Page 2131 - Week 07 - Thursday, 29 June 2023

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These are some of the challenges that have been identified in the reviews. We have also taken a lot of work that has been undertaken throughout the HRIMS process forward into what will be a completely different direction in terms of upgrading the existing system. So a lot of the work that has been done on some of those business processes, and understanding the challenges and complexity of the people change elements of the project, will be utilised as part of the next stage, which is to upgrade the existing systems.

MR CAIN: Minister, what was this significant variation for?

MR STEEL: I will take that on notice.

MR PARTON: Minister, how many quotes were sourced prior to awarding this contract alluded to in the first question?

MR STEEL: I will take that on notice.

Government procurement—banking

MS CLAY: My question is for the Special Minister of State. Minister, Market Forces just released a report showing that Westpac loaned $8 billion to fossil fuel companies from 2016 to 2022 and has active loans with Whitehaven Coal, Woodside, Santos and the Pluto 2 LNG project, which is tied to Woodside’s new Scarborough gas field. I understand the ACT government banks with Westpac. Can you tell me how the ACT government considers the climate impact of banks when deciding the provider of government banking services?

MR BARR: The responsibility for the territory’s banking contract and the procurement of that sits with me as Treasurer. I can advise Ms Clay that there is an assessment of, amongst other things, the social outcomes and corporate social responsibility in a request for information from each of the banks that tendered for our business, and that forms part of our approach to market. The whole-of-government banking service contract is one that, in reality, there are only four banks in Australia that can compete for. There are only four banks in Australia that will provide the range of services that the government requires.

I do note from that Market Forces report—in the relatively short term from the graph I can see and in the reporting period over the longer term from Market Forces—that ANZ and NAB are Australia’s climate laggards, so they are the worst in terms of the banks under the criteria you assess, and that the Commonwealth Bank has improved recently, but Westpac generally was regarded, of the big four, as the one that had lent the most to renewable energy and the least to fossil fuels.

MS CLAY: Treasurer, why is it that no other bank, such as Bendigo Bank, would be able to take the government contract outside of those big four banks?

MR BARR: Because of the breadth of services that the ACT government requires. That we have a somewhat constrained level of competition within the Australian banking sector is a reflection on the size of our nation and the size of our economy.

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