Mount Buller chief quits after taxpayer-funded rorts scandal

SNOW FIELDS FOR ALL: Ombudsman Deborah Glass said "Mount Buller is no one's personal playground". Picture: GETTY IMAGES

SNOW FIELDS FOR ALL: Ombudsman Deborah Glass said "Mount Buller is no one's personal playground". Picture: GETTY IMAGES

The boss of one of Victoria's top ski resorts has resigned after a damning report found he was part of a management board that used the public purse to create a "personal playground".

Mount Buller and Mount Stirling Resort chief executive John Huber quit this week, less than a month after Ombudsman Deborah Glass found that he and some other senior officials rorted more than $85,000 worth of taxpayer funds on international family travel, entertainment, staff prizes and lucrative bonuses.

According to a report handed down last month, Mr Huber used public funds to fly himself and his family to the United States for what was primarily a holiday, spending most of his time at a family lake house in New York State.

He did not attend ski conventions on behalf of the resort, and claimed that so-called "research and development" provisions in his contract existed to allow him to regularly travel "to the US for holidays".

"The remuneration I receive as the CEO falls short of the remuneration I could command elsewhere," he told the Ombudsman's office in response to a draft copy of the report.

Mr Huber did not return calls from The Age on Friday, and a spokeswoman from the alpine resort said management had no comment at this stage.

But in the wake of the findings, all members of the board had been asked to "show cause" as to why they should not be sacked, with the Andrews government now examining a new governance model for the alpine sector.

"Victoria's alpine resorts are important for tourism and important for jobs – we want to see them continue to flourish," Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio told Fairfax Media. 

"The board is under no illusions about my expectations for good and proper governance moving forward."

The CEO's departure comes after chairwoman Jennifer Hutchison was also forced to resign a few weeks ago, with the Ombudsman finding she lived at the publicly-owned resort during the 2014 ski season and entertained family and friends for free.

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