Evidence to a Parliamentary Inquiry had revealed that Minister Pat Conlon’s Land Management Corporation (LMC) had been involved in “unlawful” actions for almost 18 months.
Liberal Member of the Legislative Council, Rob Lucas, said today the Chief Executive of the LMC, Wayne Gibbings, told a meeting of the Statutory Authorities Review Committee the LMC had been acting in breach of parts of the critical Treasurer’s Instruction 8 relating to financial delegations since July 2006.
“Mr Lucas: Which, therefore, means that certain actions that you have taken since July of 2006 have been non-compliant with Treasurer’s Instruction 8, by virtue of what you have said to the Committee. Is that correct?
“Mr Gibbings: That is correct.”
“Even more embarrassingly for the embattled Mr Conlon, Mr Gibbings told the Committee that Mr Conlon had known of ‘non-compliance’ issues since at least June and that a recent memo to him to fix the problem had still not been signed,” Mr Lucas said.
Mr Gibbings referred to a June 2007 letter from Mr Conlon which made it clear he was aware of ‘non-compliance’ issues and “that he ‘expected LMC to implement all necessary controls to ensure that appropriate approvals and delegations are sought for LMC activities at all times.’”
“The Premier, Treasurer and former Auditor-General MacPherson, in statements made on the ‘Stashed Cash’ affair, have all made it clear that any breaches of Treasurer’s Instructions were to be treated seriously by the Government and disciplinary action was taken against some public servants.”
In fact, the Auditor-General told the Economic and Finance Committee in 2004 that breaches of Treasurer’s Instructions were ‘unlawful’ acts:
Failure to authorise the spending of departmental funds is a clear breach of the Treasurer’s Instructions and is, according to the Auditor-General, “unlawful” and a “criminal offence”.
“Mr Conlon now has to explain why for 18 months he hasn’t ensured the appropriate financial delegations were in place for the LMC. As Mr Gibbings has pointed out, responsibility for this rests with Minister Conlon.
“This is yet another example of incompetence or negligence by Mr Conlon in relation to the way he supposedly manages his portfolios.”