Page 1481 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 April 2013

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this: it is because the shareholders have not done their jobs. The dysfunctional relationship we are now seeing between the shareholders and the ACTEW board I think is quite unseemly and does nothing to build confidence in the community that this government knows what it is doing when it comes to ACTEW. I think it is quite extraordinary that we have a Chief Minister who has had to go out publicly and virtually express no confidence in the management of ACTEW. That is effectively, I think, the tenor of the language we have seen from the Chief Minister when it has come to this issue.

Instead of dealing with the issue as a shareholder, as is her right—in fact, as is her duty as a shareholder to the taxpayers and the ratepayers of the ACT—she has chosen to sort of act as if it is all beyond her control. We have heard the Chief Minister, we have heard the Deputy Chief Minister and we have now heard Mr Rattenbury. There is a lot of expressing of concern. We heard it on the radio again this morning. Everyone is expressing concern. But they are not prepared to do anything about it. Everyone is concerned, but no-one is actually going to take any action. Being concerned is not good enough after more than a decade in government.

It is this Labor government that changed the rules. It is this Labor government that changed the rules in relation to the remuneration of the executive director of ACTEW. When ACTEW was established it was deemed reasonable for the shareholders, on behalf of the taxpayers, to have a role in setting the salary of the executive director. This has been changed by this Labor government. Then they turn around and say, “Shock, horror! We are shocked at the level of salary of the executive director.”

Then we have Mr Rattenbury saying it is obscene, but he is not prepared to actually support action to get to the bottom of it. Why would that be? Why would it be that he would not actually want to support action to get to the bottom of it? We can go back to all sorts of issues where we have asked the Auditor-General to look into matters on behalf of the territory and on behalf of the Assembly—whether it is elective surgery waiting times, children in care and protection, the management of food safety, mental health services for older persons, amongst many other issues. We would not have been able to get the level of detail, the level of information and the level of scrutiny had it not been for the Auditor-General conducting performance audits in those areas.

What we have now is a situation where the government has said, effectively, that they do not have confidence in the way things are being run. They do not have confidence. They are not happy about the level of the salary. Mr Sullivan, of course, offered to take a pay cut and that has not been supported by the shareholders. They are not happy about the level of salary, even though they were the ones who changed it. They were the ones who changed the arrangements for how that should be set.

Mr Barr interjecting—

MR SESELJA: We have the interjection from Mr Barr. You have been the shareholder for a significant period of time. The Chief Minister has been a shareholder for a lot longer. What have you done in that period to make sure that there is not an obscene salary? What—

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