Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4397..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
This report is essential to the annual report of the office of the Auditor-General. The committee wishes to thank the Auditor-General and his staff for their work and wishes to make no further comment.
Statement by chair
MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, pursuant to standing order 246A, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts has resolved that I make the following statement regarding the Auditor-General's Report No 9 of 2001, entitled Financial administration and training grants program. I ask for leave to table the statement.
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I present the following paper:
Public Accounts-Standing Committee-Auditor-General's Report No 9 of 2001-Financial Administration of Training Grant Program-Statement by Chair, dated 6 December 2002.
The Public Accounts Committee has considered the Auditor-General's Report No 9 of 2001. The committee notes that the Auditor-General found that a significant amount of expenditure relating to the training grant program had been incorrectly charged, and that proper and adequate books of account for expenditure relating to the program had not been kept.
The committee also notes that the Auditor-General found that there were people who were both members of the ACT Agents Board and directors of the Real Estate Institute of the ACT. Those people did not formally disclose their directorship of the Real Estate Institute at a meeting of the ACT Agents Board. This created a possible conflict of interest situation, but the Auditor-General found the Agents Act 1968 inadequate to address such matters. The committee notes the government's advice that conflict of interest provisions in the Agents Act 1968 have been amended to provide for more appropriate methods of addressing conflicts of interest.
Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 2.30 pm.
Matter of public importance
MR SPEAKER: Before we proceed to questions without notice, members would be aware that there is a matter of public importance listed for today which concerns a matter raised in the Auditor-General's report presented yesterday. That report, upon presentation, was automatically referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
As the report stands referred to a committee for inquiry and report, it could be argued that there should be no reference in the Assembly to its content until the committee has reported. Should the Assembly follow this practice, especially in relation to reports of this nature from the Auditor-General, comment on matters in the public interest would be unnecessarily stifled. Can I ask members to bear in mind the fact that the committee may be inquiring into the report and not to refer to proceedings of the committee which have not been reported to the Assembly.