Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2308..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
However, the level of discretion sought by the former Auditor-General is in fact already provided under the legislation. The effect of the section is that the Auditor-General must not include sensitive information in a report if, in his opinion, it would to be contrary to the public interest. Therefore, if the Auditor-General does not believe it to be contrary to the public interest, such information could be included in a report to the Assembly. On this basis, the discretion sought by the former Auditor-General is already provided under the act and no amendment is necessary.
Turning to the other committee recommendations, the committee recommends that the Audit Office incorporates section 12 (2) of the Auditor-General Act into performance audits, and where this is not done, include reasons why within the report. This is a curious recommendation. Section 12 (2) of the Auditor-General Act states:
In the conduct of a performance audit, the auditor-general shall, where appropriate, take into account environmental issues relative to the operations being reviewed or examined, having regard to the principles of ecologically sustainable development.
Therefore, where appropriate, the Auditor-General is already required to incorporate that section into performance audits. The inclusion of reasons in the report where this is not done is a matter for the Audit Office.
The committee also recommends that the Audit Office resources be increased to take account of the aforementioned recommendation. The government does not agree with that recommendation. As I have stated, consideration of environmental issues in a performance audit is an existing requirement under the legislation. The government does not consider that the office's resources should be increased to fulfil an existing requirement.
Mr Speaker, I commend the government response to the Assembly.
Papers and statement by minister
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the following papers:
Public Sector Management Act-
Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Appointment of Ministers Notice 2004 (No 1)-Notifiable Instrument NI2004-157 (S2, dated 26 May 2004).
Administrative Arrangements 2004 (No 3)-Notifiable Instrument NI2004-163 (S3, dated 28 May 2004).
I ask for leave to make a statement.