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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (8 August) . . Page.. 2588..


Finance and Public Administration-Standing Committee

Public Accounts Committee Report No 25

MR QUINLAN (3.39): I present the following paper:

Finance and Public Administration-Standing Committee (incorporating the Public Accounts Committee)-Public Accounts Committee Report No 25-Review of Auditor-General's Report No 3, 1999-Annual management report for the year ended 30 June 1999, dated 3 August 2001, together with a copy of the extracts of the minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

First I will apologise to the house. This report fell through the cracks when we were changing secretary to the committee and should have been delivered to the Assembly some time earlier. The report is generally an innocuous report, delivered to you by the Auditor-General, on his activities. This particular report, though, contains responses by the Auditor-General to an independent audit of the Auditor-General's Office conducted by Audit Victoria.

Members will recall that at about the time this house was making noises requesting the Auditor-General to audit the Bruce Stadium redevelopment, the government had the coincident idea that the Auditor should be checked out. He must have been looking a bit too secure. So, at about the same time as we were looking to launch into an audit on the Bruce Stadium, the Auditor himself copped an audit-just to let him know he was alive.

In the main, the report of Audit Victoria verifies that the Auditor-General's Office here is operating effectively, efficiently and economically. It made quite a number of recommendations for how our audit could operate, and I think some of them were quite sound. I commend the original audit report and our report to the house. I won't go through these points item by item, save to say that many of the suggestions made by Audit Victoria suggested quite an amount of effort, which I do not think the ACT Auditor could absorb.

We have some diseconomies of scale in this town. We are a small jurisdiction. The audit office is not large, and I do not think that it can implement all of the procedures that are being implemented in the larger states. Audit Victoria seemed to be suggesting that we could. We have in the main come down on the side of the local Auditor-General, who has said that this might be asking too much and he is likely to be bureaucratically bound up in procedure rather than getting on with his job.

As chairman of the public accounts committee over the last three-plus years, I would like to make some comments about the operation of the Auditor because from time to time in this place his opinion is relied on quite heavily. I would refer members to the audit report on the redevelopment of Bruce Stadium. The comments and the conclusions that our Auditor-General could draw from that fiasco were still limited by the amount of information and documentation available. We all know from his own report that the


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