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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 1728..


PUBLIC ACCOUNTS - STANDING COMMITTEE
Report on Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 11 of 1993 -
Government Response

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (3.18): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the Government's response to Report No. 14 of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts entitled "Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 11, 1993 - Financial Audits with Years Ending to 30 June 1993", which was presented to the Second Assembly on 22 September 1994. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

In September 1994 the Standing Committee on Public Accounts presented to the Assembly its Report No. 14, Financial Audits with Years Ending to 30 June 1993. This report covers the Auditor-General's Report No. 11 of 1993 on financial audits for the year ending on 30 June 1993. The PAC recognised that many of the significant issues raised in the Auditor-General's report had been addressed in the intervening period between the Auditor-General's report and its report. However, the PAC report requested that the Government provide a response to the Assembly on a number of issues.

The Government has given careful consideration to the recommendations of both the Auditor-General and the Public Accounts Committee, and I will respond to each of the areas mentioned in turn. The first is the scope for significant improvement in financial reporting and control. Members will be aware that in previous reports both the Auditor-General and the PAC have acknowledged the significant progress that has been made since self-government in financial reporting and control. This includes both full accrual reporting of all commercial and some non-commercial entities and the significant audited supplementary information provided in the unitary financial statements. The Government is committed to responsible financial management and a more businesslike approach to management of departments and agencies. Further reforms include the introduction of accrual accounting, new financial management legislation, and accountability for the efficient production of goods and services.

The second issue raised by the report was the unspent funds for the national industry extension service program. Whereas the expenditure and the balance of the trust fund at the end of the financial year are important considerations, so is the level of outstanding commitment. The total balance of just over $1m in the trust fund at the commencement of the 1993-94 financial year included commitments of $440,000. It was felt that that was an appropriate balance.

The next issue was ACT Housing's reduced cash surpluses. I direct members to the Government's response on this issue for a detailed description of remedial action. ACT Electricity and Water Authority issues were raised. The issues raised by the PAC will be addressed in ACTEW's statement of corporate intent, which will be tabled in this Assembly in early 1996.


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