Thursday, 18 February 2021
Questions without Notice
As was made clear in the way the government handled the Australia Post matter, there were significant concerns. It was referred to an investigation by the secretary of the two departments—my department and the Department of Finance—supported by advice from an external law firm. That advice did, indeed, find that there were significant concerns about compliance with the requirements of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act. What is also the case is the former chief executive of Australia Post chose to resign. We acknowledge her performance during her time in that role, but those are the facts.
In terms of the NBN, I simply make the point that a large portion of the number quoted in the media today goes to a very large number of staff across NBN. Under the terms of their employment, there is base pay and there is at-risk pay, arrangements that have been in place since Labor set up NBN as a government business enterprise, I remind the House. The proposition seems to be that, in some way, when the conditions for at-risk pay to be paid have been met the terms of employment should be retrospectively varied by the employee. You can just imagine what Labor would say about that if any large corporate in Australia did that.
I do make the point also that the Minister for Finance has written to the chief executive of NBN, as he has to other government business enterprises, drawing his attention to a review of performance bonus arrangements for senior executives and equivalent employees. That was done before Christmas, and NBN is fully aware of that.