On 19 May 2022, the Queensland Audit Office (QAO) tabled its insights report into appointing and renewing government boards in Queensland (Report 17: 2021-22).
The report makes recommendations regarding board appointment processes, evaluation of board performance, and greater diversity of appointees to board.
The report also highlights gaps in skillsets and training provided to government board appointees. The QAO has found that that, at present, only one-third of directors on government boards have completed a board governance course, and that the suite of guidance currently provided to government board appointees has not been updated since 2012.
The current guide for members of Queensland Government Boards, Committees and Statutory authorities titled ‘Welcome Aboard’ provides that ‘over and above the duties and obligations placed upon their private sector counterparts, members of Government Boards assume a public trust and confidence by virtue of their role in public administration.’
The report also highlights the importance of effectively identifying and managing conflicts of interest. Directors have a duty to recognise conflicts of interest, and failure to do so can lead to sudden and unnecessary board vacancies.
The principles underpinning the report apply more broadly and should be considered beyond government board appointments and act as a timely reminder of the importance of good corporate governance across all sectors.
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Angela Szczepanski, Director