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Barrister appointed for major ACTEW review

Barrister Bruce Cohen has been appointed to conduct a major review of government-owned water utility ACTEW Corporation.

The review comes in the wake of a series of controversies involving ACTEW, including the resignation of former chairman John Mackay after chief executive Mark Sullivan’s salary was mistakenly under-reported by $234,000.

The Opposition and the Engineers’ Union have both raised concerns about the cost of the Cotter Dam extension and an independent regulator called for an overhaul of the way joint-ventures with AGL and Jemena work.

 Treasurer Andrew Barr said on Friday that Dr Cohen would review the territory’s institutional arrangements for ACTEW Corporation Limited.

“As part of the terms of reference, Dr Cohen will examine the existing ACTEW arrangements to determine whether they remain appropriate and effective, in order to ensure the ACT’s water and sewerage requirements are delivered within the most efficient and effective arrangements,’’ Mr Barr said.

Dr Cohen had a strong background in public policy and government administration in relation to the provision of infrastructure services.

“He is a barrister who has served on the boards of Melbourne Water, VENCorp and Snowy Hydro Limited. He was also a former Commissioner with the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission for its inquiry into reform of Melbourne’s retail water sector,’’ Mr Barr said.