Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 August 2011) . . Page.. 3261 ..
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts tabled report 15, Inquiry into the Auditor-General Act 1996, on 17 February 2011. The government welcomes the committee’s reports as it highlights the important role of the Auditor-General in promoting accountability in the public administration of the territory. The government is firmly committed not only to accountable government but also to ensuring that the community is receiving accurate and complete information on the efficient and effective use of territory resources.
The government response does point to some areas of difference between the committee and the government’s view about how these outcomes are best achieved. These differences emphasise the range of options and approaches that are available to the Legislative Assembly, and I look forward to discussions on these issues in the future.
I also note that the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure is conducting an inquiry into the role of an independent officer of the parliament, and the government will continue this discussion in the context of that inquiry.
Following circulation to members out of session, I table the government’s response to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts report 15, Inquiry into the Auditor-General Act, and I would like to thank the committee for their report.
MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (3.36): I thank the government for its response, and I am very pleased that many of PAC’s recommendations were also agreed to by the government. The theme of PAC’s report was basically strengthening the institution of the Auditor-General and strengthening the relationship between the Auditor-General and the Legislative Assembly and the public accounts committee as the Legislative Assembly’s delegate, as it were.
I will briefly talk about some of the recommendations, and I will focus on the ones to which the government has not agreed. In the interests of brevity, I am not going to try to summarise the whole lot.
The first areas I would like to talk about are recommendations 7, 8 and 9, and they all deal with the issue of appointing the Auditor-General. As the Assembly will be aware, we have just done an in-depth study of this because we have just appointed a new Auditor-General. On a personal level, I have a lot more clarity in my views on that.
On recommendation 7, the committee said:
The Committee recommends that the Auditor-General Act 1996 be amended to provide capacity for the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to recommend to the Executive an appointment to the Office of Auditor-General.
I think that is an excellent recommendation and I think that would add considerably in terms of making it a consistent and understandable process. The government unfortunately did not agree with that. We probably have some disagreements in terms of the doctrine of the separation of powers. I personally think the doctrine of the