Australia | Misuse of public funds by former officers at Goulburn Murray Water

The former managing director of Goulburn Murray Water claimed - and the former chair approved - reimbursement to which he was not entitled for items including household furniture and alcohol, the Victorian Ombudsman has found.

Tabling her Investigation into allegations of improper conduct by officers at Goulburn Murray Water in the Victorian Parliament today, Ombudsman Deborah Glass said her investigation exposed failings with individuals and the systems that support them.

Ms Glass said the conduct of the former managing director, who claimed about $40,000 in expenses while on a $380,000-plus annual salary, and the chair, who approved all the MD’s claims, was inappropriate.

“To a community facing years of hardship because of the drought and the dairy crisis, this conduct seems particularly out of line with public expectations,” Ms Glass said.

Her investigation found that the MD claimed, and the chair approved:

- Reimbursement for nearly $20,000 of household assets, including a high-end barbecue, to set up the MD’s Shepparton home after he moved from Melbourne to take up the role.

- A ‘living away from home allowance’ which provided him with an $11,000 tax break. The managing director’s ongoing pursuit of this tax break led GMW to spend over $17,000 on legal/accounting fees to determine his eligibility.

- More than $21,000 worth of expenses in 13 months for meals and drinks, including alcohol and hotel stays in Melbourne. This was despite GMW’s Board Policy for Director Reimbursement making it clear that “alcohol is not claimable”.

The former managing director ceased employment with GMW in late September 2018, while the former chair resigned in July 2018.


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Source: Victorian Ombudsman, Australia


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