An outline of some of the issues addressed by AICD’s policy department, committees and taskforces over the past month follow.
James Hardie Industries
The AICD has written to NSW Premier Bob Carr and the Special Minister for State John Della Bosca, expressing strong interest in being consulted about any proposed legislation following the Jackson Report.
The AICD has also formed a taskforce to consider the various legal and governance issues arising out of James Hardie. See also Law Reporter and CEO Report in this issue.
New Victorian OH&S Bill
The AICD is very concerned at the Victorian Government's sudden introduction of the Occupational Health and Safety Bill into Parliament in November 2004.
Given the importance of OH&S reforms and the Maxwell Report, the AICD actively participated in the consultation process making submissions and meeting Bob Stensholt MP in May 2004 in Melbourne. While the AICD was lead to believe there would be further steps in the consultation process this has not been the case.
The AICD considers that it is appropriate for government to respond to stakeholder submissions and then release draft legislation for comment before introducing it into parliament. However, the AICD understands that the Bill only appeared on the Victorian Government website in November 2004 after it had been introduced into Parliament. The AICD is currently reviewing the Bill, but considers that this is a very disappointing outcome of the consultation process. The AICD has outlined its concerns in a letter to the Victorian Attorney General Rob Hulls and in a media release.
NSW OH&S legislation amendment
The AICD has also written to John Della Bosca in relation to the NSW Occupational Health & Safety Legislation Amendment (Workplace Fatalities) Bill 2004, requesting an extension of the consultation period on the Bill.
The AICD understands that unlike the situation in Victoria, the Bill has not been formally introduced into the NSW Parliament.
The AICD has joined a group of concerned stakeholders including the Minerals Council of Australia which sponsored a detailed analysis of the Bill. The AICD will be closely monitoring developments in the NSW Parliament on the Bill.
Members of the AICD Law Committee, Tom Bostock, Professor Ian Ramsay and John Story have been appointed to the Companies Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board on a part-time basis.
The board is a disciplinary body which receives and reviews applications from ASIC or APRA about the conduct of registered company auditors or liquidators.
Under the CLERP 9 Act changes were made to the board's membership and operational capacity to allow for the appointment of a majority of non-accountants to sit on the board including the appointment of six representatives of the business community.
Reporting committee forum
More than 20 prominent Queensland directors attended a late afternoon forum in November.
The forum was an initiative of the Reporting Committee which was looking for a means of involving the broader AICD membership in policy development.
The forum, chaired by Reporting Committee chairman Michael Coleman listened to presentations from directors John Allpass, John Massey and John Story on current issues: the usefulness of financial statements, the transition to International Financial Reporting Standards and parent entity reporting.
The feedback from attendees at the forum was extremely positive. The AICD policy and advocacy team believes this type of forum is a valuable way of engaging AICD members who have views and issues they wish reflected in AICD policy but do not necessarily have the capacity to be a member of one of the AICD policy committees.
More forums are planned in other capital cities in 2005.
New Reporting Committee representatives
Rick Lee has replaced Geoff De Lacy as the NSW Division representative on the Reporting Committee Division. A former CEO of the NM Rothschild Australia Group, he is chairman of Salamat and a director of several other listed and unlisted companies.
Ian Fraser has replaced Marian Micalizzi as the Queensland division Reporting Committee representative. A retired partner of KPMG, he also holds several non-executive directorships.
The policy committee division council representatives act as a way of providing two way feedback between the various division councils and the policy committees.
Vote of thanks
While space precludes mentioning names, we would like to thank all policy committee members and the staff of the AICD's Policy and Advocacy department for their tireless efforts during another extremely busy year.
Without their hard work, AICD members' views and interests would not have been so thoroughly and effectively covered and advocated. On behalf of the AICD's membership, thank you and congratulations on another successfully completed year.
All AICD policies and submissions can be found at www.companydirectors.com.au under Policy and Information/Policy and Advocacy
If you wish to provide feedback, obtain further information or permission to reproduce this material please contact Rob Elliott, General Counsel Policy and Advocacy at email@example.com
FAQ of the month
As a non-executive director, am I entitled to obtain independent advice?
This depends on the agreement between you and your company and should be covered in your letter of appointment. Most boards have a policy permitting non-executive directors to obtain independent advice, the circumstances in which they are able to obtain this advice and who pays for it. All new directors should be advised about the board's policy.
It is also appropriate for a board to have mechanisms for prior request and approval, maximum expenditure limits, confidentiality and usage arrangements as part of the policy on obtaining independent advice.
The purpose of this database is to provide a full-text record of all articles that have appeared in the CDJ since February 1997. It is aimed to assist in the research and reference process. The database has a full-text index and will enable articles to be easily retrieved.It should be noted that information contained in this database is in pre-publication format only - IT IS NOT THE FINAL PRINTED VERSION OF THE CDJ - therefore there might be slight discrepancies between the contents of this database and the printed CDJ.
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