Opposition Leader Shane Love has said the most recent leadership change at the embattled Perth Mint comes at a time when the State-owned entity is navigating its way through a sea of issues.
Mr Love said the resignation of the Perth Mint CEO will add to uncertainty over the Mint’s future with today’s announcement following the resignation of Premier and Treasurer Mark McGowan yesterday.
“Today’s announcement of the resignation of Perth Mint CEO will potentially affect the ability of the organisation to respond to the raft of investigations and issues it faces,” Mr Love said.
“We have also today seen Crown Resorts and AUSTRAC agree to a $450 million penalty over historical breaches of our nation’s anti-money laundering laws at its Melbourne and Perth casinos.
“The ongoing AUSTRAC investigations represent a huge financial risk to Perth Mint and if it is found to have breached anti-money laundering laws, it will be the West Australian taxpayers who will be on the hook to pay up.”
“The pressure will now intensify even further for Mines Minister Bill Johnston, should he remain in that position, to ensure the path ahead for the Mint will not put WA’s taxpayers at any further risk.”
Mr Love said the shock resignation comes amid the Department of Treasury undertaking a process of engaging a commercial advisor to consider options available to manage the State’s risk in relation to Gold Corporation – the body which owns and operates the Mint.
“This Treasury’s appointed advisor will be conducting the review as the State awaits the findings of an AUSTRAC investigation by an external auditor,” Mr Love said.
“Last week in Senate Budget Estimates it was revealed AUSTRAC had been given an extension of time to complete their investigation, citing the Mint’s poor record-keeping as the source of delay.
“Mr Waters departure also comes at a time where the Perth Mint is engaging with up to 22 separate US State regulators over its alleged breaches of US Model State Commodity Code, a situation made worse by the then board deciding to continue operating.”
“At a time when the Perth Mint needs stability, a change in CEO will undoubtedly be destabilising.”