Merit-Based Appointments To SOC Boards

The NSW Government will introduce legislative changes in parliament later this month to ensure all board appointments to state owned corporations are merit- based, NSW Treasurer Mike Baird has announced today.

 The amendments to the State Owned Corporations Act 1989 will remove the statutory requirement for a staff director or a Unions NSW-nominated director on the boards of 13 state owned corporations.

 These appointments currently occur without any regard to merit or the particular needs of individual SOC boards.

 “Our priority is to have men and women on these boards who understand the enterprises concerned,” Mr Baird said.

 “We have focussed in government on increasing the calibre of boards, with merit the key criterion for appointment, and are keen to extend this to the SOCs. These are complex businesses, and by having the right people on SOC boards we can be confident they are being run in an efficient manner.

 “This reduces costs and, in turn, places downward pressure on the prices paid by consumers.

 “The changes we are proposing will improve the governance of SOCs, minimise conflicts of interest, and enhance the skills and experience of the boards concerned.”

 Under the changes, the current roles earmarked for Unions NSW or staff directors will be filled after an assessment by the board and shareholders of the skills required by the board, followed by a merit-based interview process and final Cabinet approval

 The 13 boards that, under current legislation, require a staff or Unions-NSW nominated director are: Newcastle Port Corporation, Port Kembla Port Corporation, Sydney Ports Corporation, Hunter Water Corporation, State Water, Essential Energy, Endeavour Energy, Eraring Energy, Delta Energy, Macquarie Generation, TransGrid, Ausgrid and Superannuation Administration Corp (Pillar).

 “These changes will ensure that appointments to SOC boards, like their equivalents in the private sector, are merit-based,” Mr Baird said.