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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (18 April) . . Page.. 1040 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

The Bill specifically provides that the Auditor-General is not subject to direction by the Executive, or any Minister, in the performance of the function of the Auditor-General. These measures are supported by the provisions of the Public Sector Management (Amendment) Bill. This Bill places the Auditor-General's Office in the same position as the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to staffing matters. It will ensure the strict independence of the Auditor-General's Office.

The Auditor-General's responsibilities have been extended beyond financial management audits and performance audits. The Bill reflects the principle that the Auditor-General should have the widest possible scope in reviewing public sector finances. The Bill confirms the Auditor-General's role in the audit of public sector companies, joint ventures and trusts. The Bill includes, in the functions of the Auditor-General, the audit of accounts and records of any person, body or thing ascertained in accordance with the regulations. This is intended to ensure coverage of public sector activities which do not take a traditional corporate form. The Bill reinforces the powers and functions of the Auditor-General, including the Auditor-General's role in promoting public accountability in the public administration of the Territory.

The Bill formalises the Auditor-General's role in conducting performance audits. Whilst this has been accepted practice in the past, performance audits are not referred to in the current Audit Act. The Bill also enables the Auditor-General to report to the Assembly on any matter arising in connection with the Auditor-General's functions. It provides for independent audit of the Audit Office itself. These provisions overcome serious deficiencies in the existing Act. The Bill also protects the public interest through strict confidentiality provisions. Mr Speaker, I believe that this legislation represents a firm commitment to open and independent scrutiny of government activities. I commend the Auditor-General Bill 1996 and the Public Sector Management (Amendment) Bill 1996 to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Whitecross) adjourned.


MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (10.51): Mr Speaker, I present the Public Sector Management (Amendment) Bill 1996, together with the explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

I have already spoken in my previous speech about how this Bill fits in with the Auditor-General Bill 1996 and the Financial Management Bill 1996.

Debate (on motion by Mr Whitecross) adjourned.

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