Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 18 October 2022) . . Page.. 3188 ..
determining factors of promotion, participation, equality and access for all Canberrans. I commend this part of the budget appropriation to the Assembly.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Major Projects Canberra—Part 1.9
MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (11.40): I raise two very serious points in this part of the debate. In the budget estimates hearings in August, I asked a serious question of the Director-General of Major Projects Canberra about his obligation to report maladministration and corrupt or fraudulent conduct per part 2, division 2.1, section 9 of the Public Sector Management Act. This question was taken on notice.
Making a report under the Public Sector Management Act would be a meaningful and very serious thing to do—surely not something that you would forget—but my question was immediately taken on notice. There is no doubt that there could only be two reasons for that. The first is that so many reports have been made to the Head of Service that he could not possibly remember how many there had been. If that was the case, there would be some very important follow-up questions to be answered about what was going on at Major Projects Canberra. The second is that there had never been a report under the act—which, quite frankly, is extraordinary—and they did not want to say that during the hearing because that would raise further serious questions. Now, as we know from the answers provided after the hearing, it was the second scenario that happened.
The reason I specifically asked about any reports regarding maladministration, corruption or fraud is that there were clearly some serious and significant irregularities with the Campbell Primary School modernisation project tender process, which MPC was involved in. As we know, this specific procurement has been absolutely slammed by the Auditor-General, who said the procurement “lacked probity” and that “tenderers were not dealt with fairly, impartially and consistently”. Whilst MPC tried to deflect and say that this was an Education Directorate project, the Auditor-General also noted:
Officers within Major Projects Canberra were responsible for issuing the procurement documentation, receiving supplier responses and managing communication with the tenderers. Officers from Major Projects Canberra also chaired the tender evaluation teams.
There was clearly an obligation, a responsibility, and a duty on the part of Major Projects Canberra when it came to this project. And there was clearly an oversight on the reporting obligations under the Public Sector Management Act. This scathing Auditor-General’s report led to a remarkable public statement by the Integrity Commissioner of the ACT that these types of issues are rarely a one-off and that they are more likely to be endemic across the entire ACT government.
The second issue I raise is the concerning results of the staff survey as part of a broader whole-of-ACT PS survey done in 2021, where four per cent of MPC employees said they had witnessed corruption in the workplace. That is about nine or