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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 February 2011) . . Page.. 4 ..

I move:

That the report be noted.

First off, I would like, of course, to thank the committee secretariat, Andrea Cullen, and my fellow committee members, Mr Smyth and Mr Hargreaves, for their support of report No 14 of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts—Interim report—Review of Auditor-General’s Report No 6 of 2009: Government office accommodation.

The Auditor-General’s report presented the results of a performance audit that reviewed whether ACT office accommodation had been strategically managed in an efficient and effective manner. The audit specifically focused on strategic planning and management processes and compliance with the requirements specified in the whole-of-government accommodation strategy.

The public accounts committee resolved to inquire further into the Auditor-General’s report on the basis that, firstly, the management and delivery of government office accommodation is an important public sector issue. In some jurisdictions government office accommodation is the second highest recurrent cost component for government agencies and departments after employee costs.

Government office accommodation can make a key contribution to the successful achievement of government objectives. In particular I mean environmental and social objectives, and the efficient and effective delivery of government services to the community. Government office accommodation must provide a functional, safe and accessible workplace for employees.

Secondly, I refer to the audit findings, and, thirdly, to any lessons arising from its inquiry which may provide useful input for consideration by the government as part of its recently announced proposal to build a whole-of-government office accommodation building. The option for the development of this whole-of-government office building was being considered at the time of the audit, and the audit report, together with the government submission, made reference to this proposal.

The committee’s inquiry frame, while examining the findings of the audit report, is forward looking and focused on best practice planning, acquisition, management, delivery and utilisation of government office accommodation.

After considering the evidence received to date, the committee decided to table an interim report because it believes that its position with regard to the new government office building proposal should be brought to the attention of the ACT Legislative Assembly. Our interim report makes specific comment on and three recommendations in regard to the proposal to construct a purpose-built government office building as the government’s preferred office accommodation option. We commented on the decision-making process in the context of the Canberra property market, re-use of existing office accommodation buildings versus new construction, the opportunity cost of using resources for the construction of a purpose-built government office building as measured against other projects that may be deferred, and the development of a whole-of-government office accommodation strategy.

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