AGL admits to errors over donations for Gloucester project

AGL has admitted it made errors when reporting donations to political parties in NSW in the lead up to the approval of the Gloucester Gas Project.

AGL says an auditors report has found some discrepancies in relation to political donations the company made as part of the planning process in the lead up to approval of stage one of the Gloucester Gas Project.

AGL says an auditors report has found some discrepancies in relation to political donations the company made as part of the planning process in the lead up to approval of stage one of the Gloucester Gas Project.

A Fairfax Media report earlier this week suggested AGL Energy Limited had not fully complied with legal obligations to report to the Department of Planning and Environment political donations made while the planning application in respect of stage one of the Gloucester Gas Project was awaiting approval.

AGL engaged its external auditors Deloitte to conduct a review of disclosures made by AGL in relation to its political donations since 2007.

The company also sought legal advice regarding its reporting obligations in relation to stage one of the Gloucester Gas Project.

AGL said the Deloitte report, which can be found on the company website here, had found two instances of political donations, totalling $250, that were not reported correctly in relation to stage one of the project.

The company said legal advice sought after the Fairfax report had implied that, in relation to the planning application in respect of stage one of the Gloucester Gas Project, AGL did not have any obligation to report political donations to the Department.

“This is because the obligation to report under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act does not apply to planning applications made before October 1, 2008,” a company spokeswoman said.

“The planning application for stage one of the Gloucester Gas Project was made on August 6, 2008 and determined by the independent Planning Assessment Commission.”

“The reporting obligations under the EPA Act do however apply in relation to other planning applications made by AGL, including the application in respect of the Gloucester Gas Project Pipeline Modification.”

Deloitte found three political donations made during the application for modifications to the Gloucester Gas Project Pipeline - totalling $11,000 - were reported, but not within seven days of each donation being made as now required under the ACT.

AGL said if, contrary to the legal advice it had received, the company did have reporting obligations while the planning for stage one of the Gloucester Project was underway, 14 donations totalling $52,400 were not reported within seven days of each donation being made.

AGL said as a consequence of the review work undertaken by Deloitte, the company was separately determining whether, and the extent to which, reporting obligations in relation to other planning applications it had made may not have been complied with.

“The review undertaken by Deloitte has highlighted some deficiencies in AGL’s processes for making, recording and reporting on a timely and consistent basis details of political donations made by AGL,” the spokeswoman said.

“AGL will co-operate fully with the Department to identify any and all breaches of its reporting obligations.  Measures to improve internal controls and compliance in respect of political donations will be implemented.”

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