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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 6 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1816..

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Auditor-General Amendment Bill 2014

Ms Gallagher, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (10.19): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to table the Auditor-General Amendment Bill 2014 and its explanatory statement. The bill clarifies consultation requirements for the Auditor-General, established by the Auditor-General Amendment Act 2013. Under the renewed provisions, the Auditor-General must consult auditees on certain reports that are to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly. This bill clarifies and refines two elements of these provisions.

Under changes made by the Auditor-General Amendment Act 2013, when consulting on drafts of these Assembly reports, the Auditor-General must give parties at least 14 days to comment. This 14-day requirement, however, currently applies every time the Auditor-General consults on a draft report, whether it is a whole report or part of a report. It is normal practice for the Auditor-General to consult iteratively on the text of a report. This improves the accuracy and appropriateness of the final report. It is neither feasible nor necessary to provide 14 days to comment for each consultation. Sometimes the Auditor-General may only be consulting on a single paragraph from a draft report. To safeguard the Auditor-General's ongoing productivity, this new bill makes clear the 14-day provision applies only to one of the drafts provided to auditees for consultation.

The bill further clarifies that when consulting an organisation the Auditor-General only needs to provide those parts of the draft report which are relevant to that organisation. This is particularly relevant in reports of audits which cover several organisations. In these cases there may be probity reasons for not sending organisation parts of a report which are not relevant to it.

In summary, the Auditor-General Amendment Bill 2014 clarifies and builds on the important changes to the Auditor-General Act passed last year. These changes support the Auditor-General's office carrying out its essential work in an efficient and productive way whilst ensuring auditees and other interested parties are adequately consulted and I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.

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