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Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Page: 7847

Senator RUSTON (South AustraliaAssistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources) (12:32): Thank you, Senator Brown. Firstly, the reason that we are not supporting this particular amendment is that we believe that it's actually counter to the normal operation of disclosure-of-interests requirements under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act and associated rule. It would also remove the responsibility otherwise appropriately allocated to the board.

As you would be aware, the PGPA Act requires officials of Commonwealth entities to disclose any material personal interests that relate to the affairs of the entity, and it also requires and provides for rules to prescribe how and when those interests are to be disclosed. The PGPA Rule provides for the board, as the accountable authority of the entity, to instruct how officials of the corporation, including the CEO, are to disclose the interests.

There were a couple of comments that you made. You made the comment about three not being a sufficient number of people on the board. You'll note from the legislation that it says 'up to five'. It doesn't say three. It's also worth pointing out that the establishment of the CEFC actually preceded the PGPA Act, so it would not have been relevant to make the correlation between the two.