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Yarralumla nursery joins the list of territory owned businesses going to wrack and ruin

By johnboy - 9 October 2012 22

The Canberra Times has a scathing critique of the failings at the Yarralumla nursery:

— the destruction of more than 133,000 plants and trees worth $1.5 million last financial year

— nutrient-rich water, which feeds algae blooms, was running off the property and into Lake Burley Griffin

— Only two of 28 heritage listed glasshouses in complete working order with 18 closed for safety reasons and an inquiry into an employee confirmed six breaches of the Public Sector Management Act leading to the staff member’s dismissal.

Also most of what they sell has not been grown on site which might well surprise their customers.

UPDATE: The ABC is carrying Chief Minister Gallagher’s confidence that “processes are in place” now. But if we’d asked her a year ago it’s hard to imagine she’d have said anything different.

What’s Your opinion?


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22 Responses to
Yarralumla nursery joins the list of territory owned businesses going to wrack and ruin
rosscoact 7:46 pm 09 Oct 12

c_c said :

Deref said :

“Commercial in confidence” is grubbyment speak for “this is embarrassing”.

I’ll vote for anyone, even a Lib, who promises to get rid of it. We paid for it – we have a right to know.

I suspect that claim wouldn’t stand up to an FoI request. And I would hope local media is lodging such requests as we speak.

Under the FOI Act it would, probably under the review it would, under an ACAT appeal, probably not

LSWCHP 7:20 pm 09 Oct 12

poetix said :

astrojax said :

mr zierholz will be a godsend for the nursery….

I hope he has plans to grow beer plants.

Yeah. 🙂 When I saw the reference to Mr Zierholz, my immediate reaction was that the bloke must be a genius to be able to make all that sweet, sweet beer *and* be able to fit in a sideline of commercial horticulture as well.

I wonder if the beer Z-man and the plant Z-man are related?

poetix 4:49 pm 09 Oct 12

astrojax said :

mr zierholz will be a godsend for the nursery….

I hope he has plans to grow beer plants.

astrojax 3:54 pm 09 Oct 12

mr zierholz will be a godsend for the nursery – if his (sadly, due to bullyboy politics, never instantiated) grand plans for the regeneration of the parliament house gardens are any guide. the man has common sense and creative ingenuity – let’s hope the staff and his managerial colleagues provide him with the support he’ll need. not to mention his government overlords, i mean, owners…

[disclaimer: yes, he is known to me, but wouldn’t know me on this forum and these comments are my own]

PantsMan 3:53 pm 09 Oct 12

I suspect that claim wouldn’t stand up to an FoI request. And I would hope local media is lodging such requests as we speak.

No, the local media are reporting that Katy has said it’s all OK now.

c_c 3:16 pm 09 Oct 12

Deref said :

“Commercial in confidence” is grubbyment speak for “this is embarrassing”.

I’ll vote for anyone, even a Lib, who promises to get rid of it. We paid for it – we have a right to know.

I suspect that claim wouldn’t stand up to an FoI request. And I would hope local media is lodging such requests as we speak.

pirate_taco 2:55 pm 09 Oct 12

Deref said :

“Commercial in confidence” is grubbyment speak for “this is embarrassing”.

I’ll vote for anyone, even a Lib, who promises to get rid of it. We paid for it – we have a right to know.

You’re in luck.
Pirate Party Australia and its ACT branch are committed to freedom of information as we believe it is the only way to ensure an open democracy.
There is no justification to the use of commercial-in-confidence classifications to prevent the release of financial information for a government owned business.

Our candidates are
Molonglo – Stuart Biggs
Brindabella – Mark Gibbons
Ginninderra – Glen Takkenberg

Vote for a pirate on Oct 20th.

Glen Takkenberg
Pirate Party ACT

Madam Cholet 2:26 pm 09 Oct 12

EvanJames said :

Madam Cholet said :

Not good news in the run up to an election, along with dodgy Health dept. stats. It’s pretty obvious from just looking at the place that it is well on its way down the gurgler. I always go in the one next door. Does this government know anything about the departments and agencies under its auspices?

