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Comment on Office of Auditor-General Report

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Comment on Office of Auditor-General Report

Embargoed until 2:00pm


The report by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) is accepted in its entirety by the trustees of Development West Coast (DWC), Trust Chairman Brian Roche said in a statement today. [OAG report attached].

The principle finding of the report highlights that the Trust is dysfunctional at a governance level. There is an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust, which manifests itself in hostility and accusations. These attitudes and behaviours are detrimental to the Trust in both the eyes of the community and those in whose interests it is supposed to operate.

“The OAG has very carefully investigated allegations made against the trustees and management. He has concluded that many of the concerns were unfounded and that others were based on minor administrative or procedural errors, or occasional errors of judgement. The OAG found that while some matters could have been handled better, overall the Trust management and trustees have done a good job.”

“However the OAG is extremely concerned about what it describes as “dysfunctional” relationships at a governance level.” The report said “Until we see evidence that the group of trustees is able to take effective collective responsibility for the governance of the Trust, we are unable to provide assurance to Parliament and the wider community that the Trust is able to deliver fully on its purpose of generating sustainable employment opportunities and economic benefits for the people of the West Coast region”.

The conclusion made by the OAG is very serious. It cannot and should not be ignored. Every effort will need to be made by all those involved to put the history behind them and move on. “In my view Trustees have one last chance to prove to both the people of the West Coast and the OAG, that they can work together in the best interests of this region” he said. In the opinion of the OAG if they are unable to do that then they should consider stepping down.

Mr Roche said the OAG dealt with very specific allegations made against former chairman Frank Dooley and former CEO Mike Trousselot. It said “we have identified minor administrative errors that could have been handled better, some processes that could be improved and occasional instances of poor judgement on the part of Mr Dooley. We have seen nothing to suggest bad faith on the part of Mr Trousselot or Mr Dooley. Those few errors and instances of poor judgement have to be set against the record of effective and appropriate administration during the Trust’s first seven years of operation”.

The OAG recognises that the Trust and its management has done very well and created real value for the West Coast. The issue now is for us all to ensure that the progress made to date is not compromised.

Mr Roche said “the people of the West Coast need to digest this report and then draw a line in the sand. In DWC they have a wonderful asset and organisation which, with in excess of $120 million in assets, can and should play a major role in the development of this region. The only missing element is a functional board which I am focussed on remedying”.


ENDS


See... oagwestcoast.pdf

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