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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 6 Hansard (9 June) . .

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ACT Audit Office—independent auditor

Statement by Speaker

MADAM SPEAKER: Before I call the minister, I have a couple of matters to deal with. Pursuant to section 31 of the Auditor-General Act 1996 I have, on behalf of the territory, engaged an appropriately qualified person to be the independent auditor of the ACT Audit Office. This appointment was made under a services agreement, which requires the independent auditor to conduct an independent financial audit of the Auditor-General and to exercise functions that are required under the Financial Management Act 1996.

The independent auditor is Charterpoint Pty Ltd, a local business services firm. The firm has extensive auditing experience involving a wide range of commonwealth government departments and agencies as well as private sector profit and not-for-profit organisations. The appointment was made following a competitive selection process and after consultation with the Deputy Speaker.

In a moment I will present formally a copy of the services agreement I have entered into today on behalf of the territory with Charterpoint. I am doing so because there is no other mechanism for me to have such an agreement placed on the public record, as it does not fit the procurement guidelines for posting on their website.

I would like to place on the record my appreciation to the previous independent auditor, PKF Di Bartolo Diamond & Mihailaros. In following the procurement process for the new auditor and in consultation with the Deputy Speaker, I decided not to invite PKF to submit a quotation because they had undertaken the independent audit role for almost a decade.

In making that decision, there was no suggestion that PKF had not performed its role in anything other than an exemplary manner. However, as a general matter of principle, periodically seeking to vary the provider of these particular services has the potential to maintain the Assembly's confidence in the independence of the function.

Having said that, there was some difficulty in finding a suitable replacement only because many of the eligible local firms either have or have had an involvement with the Audit Office and so could have had an actual or perceived conflict of interest. The due diligence required in the procurement process having been undertaken, I am satisfied that Charterpoint has no actual or perceived conflict of interest.

The Assembly's Director of Governance and Communications, Mr David Skinner, has taken the lead in this process and I thank him for his professional and pragmatic approach. Members, I present the following paper:

Independent Auditor of the Auditor-General—Appointment—Copy of Services Agreement between the Australian Capital Territory and Charterpoint Pty Ltd, dated 9 June 2016.

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