Barnaby Joyce and Simon Birmingham handpicked three members to ARTC board against advice


Arrold’s ARTC biography states he’s a lawyer and company advisor with greater than 20 years expertise working with a protracted listing of corporations together with J.P Morgan in London and Airnorth.

It doesn’t point out his position as chair of the “Hume Discussion board”, a Liberal Social gathering fundraising car related to former minister Angus Taylor. Information confirmed it donated $180,000 to the social gathering in 2018-19 and an additional $33,000 categorised as “different receipts”. This masthead requested, through the ARTC, if he was nonetheless concerned however obtained no response.

Hodgkinson, in the meantime, unsuccessfully ran for the Nationals within the NSW seat of Gilmore on the 2019 federal election whereas she was the social gathering’s federal vice-president. Beforehand, she had been a NSW authorities minister for 4 years, a shadow minister for eight and in addition a Howard authorities advisor.

Her non-parliamentary expertise included a number of previous and current directorships, together with because the vice-chair of Korean Metals Exploration and as a board member of Shake It Up Australia Basis, an affiliate of the Michael J Fox Basis for Parkinson’s Analysis.

Brennan is a veteran company lawyer advising useful resource sector shoppers corresponding to Anglo American, Sandvik and QCoal on strategic points.

Report author, Dr Kerry Schott.

Report writer, Dr Kerry Schott.Credit score: Alex Ellinghausen

None among the many trio responded to questions, together with if they’d contemplate resigning from the board given Schott’s findings.

Requested if she would take away them, Infrastructure Minister Catherine King responded via a spokeswoman that: “The federal government expects the board as a complete, and board members individually, will contemplate the assessment findings, the federal government’s response and act in the very best pursuits of the company and the Inland Rail challenge.”

The ARTC is the government-owned physique chosen to construct Inland Rail and is liable for Australia’s rail freight networks. It makes revenues of about $900 million a yr, nearly half of that from coal freight charges.

Labor appointed infrastructure professional Peter Duncan as chair in February to exchange the retiring Warren Truss, a former federal chief of the Nationals – the social gathering most vehemently championing Inland Rail.

Earlier than the 2022 appointments, a Truss-driven assessment of the board’s talent combine discovered it was “weak” in key areas of engineering, security, procurement, advertising and setting and sustainability, in response to Schott’s report.

The board additionally rated itself “common” on rail issues, infrastructure information, challenge administration, logistics, neighborhood sector points and governance.

“There’s nothing astonishing about these talent necessities for ARTC and, in truth, ARTC has assured me that its desired talent combine was made identified to the shareholder ministers of the previous Authorities who had been liable for the most recent spherical of board appointments,” Schott mentioned.

“This recommendation, given by the chairperson on the time, was not heeded by shareholder ministers, and presumably Cupboard, at a time when a majority of these abilities had been vital for the board.”

As Finance Minister, Simon Birmingham was one two shareholder ministers for the Inland Rail megaproject

As Finance Minister, Simon Birmingham was one two shareholder ministers for the Inland Rail megaprojectCredit score: Alex Ellinghausen

Schott, the revered former head of the Power Safety Board, estimated Inland Rail might value greater than $30 billion – in comparison with the $4.7 billion projection within the 2015 enterprise case – and miss its 2027 deadline by half a decade. She cautioned these projections might be inaccurate as a result of there have been nonetheless so many uncertainties, together with the place the challenge was to start out and end.


The dimensions of the delays and value blowouts weren’t the results of the three comparatively new board members, however their appointments, doubtful in Schott’s view, underscored the problematic governance preparations she believed had been prime contributors to Inland Rail’s current “regrettable state of affairs”.

Flooding, exterior aggressive pressures, poor environmental affect statements and lumbering state governments had additionally broken the challenge.

Joyce admitted to ABC Radio on Tuesday that he had not but learn the report, however nonetheless rejected Schott’s findings.

Birmingham referred this masthead’s inquiries to Joyce, who had not responded by the point of publication.

The spokeswoman for King mentioned there was at present one vacant board place shifting via a merit-based appointment course of.

“Dr Kerry Schott AO made some clear findings within the assessment of inland rail in regards to the present mixture of abilities on the board,” she mentioned.

“The federal government has already begun to deal with the present functionality gaps … and it’s also working to implement Dr Schott’s advice to ascertain a subsidiary board to supervise Inland Rail.”

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