(apostrophes fixed).
If you read the article, you’ll learn that “the one next door” is the private entity that was benefiting from the actions of the now-departed ACT Government nursery employee.

Apologies for the apostrophe catastrophe. I’m sure you never make typos on the run. But anyway, I digress…I am aware that the other one is privately owned – it’s quite obvious just by looking. I go there quite a bit and it’s obviously run like a business – shock horror.

Deref 2:21 pm 09 Oct 12

“Commercial in confidence” is grubbyment speak for “this is embarrassing”.

I’ll vote for anyone, even a Lib, who promises to get rid of it. We paid for it – we have a right to know.

EvanJames 2:03 pm 09 Oct 12

Madam Cholet said :

Not good news in the run up to an election, along with dodgy Health dept. stats. It’s pretty obvious from just looking at the place that it is well on its way down the gurgler. I always go in the one next door. Does this government know anything about the departments and agencies under its auspices?

(apostrophes fixed).
If you read the article, you’ll learn that “the one next door” is the private entity that was benefiting from the actions of the now-departed ACT Government nursery employee.

Diggety 2:00 pm 09 Oct 12

It’s no secret governments are crap when it comes to running businesses (or even owning them for that matter).

Sell them.

PantsMan 1:22 pm 09 Oct 12

One employee sacked, millions missing or just lost, long-term unprofitability, and a few mates appointed to the board. All seems pretty much in order. I mean, no one got a Lexus!

pirate_taco 1:15 pm 09 Oct 12

Sounds like new manager Martin Zierholz has a good plan for getting Yarralumla nursery back on track, but it’s disappointing that the ACT Government has hid the problem using claims of commercial-in-confidence.
Labor talks a lot about transparency and accountability, but seems to fall short where it is politically inconvenient.

I also don’t believe the claim that it was impossible for them to distribute 133,000 plants to schools or community organisations instead of mulching them. All it would have taken is an email memo to go out offering them for free and interested organisations could have removed them for free.
Unless the plants were killed by incompetence before they needed to be mulched?

Returning the focus of the nursery onto the propagation of species that are suited to our regions climate for commercial and government planting programs is a good move.

My other question is why was the nursery allowed to devolve to such a low level until we paid an outside auditing firm (Oakton) to check in after the nursery ran out of money and asked for more?
We have a government organisation that is already tasked with doing this – the ACT Auditor-General’s office, however a quick check through their last decade of reports does not show any evidence that they did an audit of Yarralumla Nursery.
Given that they have only published 7 to 10 audit reports a year, perhaps we should put a bit more funding into this department so that we can detect this sort of problem in the future?

Glen Takkenberg
Pirate Party ACT for Ginninderra

Madam Cholet 11:18 am 09 Oct 12

Not good news in the run up to an election, along with dodgy Health dept. stats. It’s pretty obvious from just looking at the place that it is well on it’s way down the gurgler. I always go in the one next door. Does this government know anything about the departments and agencies under it’s auspices?

I’m sure I also heard a sound bite from Katy at the breakfast launch this morning saying something about “destroying the joint”….for goodness sake, can these people not have original thought. I don’t support Alan Jones’ comments but I sure as hell don’t support constant repetition of ‘hilarious’ feminist comment. Can we move on now?

Flossie 10:56 am 09 Oct 12

So the article finishes with acknowledgement of the rights of taxpayers to have transparency around government run businesses, but won’t release the report of the review of the nursery because the entire document is commercial in confidence. Really? The entire document. Taxpayers can’t see even a part of it?

It also beggars belief that there was absolutely no mechanism that would have allowed excess plants to be gifted to schools or charities instead of being destroyed. $1.5 million in plants mulched because they “couldn’t” be gifted.

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