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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 11 Hansard (6 November) . . Page.. 3699..


PUBLIC ACCOUNTS - STANDING COMMITTEE
Report on Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 10 of 1996

MR WHITECROSS (11.26): Mr Speaker, I present Report No. 30 of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled "Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 10, 1996 - Implementation of 1994 Housing Review", together with extracts of the minutes of proceedings. This report was provided to the Speaker for circulation on Wednesday, 22 October 1997, pursuant to the resolution of the Assembly of 25 September 1997. I move:

That the report be noted.

The committee's report was circulated on 22 October by the authority of the Speaker in accordance with the resolution of the Assembly. The audit assessed the extent to which the recommendations of the 1994 housing review were accepted and implemented and, if implemented, whether they had achieved expected outcomes. The audit also reviewed the methods used to manage and monitor implementation of review recommendations. The audit found that the review recommendations were accepted by ACT Housing but that implementation had been mixed, there had been little or no progress in some areas and, given the importance of the review and its cost - more than $200,000 - greater progress should have been achieved. Following approaches to the Minister, the committee was advised that the Government had initiated a further review of housing in 1996-97 in the context of changes to the delivery of housing assistance. This review covered issues such as purchaser-provider arrangements between the Department of Urban Services and ACT Housing, with public housing services divided into separate property and tenancy businesses, contracting with community organisations for special needs housing, and the future of loans functions.

The committee's report comments on the later review findings in some detail and notes that delays have at least allowed remedial work to be undertaken within ACT Housing to address shortcomings identified in implementing key strategies of the 1994 review. The Government has yet to indicate the outcomes achieved from the 1994 review or its response to the 1996-97 review. Accordingly, the committee has recommended that the Government inform the Assembly by 9 December 1997 on the 1994 review outcomes and the reasons for non-implementation of recommendations by the 1994 review and the 1996-97 review, and has further recommended that the Assembly be informed on several subsidiary matters, including the outcome of the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement negotiations, the implications for the ACT's future housing assistance responsibilities, and ACT Housing guidelines for strategic and business planning frameworks.

Mr Speaker, the committee's handling of this matter has been greatly impeded by the extensive delays by the Minister in responding to the Auditor's report while he conducted the further review. The committee is disappointed that we have not as yet had any report in relation to outcomes of the 1994 review, or even whether the Government plans to adopt and implement the recommendations of the 1996-97 review, which is the reason for that recommendation. I commend the report to the Assembly and look forward to the Government's response.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak) adjourned.


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