Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Godwin Grech finding, from the Audit Office

It's here:

Representations to the Department of the Treasury in Relation to Motor Dealer Financing Arrangements

And it looks bad for the Treasury.

From the Auditor General:

"Treasury’s response to the various representations varied markedly,
from not responding to the representation to providing extensive,
ongoing assistance to aid the dealer secure ongoing wholesale floorplan

"The under‐resourcing of the implementation phase of the policy placed
at risk the anticipated policy outcomes. It also placed a considerable workload
on Mr Godwin Grech, the Treasury official primarily responsible for the
development and implementation of the policy measure, particularly in light
of his medical condition."

From Goodwin Grech, in comments:

"I did raise resourcing issues with Treasury Deputy
Secretary, Mr Jim Murphy on a number of occasions – both in mid to late
December 2008 and again in early January 2009. I was told that options would
be explored – but nothing happened. Indeed, the overall resource effort
diminished especially after the 5 December 2008 public launch of OzCar by the
Prime Minister and Treasurer in Sydney.

"In addition to the very significant work load pressures
that were placed on me, it was well known to senior Treasury management,
including Dr Ken Henry, the relevant Deputy Secretary, Mr Jim Murphy, and
the relevant immediate supervisor, Mr David Martine, that I was physically
impaired and suffered from a complex array of serious medical conditions.
This included the loss of my colon, advanced dysmotility and malrotation of
my small bowel that resulted in 7 small bowel obstructions since March 2005.
Treasury management were aware that I had a near fatal episode in late 2006
when a blockage resulted in an intestinal haemorrhage which led to
septicaemia and acute renal failure. I never fully recovered from this episode
having since developed stage 3 chronic kidney disease and metabolic bone
disease including osteoporosis. I have suffered a further 3 small bowel
obstructions since the near fatal 2006 episode – the most recent in February
2009. Treasury is aware of all of this and was at the time.

Unbeknown to Treasury management – or to me – I was also suffering from
chronic clinical depression which doctors believe has been present and
untreated for some years.

Given this complex medical condition, and the stark reminder of my
vulnerability following my hospitalisation in both February and March 2009,
senior Treasury management could – and I say should‐ have taken action to
ensure that I got the support that I needed. This did not happen...

"The dealer would ring me, 3, 4 or more times a day as Treasury phone records
and my personal assistant Ms Rose Moulis and my supervisor, Mr David
Martine should confirm. The dealer would be highly emotional and
threatened suicide on more than one occasion. I reported this to my
supervisors and the Treasurer’s Office, but got no help.

The dealer’s [parent] also spoke with me pleading with me to save [their child],
the grandchildren and the family. I also reported this to Mr Martine and Mr
Murphy. Again, I received no assistance.

"I was in an impossible situation, and undertook to both the dealer and [the
dealer principal’s] [parent] that I would explore all options as long as they
assured him of their safety.

I lacked any training in handling human crisis situations of this type. I used
whatever leverage I could think of so as to avoid the possible loss of life. This
was not normal Treasury policy work...