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Is #asa corrupt and conflicted by Angus Houston??

#asa audit called in meeting with Senators by National Audit office

The audit called for after the Senate committee looked at how #asa actually sought new purchases. The Senators were very unhappy in seeing #asa, even through the questioning of Angus Houston from the #asa Board did not give clear answers.

Angus Houston was given a gurnsey in recent times to represent South Australia under the Rann Government:

Despite already engaging several trade envoys, the South Australian government in June also appointed retired Defence Force chief Sir Angus as special envoy for international trade and investment, paying him $70,000 a year for the role.

According to Sir Angus’s contract, he is required to provide strategic advice to the state government, participate in at least two “substantial” international trade missions a year and help network to support the state’s trade and ­investment objectives.

Opposition trade spokesman Tim Whetstone said the government’s “reliance on part-time consultants is proving to be an expensive failure”.

“Once again a former minister in the Labor government has been handed a plum position with the taxpayers picking up the tab,’’ he said.

More grist for the mill, where there is a further conflict of interest by Houston when looked at in line with the OneSky’s contract.


 

Audit office looks into Airservices management

Audit into Airservices management

Airservices chairman Angus Houston. Source: News Corp Australia

The Australian National Audit Office has secretly launched an investigation into Airservices Australia amid serious concerns about its financial management, executive use of corporate credit cards and alleged conflicts of interest in awarding big contracts.

The move follows revelations in The Australian in recent months and disclosures at public hearings of the Senate’s rural and regional affairs and transport legislation committee.

Senators across the political spectrum have repeatedly grilled executives of the government-owned organisation that runs the nation’s air-traffic-control and navigation system, and fire and rescue services at airports.

This month, the committee called Airservices chairman Angus Houston to account for how much the board knew about what senators had described as “dodgy” and “incestuous” relationships among senior Air­services executives, a consultancy group hired to negotiate huge contracts on Airservices’ behalf, and the Thales aerospace group, which won a lead contract.

It is understood the ANAO considered a request from the Senate committee to investigate Airservices and came to a view the concerns were warranted.

“They’re doing a review of the whole thing because there are ­serious issues,” a source said.

It is understood ANAO officials attended an in-camera session of the Senate committee hearing this month.

In the public part of that hearing, Sir Angus admitted to some problems with a “perception” of conflicts of interest associated with the $1.5 billion program to integrate the nation’s civilian and military air-traffic-control systems, known as OneSKY.

These included a “husband and wife team” on opposite sides of a transaction between Airser­vices and the International Centre for Complex Project Manage­ment, the consultancy group it engaged in a multi-million-dollar contract to advise it on OneSKY.

Senators also pointed to the fact Chris Jenkins, the managing director of Thales Australia, is also chairman of ICCPM, which employs former Royal Australian Air Force officer Harry Bradford on an Airservices contract worth $1 million so far to negotiate on Airservices’ behalf with Thales.

Sir Angus told the committee “the board was very concerned” at the revelations and had commissioned an external consultancy to examine the issue.

“They agreed that there is a possible perception of conflict which requires additional management, but this possible perception did not have any actual effect on the tender process,” he said.

“There is no evidence that the issues raised by the Senate resulted in any improper influence, bias, favour or breach of confidence or any incompatibility.”

Sir Angus defended Airser­vices executives’ use of corporate credit cards but said at a recent meeting of the board’s audit risk committee, “a lot of the people, even those with very small amounts of credit card fraud, were referred to the police or had their employment terminated”.

Senate committee member Nick Xenophon yesterday said he was not wholly satisfied with Airservices’ responses to a range of allegations. “There are some critical issues of governance that need to be explored,” he said. “There is concern of whether this doesn’t impact on safety.”

Senators are expected to further question Airservices executives next month.

Airservices spokeswoman Vicki Huggins was unable to respond to questions by deadline.

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6 comments
11 people listening

Mick

Mick

Seems like Angus was desperately trying to recreate his own little RAAF fiefdom beyond Russell and it’s turned sour on him.    You can’t really blame Caesar for wanting to keep the trappings of Rome though, can you?   Somewhat poetic that it’s all been undone by a bunch of Senators (again)!

David

David

Narrow field of bidders for this work raises the spectre of excessive financial gain !! Once again the colony is treated with apparent disrespect. .

Michael

Michael

Can they look at the possible installation of an old technology ILS at coolangatta for $10 million instead of satellite based technology approach capability.  Have ASA got one in their store that they want to got off their books? Satellite technology can provide a better answer at much less cost!

Brian

Brian

Why can’t they focus on their responsibilities of providing the maximum radar coverage for safe flight down to late finals level where the existing technology allows. Their pig headed response to make changes to allow this to happen

is far more important than their internal money squabbles,  but probably the squabbles reflect the internal dissent that prevents Houston from asserting his authority as he was used to doing in the RAAF- or maybe the challenges of a QANGO are not translatable to a ex RAAF commander. Either way,  safety must be the B all and end all of Airservices existence and they seem to be in denial about that.

Andy

Andy

If there is a perception of a conflict of interest, then you have a conflict of interest.

1 comment to Is #asa corrupt and conflicted by Angus Houston??