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Notice given 29 May 2012

1864  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport—With reference to Airservices Australia (ASA), and given that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr Greg Russell recently resigned and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mr Andrew Clarke is now acting CEO:

(1) (a) As CFO, was Mr Clark responsible for signing off on the credit card expenditure of Mr Russell; if not: (i) why not; and (ii) who was; if so: did Mr Clark ever raise the appropriateness of the CFO or a CEO subordinate signing off on the credit card of a CEO; (b) what is the credit card policy of ASA; and (c) did Mr Clark ever question Mr Russell over expense items on the credit card; if not, why not; if so, what items were in question and what explanation was given.

(2) What is the role of the ASA Board in overseeing the CEO in the area of credit card use; and does the Board approve travel expenses for the CEO; if so, when are these expenses approved and how.

(3) Was any independent assessment of the article in The Sunday Telegraph dated 1 April 2012, titled ‘Paid to live the high life - how this man spent $243 702 of your money’ regarding Mr Russell and the claims within that article undertaken; if so, by whom; if not, why not.

(4) Have the: (a) Australian Federal Police; (b) Australian Public Service Commissioner; or (c) Merit Protection Commissioner had any involvement in the case surrounding Mr Russell.

(5) What investigations has ASA instigated, or will it instigate, into the alleged credit card expenditure of the recent CEO; if none, why.

(6) Has the Minister been briefed regarding the credit card expenditure of the recently departed CEO, Mr Russell.

(7) Can the Minister confirm if Mr Russell resigned or was dismissed, and what was the Minister’s role in the resignation or dismissal of Mr Russell.

(8) Was the Minister briefed by ASA, its CEO, CFO or Board, or by the department regarding the matters surrounding the expenditure of Mr Russell.

(9)  What are the general payout terms and conditions of ASA executive employment contract resignations.

(10) Did Mr Russell receive a payout; if so: (a) did that payout comply with the terms and conditions in the employment contract; (b) in what way did it comply; and (c) who authorised Mr Russell’s payout.

(11) Can Mr Clarke, the acting CEO, explain why the ASA cost base has increased by almost $200 million (34.3 per cent) since the 2006-07 financial year.

(12) To date, what is the: (a) cost commitment; and (b) amount spent, on the Cognos project, and what are the costs of each phase of the project.

(13) In relation to the ATC project in Melbourne: (a) when was the project completed; or (b)(i) if the project is still ongoing, when does the acting CEO expect that it will be completed, and (ii) can an explanation be provided at to why the project has not been completed, given that in December 2006 the then CFO, Mr Russell, stated that ASA’s plan was to appoint a contractor by late 2007 and then to give approximately 6 months in design followed by a 16 month construction period.