The Gladstone Ports Corporation CEO recruitment process has been questioned in Queensland parliament.
The Gladstone Ports Corporation CEO recruitment process has been questioned in Queensland parliament.

GPC CEO recruitment, corruption raised in parliament

Questions have been raised in Queensland Parliament about the recruitment of the Gladstone Ports Corporation CEO and the potential investigation of the process by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Craig Walker has been acting CEO of Gladstone Ports Corporation for more than two years.

The GPC Board has been tasked with selecting a permanent CEO and referring their recommendation to the Queensland Government for approval, a process set down in legislation for government owned corporations.

 

Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey was questioned about his involvement in the Gladstone Ports Corporation CEO recruitment process. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey was questioned about his involvement in the Gladstone Ports Corporation CEO recruitment process. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

During the March 25 Questions Without Notice session, Shadow Treasurer David Janetzki asked Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick about the recruitment process.

"I refer the Treasurer to the recruitment process of the Gladstone Ports Corporation CEO, which has been occupied by an acting officer for over two years," Mr Janetzki said.

"Can the Treasurer confirm that the board has made a unanimous recommendation for an appointment, and what was the government's response."

After stating he was 'lost for words', as it was the first question from Mr Janetzki in 112 days, followed by responding that Gladstone's port would have been sold by the LNP, Mr Dick provided this answer.

"We have a very detailed and thoughtful process when it comes to appointing members of government owned corporations," Mr Dick said.

"Any process that we adopt will be thoroughly and vigorously pursued before any appointments are made."

Shadow Roads Minister Steve Minnikin then asked Queensland Roads and Transport Minister Mark Bailey about the CEO recruitment process.

"What involvement has the Minister personally had in the appointment process of the Gladstone ports CEO," Mr Minnikin said.

Arguments then erupted in the chamber, with Mr Bailey referring to the proposed 'sell off' of the port under the privatisation plan Strong Choices.

"I am happy to inform the House that under the Government Owned Corporations Act 1993 shareholding ministers are required to give their prior written approval for the appointment of a CEO.

"On 5 August, 2020, the shareholding ministers received a letter from the GPC chair informing us that the board wished to progress the CEO recruitment process.

 

Queensland Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson asked whether the Gladstone Ports Corporation CEO recruitment process had been referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission for investigation. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Queensland Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson asked whether the Gladstone Ports Corporation CEO recruitment process had been referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission for investigation. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

"As shareholding ministers, the Treasurer and I will consider recommended candidates from the Gladstone Ports Corporation in due course.

"That is the normal process."

Shadow State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Fiona Simpson then asked Mr Bailey about whether a referral to the Crime and Corruption Commission in the GPC recruitment had been made.

"Is the Minister aware whether the Crime and Corruption Commission has been asked to investigate an allegation of interference in the Gladstone port CEO appointment, and is the Minister assisting with their inquiries," Ms Simpson said.

Mr Bailey then responded to the question.

"I do not speak for the CCC, the independent watchdog; they speak for themselves," he said.

Gladstone Ports Corporation and the Crime and Corruption Commission have both been contacted for comment.

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