Some contracts that allowed five Hydro Tasmania executives to walk away with a total of $2.9 million in payouts in the past two years are no longer used in the public sector, the organisation's chair has confirmed.
Former Hydro chief executive Evangelista Albertini also received a $475,000 payout when he resigned after a year in the role in September, including $197,000 paid "in lieu" for a six-month notice period he did not fully complete. He worked for Hydro for about 20 years.
The payouts were investigated as part of a Legislative Council government business enterprise hearing on Thursday.
Mr Evangelista resigned "for personal reasons", and Hydro chair Grant Every-Burns said it was a "normal arrangement" for him to receive the in lieu payment.
"In terms of how much of a notice period you work out, I applied my judgement to that," he said.
When questioned by Labor's Sarah Lovell about why Hydro had paid out the notice period when Mr Evangelista resigned himself - rather than was terminated - Mr Every-Burns said it was "the nature of the contract".
"That's the advice that I have," he said.
Former chief operations officer Gerard Flack received a $965,000 payout, of which $711,000 was redundancy entitlements and $214,000 was for untaken leave, having worked for Hydro for 34 years.
Steve Davy - who stepped down as chief executive in March 2020 and was replaced by Mr Albertini in 2020 - received a $669,000 payout, including $477,000 from a condition of his contract for non-renewal, according to Hydro chair Grant Every-Burns.
"If a contract wasn't renewed, then that kicked in, that was a condition of contract that actually travelled through the contract," he said.
Mr Every-Burns said there was "a lot of to-ing and fro-ing" to secure Mr Davy as chief executive at the time of his appointment in 2013, including Mr Davy's concern that his carry-through entitlements from his previous positions in Hydro could be lost.
Mr Every-Burns said these types of contractual conditions were no longer used in the public service.
"They're not uncommon in industry, and they're certainly not uncommon if you go back a decade," he said.
"I actually later understood the logic of this one, but it was not known to me even at the time I became chairman."
The contract was negotiated at a time when David Crean was Hydro chair under a Labor government, Resources Minister Guy Barnett pointed out.
Former chief strategy officer Andrew Catchpole received a $542,000 payout after working with Hydro for 20 years. Of this, $439,000 was in redundancy pay and about $75,000 in untaken leave.
But Mr Every-Burns said he did not have the detail of the remaining $28,000.
Former chief people officer Robert Tanti received a $207,000 payout after being at Hydro for three years, including a $56,000 payment "to close that arrangement" as his role had been made redundant.
The chief people officer role no longer exists.
Labor energy spokesperson Dean Winter was critical of the payouts and had been demanding an explanation, given it was public money.
"It's just a disgrace that these excessive amounts are being paid out to an elite group of executives just for exiting this organisation," he said.
Mr Barnett said generous remuneration was often required to "attract competent, capable and experienced people to Hydro Tasmania".
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