Page 2396 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 June 2013

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Questions without notice

ACTEW Corporation Ltd—management

MR HANSON: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, in the last week we have seen news stories about a million-dollar bonus for ACTEW Corporation’s managing director. Close on the heels of that story, we have read about a shake-up of senior employee positions and a so-called “dumbing down” of senior engineering positions. All of this comes on top of the scandal surrounding the managing director’s remuneration and the uncertainty of revenue flows to ACTEW, and therefore dividend flows to your government, pending the release of the final ICRC report on water pricing in the ACT. Chief Minister, as a shareholder in ACTEW Corporation, holding that share as an investment in trust for the people of Canberra, what do you say to the people of Canberra about the continuing string of problems confronting their water utility?

MS GALLAGHER: I would reject the allegation raised in the question that there is a string of problems relating to the water utility, for a start. Mr Hanson alludes to a million-dollar bonus. There was not a million-dollar bonus paid to the managing director. There were a series of bonuses paid over a number of years.

Mr Hanson: They totalled a million dollars.

MS GALLAGHER: You said a million-dollar bonus; I am just clarifying it for the purpose of Hansard. Over a period of years of employment with ACTEW, there had been bonuses paid, and we have been through that in this place.

In relation to an internal restructure of the organisation that has flowed from the change to arrangements or the establishment of ACTEW Water, the shareholders have made it clear to the managing director, and we have no reason to disbelieve it, that the managing director, the senior managers and the board of ACTEW are responsible for those internal matters. The shareholders have received correspondence from APESMA, representing members within ACTEW, and we have urged ACTEW and APESMA to work through those issues they have raised during the consultation period.

It is not unusual for corporations to restructure their staff. That is what ACTEW is doing. It is doing it in accordance with the EBA requirements and there is a consultation period ongoing.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.

MR HANSON: Chief Minister, are the axed technical experts being asked to carry the can for the poor performance of the shareholders of ACTEW in recent years?

MS GALLAGHER: Again, I am not sure what you are alleging is poor performance. ACTEW has performed very strongly. The joint venture that was established back in 1999 has performed very strongly. The water security projects have been delivered. Yes, I know you will make hay with the construction costs, even though that has been

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