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  1. #1
    Mid
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    Australia : Thai venture goes to water

    Thai venture goes to water
    HEATH ASTON BANGKOK
    July 11, 2010

    SYDNEY WATER executives have spent a total of 28 days in Thailand over the past two years on taxpayer-funded business trips to oversee the affairs of an obscure subsidiary Sydney Water owns with a former CIA agent from the Vietnam War.

    One Sydney Water manager took a seven-day trip to Bangkok last year for a 40-minute board meeting.

    The Sun-Herald has obtained documents relating to Australian Water Technologies International (Thailand), or AWTI. There is no suggestion any Sydney Water officials have broken its rules but the NSW opposition says these documents raise questions about why this system even exists.

    Yesterday the opposition branded AWTI, which is 49 per cent-owned by the NSW taxpayer via Sydney Water and its subsidiary AWT, a ''plaything for friends of the state government'', describing its very existence as an ''indulgence''.

    AWTI, which provides expertise on projects in Thailand, has earned an average of $185,000 over three years. The company is minuscule in comparison to Sydney Water's multibillion-dollar operations but draws a comparatively high level of executive attention.

    Trevor Matthews spent seven days in Bangkok in June last year to attend a board meeting that lasted 40 minutes, according to documents seen by The Sun-Herald. He flew to Bangkok twice in 2008, for a week-long visit in June and a nine-day trip in August.

    Last night, Sydney Water confirmed the trips took place but could not specify any other work carried out apart from board meetings involving Barry Petersen, an Australian who has lived mostly in Bangkok since his days as a covert commando in Vietnam came to an end.

    Mr Matthews was accompanied by his wife on one of his three trips, but the $30,000 spent on his travel did not include her travel expenses.

    Sydney Water said Thai authorities insisted board meetings be conducted face-to-face but the 2010 board meeting, held 12 days ago, was conducted by telephone link.

    ''The decision to hold a telephone conference this time around was made because of recent civil unrest in Bangkok,'' the spokesman said. ''In the circumstances, it was considered unsafe for Mr Matthews to travel to Bangkok or for [Mr Petersen's business partner Sonthaya] Suwan to travel to Sydney.''

    Sydney Water head of finance Alan Ramsey, who is paid $321,000 a year - $210,00 more than AWTI's total 2009 profit - spent four days in Bangkok in June last year. His trip was referred to in Sydney Water's 2009 annual report as having been to ''arrange the sale of AWTI''.

    Sydney Water has confirmed it is still trying to sell the business. Market sources in Bangkok suggest a consortium of shareholders behind a local company called Universal Utilities is in protracted negotiations to buy it.

    ''We wish to focus on domestic business activities only,'' the Sydney Water spokesman said.

    He also confirmed AWTI lost $200,000 when a Thai company collapsed after a corruption scandal involving the massive Klong Dan waste water project.

    Documents show AWTI's book value is $30,000. Sydney Water chief Kerry Schott is listed as a shareholder.

    Opposition intergovernmental relations spokesman Chris Hartcher said the public service had been debauched under Labor.

    smh.com.au


  2. #2
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    Why would a public utility company get involved in setting up companies overseas?



  3. #3
    Thaiguy
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog View Post
    Why would a public utility company get involved in setting up companies overseas?


    Mate , damned if I know and yours is a very good question?
    I love Australia but it is so stuffed up now and without any good political leadership ( wouldn't feed either of the major parties at the moment) that I truly fear for its future.
    Next I expect we'll have a republic with a Moslem president? - halleluyah allah be praised.

  4. #4
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    yeah but to risk tax payers money on overseas ventures seems a bit strange, most public utility companies can't make a profit in their own country and are badly run and waste tonnes of money, so why invest money in a country that they can't even speak or read the language, seems strange.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat ossierob's Avatar
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    rumpy pumpy pumpy for exec's with noses in troughs under the guise of a business trip ...sneak sneak -- pump pump then slink back home to the wife...

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog View Post
    Why would a public utility company get involved in setting up companies overseas?



  6. #6
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    Anyone know Barry peterson ??

  7. #7
    I am in Jail
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    looks like it was a good cover for whoring trips, nothing wrong with that

  8. #8
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    ^ And 30,000.00 dollars worth over the course of 2 weeks.

    Must of been a bit of bell ringing.

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