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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2287 ..

Business—ChooseCBR scheme

MRS JONES: My question is to the Minister for Business and Better Regulations. Minister, FOI documents obtained by the Canberra Liberals reveal you were warned about risks with the full ChooseCBR rollout, including a low take-up by business and ICT security and fraud. The warning noted:

For the full rollout there is the potential for greater financial gain which increases the overall risk of the occurrence of potential fraud or questionable transactions.”

It warned there were limited mechanisms to fully monitor transactions and provide a high level of assurance around information provided by businesses. Minister, given these warnings about the increased risk of fraud and limited ability to detect it, why did you not change the scheme?

MS CHEYNE: There are risks with every scheme and, as the opposition will note given they have apparently read the documents—but I am not sure in how much detail—when there are risks we undertake a risk review. That is normal. With a scheme that has money and where we are distributing that money there is a potential risk of fraud, and that is exactly why engaged PwC, to undertake a risk review. We did put in place measures including the spot checking and the auditing that we were doing internally. And, as the opposition well knows, doing that did uncover some questionable transactions, including in one case where we suspended three related businesses.

MRS JONES: Minister, given you were warned you could not give a high level of assurance to the community about the integrity of the scheme, why did you persist with it in the way you did?

MS CHEYNE: I am not sure what the opposition is trying to get at here in terms of the fraud that they think has occurred here. Risks were identified; risks were mitigated. Given the scheme was a $2 million scheme—I note that similar schemes in other jurisdictions are in the hundreds of millions of dollars and also have risks—I think, given we were wanting to distribute money and stimulate the economy, on balance that this was a low risk, and that is clear from the documents, and we proceeded accordingly.

DR PATERSON: Minister, I was just wondering if you could further outline the risk review around the ChooseCBR rollout?

MS CHEYNE: The ACT government engaged PwC to complete a high-level risk review, and that was prior to the trial in 2020. The report did indicate that there were no known material issues or security breaches associated with the platform that we procured. It did identify a number of risks with technical or process mitigations that could be considered. Indeed, one of those was about potentially a malicious actor compromising merchant credentials and financial details.

So we addressed these risks through changes to the system design and through additional procedures, and we do have no reason to believe that the system was

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