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NSWMA employee resigns amid probe into entity's exorbitant gas bill

Audley Gordon, responding to questions fielded by Parliament's PAAC members

At least one employee of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) has resigned since investigations were launched into the agency’s gas bill which now stands at $44 million.  
 
Audley Gordon, Executive Director of the NSWMA, told Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) on Wednesday that the agency budgeted $32 million this year to fuel its garbage trucks. However, it has already exceeded the amount by $12 million.  
  
The matter was raised by PAAC member Mikael Phillips who questioned why the figure was so high.

"We are concerned about the fuel usage, very concerned, and I will tell you it is concern at the level where we are even pursuing some audits internally. Since we began showing interest in this fuel usage, we have at least one major resignation already," Mr. Gordon told the committee.  

He said the preliminary results of the audit are to be submitted by next week.

Measures

Mr. Gordon said additional mechanisms are being put in place to reduce the agency's fuel bil.

"Where there were multiple functionaries fuelling trucks, we have literally disarmed all the cards and have fresh pins issued to a smaller number of people with set guidelines as to usage, as to record of usage, time of usage, signing of the receipt, user agreement... We're talking to the gas station owners. We are saying, based on the volume of business we do with you, assign one of your senior personnel to deal with our business, rather than just using your regular attendants because we believe based on preliminary (information) that there could be collusion between pump attendants and (others)," he detailed.

Too little funds

In the meantime, the NSWMA executive director said the state-run entity is in dire need of more funds to sufficiently carry out its duties.
   
He described the agency’s allocation of $3.1 billion as woefully inadequate and suggested that a figure of $6.8 billion would be more ideal to run an efficient garbage collection service and carry out all other duties at the NSWMA.
   
Mr. Gordon said the increase in funding would also assist the agency in improving the wages and benefits for staff members, including garbage collectors and street sweepers.



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