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Government demands more information on ACTEW boss's pay

Actew managing director Mark Sullivan.

Actew managing director Mark Sullivan. Photo: Lyn Mills

The ACT Government is still demanding answers from Canberra’s water utility ACTEW over the under-reporting by $234,000 of its managing director’s salary.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says she and Treasurer Andrew Barr, the two shareholders in the taxpayer-owned corporation, were misled by ACTEW over Mark Sullivan’s $855,000 pay package.

They have told ACTEW to reveal exactly how much Mr Sullivan has been paid since 2008-09, including incentives and bonuses.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher. Photo: Jay Cronan

The utility, through its chairman John Mackay, has conceded it provided incorrect figures to the government but says that it was genuine mistake caused by a spread sheet error.

ACTEW also says that Mr Sullivan’s remuneration has been benchmarked against executives around Australia doing similar jobs and has been found to be at the lower end of the scale.

Mr Mackay argues that the managing director’s job goes far beyond simply running a monopoly water utility.

John Mackay.

John Mackay. Photo: Lyn Mills

But Ms Gallagher, who says she is furious about the affair, has issued a list of questions she wants answered and is demanding copies of the private sector consultants’ report compiled on Mr Sullivan’s wage.

“We seek copies of the Egan Associates external review of remuneration levels for 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12,” the Chief Minister’s office wrote to the ACTEW board.

“You advised that at 8th September 2011 the remuneration details of the 2010-11 annual report 'were correct'.”

“Can you therefore confirm that the board at the end of the 2010-11 agreed to remuneration of $621,000.”

“If not, did the board agree to the remuneration as now disclosed, and if so on what basis and when?”

Mr Mackay could not be contacted for comment on Thursday.

The Chief Minister and Treasurer also want details of exactly how much Mr Sullivan has been paid in incentives and bonuses during the past four financial years and details of how his performance has been measured.

“Please provide a clear breakdown of the salary package of the managing director such that differentiates the base salary, superannuation, each specific bonus and incentive,” they have asked ACTEW.

“The information should cover the financial years of 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12.

“Please provide complete copies of remuneration and performance papers presented to the Remuneration Committee for the purposes of setting the managing director’s remuneration for the years 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12.

“As a corollary, please provide a copy of the minutes of the board and supporting papers for the approval of that remuneration.

“Please provide timing details for all incentives and bonus payments provided to the managing director since 2009-10.”

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