KPMG Australia welcomed the opportunity today to provide additional information to the NSW Parliament’s Public Accountability Committee about our work advising NSW Government agencies on the Transport Asset Holding Entity (TAHE).

As we told the Committee today, we stand by our independent and objective advice to NSW Treasury and Transport for NSW.

  • In 2020, our CFO Advisory team was engaged by NSW Treasury to examine the reasonableness of the budget assumptions developed by Treasury in relation to TAHE. We considered existing facts against the requirements of the financial and budgetary reporting framework.
  • Separately, Transport for NSW engaged our Infrastructure and Projects practice to advise on a future long-term operating and financial model for TAHE over its first 10 years of operations.

There was no conflict in providing this advice to the two clients. They were two distinct and separate pieces of work looking at different issues, with different purposes, scopes, and objectives.

Commentary was made during today’s Committee hearing on the different budgetary projections in the two reports. It would be erroneous and misleading to compare and contrast the financial outcomes of the two reports from a budget perspective:

  • The report to Treasury was not designed to provide a forward view about TAHE’s financial impacts. It is a ‘point-in-time’ budgetary analysis and necessarily did not include longer-term considerations.
  • The separate operating and financial model report provided to Transport for NSW considers a scenario for a future TAHE operating model and related long-term financial model, essentially looking ahead over the next 10 years.

At all times, we have acted in an appropriate and ethical manner in providing independent advice to our clients on these matters. As we told the Committee today, there were no material changes made to our reports at any time during this process.

Subsequent internal reviews of our approach to these matters supported our risk management processes and determined the separate engagements with Treasury and Transport for NSW had different scopes, were for different purposes and were not in conflict with each other.

It is also important to note that KPMG has not, at any time, advocated a policy position with respect to TAHE. That rightly remains a decision for the NSW Government. Our role is to provide objective information and advice to the Government on TAHE matters and we continue to meet that need.

We fully support our people and firmly stand by the independent advice provided to Government on TAHE matters and will continue to engage in a constructive manner with the Committee on the Inquiry process.
 

KPMG’s submission to the Inquiry can be found in full here:
Inquiry into Transport Asset Holding Entity: KPMG Submission (PDF 347KB) – nsw.gov.au