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Wednesday, 21 September 1994
Page: 1034

Senator GIBSON —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

  (1)That the Senate notes that:

    (a)there are now available, in the public domain or otherwise, at least five official valuations of the Australian National Line (ANL);

    (b)these include:

      (i)the Price Waterhouse/Salomon Brothers due diligence report, which was commissioned by the Asset Sales B Task Force and which valued ANL at between minus $75 million and minus $118 million,

      (ii)the audited accounts of ANL itself, signed off by the Auditor-General and by Ernst and Young, as contracted auditors to the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), which valued ANL at between break even and $33 million,

      (iii)the joint ANL management/Arthur Andersen report on ANL, delivered 3 days before the Minister for Transport (Mr Brereton) said that ANL `could not be given away', which valued ANL at between $56 million and $90 million,

      (iv)the 1992 report by Macquarie Corporate Finance, which concluded that ANL had substantial net worth, and which the Minister refused to permit ANL management to have updated, and

      (v)unreleased 6-monthly audits undertaken by Arthur Andersen, as contracted auditors to the ANAO, of which the latest would have been for the period ending February 1994;

    (c)these valuations are a source of confusion to the Parliament, policy advisers and the public as to the real commercial value of ANL, both as a going concern or in liquidation; and

    (d)without a single, authoritative valuation, the Senate is unable to accurately assess the implications of the policy decisions made with respect to ANL in recent times.

  (2)That, to enable a definitive clarification of ANL's financial position to be made available to the Parliament and the public, the Senate resolves that, as soon as practicable, a report by the Auditor-General be laid on the table which, taking into account as far as is necessary the valuations described in paragraph (1)(b) and any other information which the Auditor-General requires and is authorised or empowered to obtain, answers the following questions:

    (a)what is the best commercially acceptable valuation of ANL:

      (i)as a going concern, and

      (ii)in the event that it were liquidated; and

    (b)is it possible to reconcile the valuations available to date, including those set out in paragraph (1)(b), and if so, what is the most acceptable reconciliation.