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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3265 ..


From time to time in annual reports we could see what was happening with the Auditor-General’s recommendations, but the other reports that the ACT taxpayer had paid handsomely for were not being reported on. As a result, it is quite clear that most of what was being recommended is not underway. Why have we been so slow to do this? I think it is mainly because the ministers—successive ministers—sent the message that health data was not all that important.

I note that the minister has tabled the current version of the system-wide review and has made an undertaking to you, Madam Speaker, and I presume through you to the Assembly, that all the recommendations from the original version are in the version that has been tabled here today. But we discussed this at length in the estimates process, which is why I have circulated a motion that, after the conclusion of this debate, I will seek leave to move.

There was extensive discussion during the estimates process about how we will know that there have not been modifications to this report. The minister has said in her statement today that a lot of text has been withdrawn. It has been taken out, she says, because the text is repetitious. Also, a lot of the information that was in the report has been stripped out and put in appendices. I understand that it has not been tabled today—the minister can clarify this—and will only go on the Health website.

I wonder why the minister does not table it here today. Is there a question about the validity of that data, so that the minister does not want to table it and have it attract privilege in some way? I am a little uncertain as to why we are not getting the whole report. There was considerable concern expressed by me and others during the estimates process. We asked the minister to table both reports at this time. She said that she would look into it, but I notice that she has not. That is my understanding. If the minister has tabled both the March-April report and the final report, I will not have to move my motion. She can clarify that in any closing comments that she wishes to make.

Generally speaking, I welcome this. But it is a very sorry tale of failure that the minister has told here today. Again, it goes to the culture of the organisation that we have had such a spectacular failure in relation to health data. I welcome the changes that have been wrought. But I also think it is interesting that there are nine recommendations that the government has said it will implement. But those recommendations seem to me to be business as usual—the sorts of things that should be in an integrated, well-functioning data system.

I highlight the fact that after six reviews and two Auditor-General’s inquiries we have to have another $1 million-plus review that comes up with recommendations like: build a data repository; embed governance structures; review the quality of data; create user-friendly data documents; maintain security and privacy; improve workforce capabilities; regularly educate, remind and reinforce issues about data management; ensure staff are proactive and responsive to changes in business requirements; and deliver timely information. That is just business as usual. I find it astounding that we needed to spend $1 million-plus to come up with recommendations that are essentially business as usual.


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