Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 725..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
The quality of performance analysis ranges from being non-existent to very poor. The department and its related agencies seem to have taken a minimalist approach to accountability, paying scant attention to the requirements and guidance provided for in the Chief Minister's annual reporting directions issued under the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 1995 and the Financial Management Act. The Auditor-General's report of 4 March-
Mr Wood: This is all very general. You have no detail at all.
MR SPEAKER: Order!
Mr Wood: If there is criticism there should be some detail.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Wood, you can get to your feet later and speak on the matter.
MRS DUNNE: He can read the report. The report has been circulated.
MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, direct your comments through me to avoid interjections.
MRS DUNNE: I would encourage the minister to take his turn and comment on the report, seeing it has been circulated and published.
There are many guidelines on putting together an annual report and there are many instruments that bear on how you put together an annual report, including the Chief Minister's annual reports directions, the Financial Management Act, the Auditor-General's report of March 2003 about effectiveness of annual reporting and the previous recommendations made by committees about annual reports, specifically in 2001-2002.
It is interesting to find that, when taxed on some of these issues, some agencies, particularly the Kingston Foreshore Development Authority, were bold enough to tell the committee that they did not have to comply with the Chief Minister's directions for annual reports because they were not departments but agencies. As a result of that, we have recommended that the Chief Minister's directions on annual reports be amended to make it clear that agencies in portfolios are just as accountable as the head department.
The committee was hoping to find a rigorous and analytical discussion of performance reporting as part of the annual and financial reporting regime. The committee found that it would be difficult for any reader to obtain a well-analysed picture of strategic achievements, including any major political, economic, business or human resources challenges that confronted senior management, or to find out how well any challenges were handled, the impact of such matters on the overall health of the organisation and its businesses or any future challenges.
One thing that has been raised by this committee on previous occasions and was raised by the Auditor-General is that annual reporting should be warts and all reporting. When agencies fail to achieve things, that should be in the report. That is what open and accountable government is about.