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Secret Salaries in the ACT?

By johnboy - 2 May 2009 18

[First filed: May 01, 2009 @ 09:14]

Here’s something interesting from Zed Seselja’s office:

    “When the Treasurer was asked in the Public Accounts Committee about the salary packages of senior ACTEW employees, Ms Gallagher’s answer was that salaries were a ‘private matter for the individual’. (Standing Committee on Public Accounts- 18 March 2009).

    “The Treasurer needs to say why the public can get information on the salaries of senior executives at Telstra, Pacific Brands and all other publicly listed companies but are being denied information on the salaries of senior executives in a Corporation owned by the Territory. This is taxpayers’ money, and the Treasurer has an obligation to stop hiding how it is spent.” Zed said.

    “ACTEW is a Government owned company where Mr Stanhope and Ms Gallagher are the shareholders. It is extremely important the company is open and accountable for its expenditure.

Good question…

UPDATED: Katy Gallagher has gone to some lengths to explain why, legally, these numbers do not have to be disclosed:

    “Mr Seselja’s first mistake is that ACTEW is actually an unlisted public company, not a listed company and therefore the reporting requirements for remuneration are different to that of a Telstra or Pacific Brands.

    “Secondly, the reporting requirements for unlisted companies are contained in the Corporations Act 2001. It is not the responsibility of the ACT Government to make up its own reporting rules or change how the Act instructs ACTEW to report.

    “As I have previously advised the Public Accounts Committee, ACTEW staff are not public sector employees nor hold public offices.”

Which is not quite the same thing as explaining why these numbers should not be public.

Katy goes on to explain how TransACT is un-accountable.

These are good things?

What’s Your opinion?


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18 Responses to
Secret Salaries in the ACT?
JC 6:32 am 03 May 09

Hells_Bells74 said :

Wow things have changed since I was an ACTEW wife then. Thanks for the info caf 🙂

On paper they have 35, in reality much more. Although a lot of people we see are contactors a lot as I said above work for other companies that are owned by ACTEW. So ACTEW has 35 direct and a bucket load more indirect employees.

Hells_Bells74 2:33 am 03 May 09

Wow things have changed since I was an ACTEW wife then. Thanks for the info caf 🙂

JC 11:05 pm 02 May 09

Hells_Bells74 said :

caf said :

ACTEW isn’t a big company at all. It has only 35 staff members – it’s primarily an asset-holding company (it owns all the water infrastructure, along with investments in businesses like ActewAGL and TransACT).

I doubt the MD (it doesn’t have a CEO) earns anything like $450k.

35 staff in ACTEW? Where’d you get those figures if you don’t mind saying?

ACTEW owns companies that have direct employess who are not counted in this 35. Those 35 are the ones employed directly by ACTEW no doubt all at the head office in Civic.

Clown Killer 9:45 pm 02 May 09

It was contractors.

sepi 9:43 pm 02 May 09

That figure of 35 staff has got to be a mistake – or else they employ bulk contractors.

We had about 20 ACTEW workers in our street last week replacing power poles.

That would be more than half of the place!

caf 7:29 pm 02 May 09

Not at all – here on their webpage.

Hells_Bells74 5:46 pm 02 May 09

caf said :

ACTEW isn’t a big company at all. It has only 35 staff members – it’s primarily an asset-holding company (it owns all the water infrastructure, along with investments in businesses like ActewAGL and TransACT).

I doubt the MD (it doesn’t have a CEO) earns anything like $450k.

35 staff in ACTEW? Where’d you get those figures if you don’t mind saying?

monomania 5:08 pm 02 May 09

What makes ACTEW not the ACT department of Electricity and Water. Different structure. An opportunity to get a lot of employees off the Government’s books into ActewAGL, load ACTEW with debt and take a windfall. An MD and a board to oversee it.
Check out who this mob is. Why shouldn’t we know how much they are being paid. Then of course the professional company directors among this group get additional remuneration for being on the board of the joint public private partnership called ActewAGL. And Ecowise Environmental. They get to decide who gets charitable donations and sponsorships. And then there is the part owned TransACT. Partially owned by the TransACT employee super fund. Only 18% owned by Actew but totally in bed with ActewAGL. How they go about allocating cost and profit in this arrangement and accounting for goodwill is anyones guess.

caf 4:31 pm 02 May 09

ACTEW isn’t a big company at all. It has only 35 staff members – it’s primarily an asset-holding company (it owns all the water infrastructure, along with investments in businesses like ActewAGL and TransACT).

I doubt the MD (it doesn’t have a CEO) earns anything like $450k.

Clown Killer 4:07 pm 02 May 09

What employees of ACTEW earn is none of the oppositions(and vicariously, our) business. The question should be about whether the Government should own such a business, given that there are problems with financial transparency and disclosure of how taxes are spent.

Whilst $450k may seem like a large amont to some, believe me it’s not a lot for a CEO running a company the size of ACTEW.

disenfranchised 10:20 am 02 May 09

It was common knowledge a few years ago that an ex Labor staffer was on over $450K a year at ACTEW. We can’t carry those sorts of salaries. Blind Freddie knows that. It is a bad look for Labor. They are saved by a compliant local media and obvious stonewalling in the Assembly.

caf 10:08 am 01 May 09

peterh: No, because she doesn’t derive a benefit from being a shareholder. It’s something that goes along with being Treasurer, and is just the mechanism by which the Government is able to direct the ACTEW board.

caf 10:05 am 01 May 09

Interestingly enough, in Norway tax returns are public documents, so nobody’s salary is secret.

peterh 9:57 am 01 May 09

doesn’t ms gallagher preclude herself from these discussions, being a shareholder? wouldn’t there be a massive conflict of interest?

Thumper 9:31 am 01 May 09

Ms Gallagher’s answer was that salaries were a ‘private matter for the individual’. Err, no.

Public money. Probity and all that good stuff…

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