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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2327..


MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Pratt!

MR CORBELL: The outcome of that is that legacy projects such as FireLink have now been addressed. Detailed internal investigations have been undertaken. The Auditor-General's report confirms the findings of those investigations. It confirms and vindicates the government's decision not to proceed any further with this technology and to put in place appropriate governance arrangements to ensure that these problems do not occur again. That is the responsibility I take, Mr Speaker.

Emergency services—projects

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Can the minister advise the Assembly of the measures in place to ensure the effective financial management of projects and activities in the ACT Emergency Services Agency?

MR CORBELL: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. This really is at the heart of the question. It is in many ways related to the question Mr Stefaniak just asked me. The key requirements that the government has put in place following the 2006 budget are in effect a pre-emption of all the recommendations that the Auditor-General has made, in particular the issues around the management of these projects through the cabinet process.

In the middle of last year, following the 2006 budget, the government made explicit its decisions about how major IT projects were to be managed. The recommendations that the Auditor-General makes—such as putting in place detailed business case analysis and justification, appropriate processes for tendering and so on—have already been implemented by the cabinet through its decisions following last year's functional review. We took the very deliberate decision that coherent and coordinated oversight of these projects was required. We have put that into place.

The other very important reform—and one that those on the other side of the house simply will not accept, even when the evidence is in black and white from the Auditor-General—is that you need appropriate governance of the management of our emergency services. I am very pleased that our new commissioner, Mr Manson, has taken this task very much as a first priority. He is achieving excellent outcomes. He has put in place comprehensive reviews of all the IT projects within ESA. His reviews and the reviews commissioned through the justice and community safety portfolio identify all the issues raised by the Auditor-General.

We have implemented those reviews and their recommendations, so much so that the government can and does agree with all six of the recommendations made by the Auditor-General. We have already identified these problems and acted on them. It is a strong endorsement of the government's position—of the steps that the government has taken—that the Auditor recognises these, recommends that they should be done, and that we are in a position to say that we agree and they have been done.

The real challenge for the Liberal Party in this is to recognise that their critique about shifting the authority back to the agency is fundamentally flawed. It is fundamentally


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