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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 1881..


PUBLIC ACCOUNTS - STANDING COMMITTEE
Report on Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 6 of 1994-
Government Response

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (3.14): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the Government's response to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts Report No. 3 entitled "Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 6, 1994 - Various Agencies - Inter-Agency Charging, Management of Private Trust Funds" and move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Mr Speaker, I provide the Government response to Report No. 3 of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts presented in the Assembly on 4 May 1995. This report covers the Auditor-General's Report No. 6 of 1994, which examined the following areas of government administration: Interagency charging and the management of private trust moneys. May I say at the outset that, following our own review of financial policy, the Territory will operate with full accrual accounting and output-based budgeting for 1996-97. Additionally, all agencies will report on an accrual basis for their 1995-96 financial statements. This timeframe is both ambitious and achievable and will put the Territory at the forefront of financial management in Australia.

Mr Speaker, I believe that this Government's commitment to an accelerated timeframe for the introduction of accrual accounting and budgeting and the provision of a new financial management framework will ensure that remaining problems with interagency charging are dealt with in an efficient and timely fashion. Subject to the considerations of members, I anticipate that the new financial management legislation will be operational from 1 July 1996. This legislation will address the concerns raised in the Auditor-General's report on the legal framework for public moneys, proper procedures and controls, and appropriate instructions to officers. The legislation will restrict trust moneys to private moneys held on behalf of individuals and moneys that have yet to be identified.

I believe that the introduction of accrual accounting and budgeting will greatly improve the understanding and effectiveness of interagency charging arrangements. In particular, accrual and output budgeting will cause agencies to focus clearly on the cost, efficiency and effectiveness of the services that are being provided by supplier agencies. This is all part of our commitment to a more businesslike approach to management. The high level of attendance at recent accrual accounting workshops and the expansion of this training in the next few months indicate that understanding in the agencies has improved since the initial report and will improve further in the immediate future.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


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