28 Mar 2012

Minister, treasury to be questioned on deposit scheme

7:54 pm on 28 March 2012

Opposition MPs have formally requested that the Minister of Finance and treasury officials appear before a select committee to answer further questions about the Government's Retail Deposit Guarantee scheme.

The requests follow the office of the Auditor-General on Wednesday telling MPs it had found no evidence that Treasury formally notified the Government of the growing financial risks it faced in the early months of the scheme.

The Auditor-General was quizzed by MPs on Wednesday on its report into the Treasury's handling of the scheme which paid out $1.8 billion to investors of failed finance firms.

Deputy Auditor-General Philippa Smith told MPs at a select committee the Treasury achieved its first aim of implementing a scheme that prevented a run by investors on financial institutions.

However, Ms Smith says it failed to properly monitor how much risk the Government was taking on in the first few months of the scheme as investors flooded with cash to companies that later failed.

"Treasury was aware of the moral hazard it was creating by implementing the scheme, but we don't have evidence of what was reported to the minister."

An adviser to the Auditor-General, KPMG's Godfrey Boyce, says hundreds of millions of dollars flowed into the companies before the Treasury appointed its own advisers to them.

Labour MPs say the Minister of Finance should have asked more questions of the Treasury about the mounting financial risks to the Crown before that time.