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Revised GBE Guidelines exposure draft released

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Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Australia  Tel: (02) 6277 7400 Fax: (02) 6273 4110

PW 115/11 7 June 2011


An exposure draft of the revised Government Business Enterprises (GBE) Guidelines has today been released by the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator Penny Wong.

The Government is reviewing the Guidelines as part of its commitment under the Better Government Agenda to modernise the management and oversight of government businesses.

Releasing the exposure draft is a crucial step in updating the Guidelines which have been in place since 1997.

The aim of the revised Guidelines is to reflect best practice in corporate governance and will help ensure that the Government, as shareholder, is receiving value for money as well as achieving policy outcomes.

The revised Guidelines will also put into practice the Government’s commitment to increase the representation of women on boards. In the future, appointments to GBE boards - including Australia Post, NBN Co and Medibank - will have regard to the Government’s target of 40 per cent representation, with the objective of meeting this target by 2015.

Senator Wong said the release of the exposure draft would enable interested parties to consider and comment on the proposed changes.

“The arrangements that guide interactions between Government and GBEs need to be best practice in corporate governance,” Senator Wong said.

“This is a great opportunity to refresh the Guidelines so they factor in the changing nature of GBE business, and developments in contemporary corporate governance practices.”

“I encourage contributions from interested parties so we can reflect best practice and keep pace with the changing activity of GBEs.”

The exposure draft proposes a number of reforms, including the review of: GBE mandates; ethical standards; board appointment processes and performance monitoring; financial governance; and reporting requirements.

The revised Guidelines will also provide greater clarity and certainty to GBEs in discharging their obligations to the Commonwealth as owner.

The GBE Guidelines form part of the overall governance framework under which GBEs operate. They complement the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 while outlining the relationship to the Commonwealth as a shareholder in GBEs.

The exposure draft is available on the Department of Finance and Deregulation website at

Comments on the exposure draft can be emailed to before 30 June 2011.

Media contact: Sarika Thach 0457 815 454