South Australia Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond
Libs Ask Ombudsman And Auditor-General To Investigate Handshin Appointment
Victor P Taffa
Liberal Leader Isobel Redmond has written to the SA Ombudsman and Auditor-General questioning the appointment of Mia Handshin to the position of Chair of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Board.
After questioning in Parliament last week, Environment Minister Caica asserts that the appointment was in accordance with the provisions of the Environment Protection Act 1993, pursuant to s.14B (5)(f).
This section requires that the appointee has qualifications and experience relevant to both management generally and public sector management.
However, in her letter to the Ombudsman and Auditor-General, Ms. Redmond states that:
“Concerns have been raised that Ms. Handshin possesses neither qualifications nor experience in management generally, nor public sector management which would satisfy the requirements of the section. As such, her appointment may not be valid. These concerns have been publicly expressed by Business SA and other state-based organisations as well as by people within the EPA itself. This in turn raises the question of whether a potentially invalid appointment could jeopardise actions of the Board and the EPA, particularly any prosecutions it may carry out or orders it may issue.”
“Given the financial payment being made to Ms Handshin in her role as Chair of the EPA and the controversy surrounding her appointment, it is only right that the Ombudsman and Auditor-General investigate.” Ms. Redmond said.
“We want to make sure the Weatherill Labor Government lives up to its promise to be open, transparent and accountable.”
“If the Government has nothing to hide, they should have no problems with this investigation occurring.” Ms. Redmond said.