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Report on Review of Auditor-General’s Report No. 8 of 1994

MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (12.19): I present Report No. 1 of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled “Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 8, 1994 - Financial Audits with Years Ending to 30 June 1994”. I move:

That the report be noted.

Audit Report No. 8 was presented to the previous Assembly on 1 December last year. This Assembly, on 9 March of this year, authorised the Public Accounts Committee to consider and make use of the records and evidence of the previous PAC. The audit report covers the Auditor-General's examination of the financial arrangements of all ACT government agencies for the year 1993-94 and should be a valuable resource document for the Assembly estimates and budget review committees. However, these end of financial year reports by the Auditor have been of somewhat limited value to the estimates and budget review committees because they are presented to the Assembly well after these committees have met and done their work. The committee has requested that the Auditor-General seek to provide these annual agency audits by early October, to enable the report to be used directly as a resource document by the budget review committees. The audit raised a number of significant issues, and the committee has recommended that the Government respond to the Assembly on these.

MR KAINE (12.21): I just want to comment on one aspect of the Auditor-General's report to which this committee report refers. Members will note that we have asked the Government to comment on the significant matters referred to at paragraph 3.2 of our report, which happen to be the significant issues noted by the Auditor-General. One of those matters is the Auditor-General's report and comment upon net capital losses on investments during 1993-94 of over $10m. If you say it quickly, it does not sound like very much; but I would ask the Government to treat that matter as a serious one and to report back and explain why it was that in one year we had a net capital loss on our investments of over $10m. It may well be that there are normal and rational reasons for that; but it is not a loss that I recall our investment portfolio suffering in any previous year and it is a very significant amount. So, I will be looking forward with interest to the Government's, or perhaps the Treasury's, explanation of how they incurred a $10m capital loss on their investments.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (12.22): Mr Speaker, I undertake to ensure that every member of the Assembly gets a written report on that issue as a matter of urgency.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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