Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 June 2010) . . Page.. 2740 ..

sequence of audits in a specific area—things like the delivery of capital works; things like elective surgery waiting lists; things that are constantly brought to the attention of members or are of concern to the public. The audit office cannot do that. So currently we are doing between six or seven audits a year. Ideally, what we would like to get up to are probably 12, 13 or 14 audits a year. The average cost of a performance audit, the auditor has told PAC and other places, I believe, is somewhere in the vicinity of $170,000 to $200,000.

No-one is suggesting that the Auditor-General should get all the money straight up; that we just suddenly lash out and say: “Auditor-General, you are special. You can have the extra money.” (1), the auditor has said she does not have the staff to be able to do that, but, (2), it takes time to build up the capacity. There are a number of reasonable recommendations in the dissenting report, starting at about page 110. Recommendation 1:

It is recommended that the ACT Legislative Assembly approve the annual appropriation for the ACT Auditor-General.

As we can see from this budget, she is not going to get from this government the assistance that she needs to do the job properly on behalf of the people of the ACT. So it is quite reasonable then that that appropriation come back to this Assembly. Indeed, Bob Sendt said in his report that it is up to the elected representatives to set the budget. The next recommendation says:

It is recommended that funding be appropriated to the ACT Auditor-General such that, by 2012-13, the budget of the Office is funded to the extent of 50 per cent from fees for financial audits and 50 per cent from an annual appropriation.

Then the final recommendation is:

It is recommended that, by 2013-14, the appropriation provided to the ACT Auditor-General be sufficient to enable a minimum of 12 performance audits to be conducted each year.

Given the size of the growth of functions that the ACT government covers, both at the territory level and at the municipal level, given the complexity of the delivery of a number of those programs, it is not inappropriate for the auditor to be doing a minimum of 12 performance audits a year. I think it is important that they are done. It is important that the capacity for follow-up is given. It is important that the office actually have a structure that enables it to keep staff, because there are very strong competing issues in the ACT for staff. Financial staff of this nature are a very important commodity, so it is important that we adequately fund them.

The budget this year is inadequate. It does not allow for growth for the performance audits, certainly. It does not open the government up to scrutiny. We remember that back in 2001 the catchcry of Mr Stanhope then was “more honest, more open, more accountable”. That finished in October 2001—because the government has not been honest, open or accountable since.

I would have no difficulty in supporting the increase in funding for the Auditor-General. It is a shame that it has not happened in this budget. We could just

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video