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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2329 ..

Report on Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 2 of 1995

MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (11.31): Mr Speaker, I present Report No. 7 of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts entitled "Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 2, 1995 - Whistleblower Investigations Completed to 30 June 1995", and I move:

That the report be noted.

Mr Speaker, audit report No. 2 was presented to the Assembly on 21 June. It deals with two disclosures made to the Auditor-General under the Public Sector Management Act. One concerned the mismanagement of certain voluntary redundancy payments in the former Department of Health. The other concerned mismanagement of certain hires and purchases of heavy equipment in the Department of Urban Services.

With regard to the redundancy payments, the audit concluded that no systematic efforts were made to match the redundant officers with vacancies and that the redundancies were made primarily because of commitments made to the officers by senior management. The audit concluded that claimed ongoing full year savings of $133,300 resulting from the redundancies could have been achieved without the need for the redundancy payments. The committee sought comment from the Chief Minister on the specific cases and the generality of such redundancies and was advised that existing service-wide policy is being assessed and enhanced in line with the audit report, and that procedures have been put in place to ensure that appropriate requirements are observed by the Department of Health and Community Care.

The second disclosure involved five allegations covering mismanagement in relation to the long-term hire and purchase of road making and repair equipment. The audit concluded that the various allegations were valid, justified, well founded or soundly based. The audit concluded that losses had been incurred, that unnecessary expenditures had been made, or that payments had been made for which no service had been provided. These matters were taken up with the Minister for Urban Services. The Minister advised that a series of measures were either now in place or intended, in order to prevent a recurrence of the matters identified by the disclosures.

The committee has recommended that the Government ensure continuing provision for disclosures to be made to the Auditor-General; report to the Assembly within six months on the consolidated measures taken by the Department of Urban Services and ACT Fleet to ensure that there be no recurrence of the situations covered by the audit report in relation to the hiring and purchase of heavy equipment; and report to the Assembly on action taken to counsel the officers of the Department of Health and Community Care responsible for the mishandling of the redundancies identified by the audit.

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