The ACT’s water utility ACTEW has been asked to consider making changes to the way it runs its business in the wake of its executive pay controversy.
But a review of corporate governance at the taxpayer-owned corporation has given ACTEW a mostly clean bill of health.
The assessment by accounting giant PwC has recommended that the company’s procedures be tightened up in areas of record keeping, policy and procedure, corporate governance, risk management and planning.
The pay controversy erupted in March 2013 when it was revealed that the utility had under-reported the salary of managing director Mark Sullivan by nearly a quarter of million dollars.
The revelation rocked the relationship between ACTEW’s board and its two shareholders, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and Treasurer Andrew Barr, who did not know that Mr Sullivan was being paid $855,000 a year, making him Australia’s best paid water executive.
The saga led to the resignation of ACTEW Chairman John Mackay and sparked another government-ordered review, this one led by barrister Bruce Cohen.
ACTEW’s acting chairman Michael Easson welcomed the PwC report on Monday, saying it had been robust.
“The PwC report is very powerful and the review has been conducted in a robust manner reflecting best practice governance principles,” the chairman said.
“ACTEW does acknowledge that the report recommends a number of opportunities for improvement and management is developing an implementation plan at the request of the Board.
“In some cases we had already begun to implement changes following the integration of the management and operation of the water business in 2012."