INDEPENDENT NEWS

High Time Government Broke Golden Handshakes

Published: Thu 15 Jul 1999 02:18 PM
The MP who sparked the Auditor General's inquiry into golden handshakes for Tourism Board Directors today welcomed the Government's package on Crown Entities.
ACT Justice Spokesman Patricia Schnauer has been calling for such a package ever since she asked the Auditor-General to enquire into the huge amounts of money paid to Messrs Mogridge and Wall when they left the Tourism Board.
"I am very pleased that Government has taken ACT's advice and ruled out future severance payments for Board members. I am just sorry for taxpayers that Government didn't do this years ago. Government has been far too slow to break the golden handshakes.
"The Government has also been too slow to respond to the continued requests over some years from the Auditor-General for greater accountability and streamlining of governance issues between Ministers and Crown Entity Boards.
"If the Government had responded to the Auditor-General's proposals made in 1996, the debacle over the Tourism Board may have been avoided.
"Government's failure to act has been a very costly mistake for taxpayers.
"The Auditor Generals Report on the Tourism Board pay outs highlighted the confusion and gaps in the lines of reporting and accountability between a Crown Entity Board and the Minister.
"The apparent conflict between Ministers and the functioning of the Board needed to be sorted out.
"While a Minister directly responsible for a Board may delegate the day to day responsibility to that Board, a Responsible Minister, under the Public Finance Act, has an important role to play in ensuring that Crown Entity Boards function with greater financial accountability," said Mrs Schnauer.
ENDS

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