the chief executive officer, who is answerable to them and not to the shareholders.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Chief Minister, have you satisfied yourself that the alteration of the constitution of ACTEW in 2004-05 did in fact remove the requirement for shareholders to approve the managing director’s salary, and if not, why not?

MS GALLAGHER: As you can understand, I have had some priorities to deal with in actually managing the issue that has been of such public interest in the short term. As I said, I think in the last Assembly sitting in answering a question—indeed the Treasurer has also spoken of it—the government is considering the governance of ACTEW Corporation, but we are doing it in an encompassing way, on a range of issues that have come to the forefront of shareholders’ minds. So that work is underway, Mr Hanson, in short.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Seselja.

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