Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 4 Hansard (26 March) . .
The provision of meaningful operational and financial information by government to parliament and to the public is a fundamental component of the accountability process. On 25 September 2014 the Assembly resolved to refer the annual and financial reports of all the government agencies for the calendar year 2014 and the financial year 2013-14 to the relevant standing committees.
The annual and financial reports for 2013-14 or part thereof considered by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts as part of this inquiry were those of the ACT Auditor-General's Office; the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission; the ACT Insurance Authority, with the office of the Nominal Defendant as an annexed report; the Office of the Legislative Assembly; the ACT Ombudsman; ACTEW Corporation, which is now Icon Water; ACTTAB Ltd; the chief minister and treasury directorate, including the ACT executive as an annexed report; the Commerce and Works Directorate, which includes the ACT Government Procurement Board as an annexed report and the director of territory records as an annexed report; the Commissioner for Public Administration; the Economic Development Directorate; the Exhibition Park Corporation; and the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission. They also included the State of the service report.
The committee held public hearings on 6, 10, 11 and 12 November last year. At these public hearings the committee heard from ministers, accompanying directorate and agency officers, and members of governing boards. The committee thanks the directorate and agencies for providing responses to the questions taken on notice following its public hearings. This information assisted the committee in its understanding of the many issues it considered during the inquiry.
The committee examined the annual and financial reports in relation to their compliance, where relevant, with the following legislation: the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 2004, annual report directions for 2013-14, the Financial Management Act 1996, the Territory-owned Corporations Act 1990 and other requirements as raised in individual agency reports.
The annual report directions note that the annual reports, as key accountability documents, are one of the main ways for agencies to account for their performance through ministers to the Legislative Assembly and the wider community; a key part of the historical record of government and public administration decisions, actions and outcomes; a source of information and reference about the performance of agencies and service providers; and a key reference document for internal management.
In reporting, the committee considered the issues raised in the annual reports with regard to accountability, governance and effective reporting by public sector agencies. The committee's report includes discussion of significant issues raised during the inquiry and makes 16 recommendations. The recommendations come in two parts. Probably half of the recommendations are about making sure the directorates comply with the legislation and reporting requirements and good record keeping. The others cover a number of subjects, but recommendations 5, 6 and 7 particularly look at capital metro and its cost.
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