Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 (Hansard) 16 May) . . Page.. 1344 ..
MRS CARNELL (continuing):
policies regarding vehicle use and assist staff in utilising them fully. A draft vehicle management policy has been prepared, and this provides staff with very clear instructions on what is an acceptable use of a government vehicle. Record keeping procedures have been strengthened, and senior staff have been requested to regularly check vehicle running sheets to ensure that accurate and complete records are kept. Mr Speaker, accurate records will enable agencies to minimise their fringe benefits tax liability, thus reducing the overall costs to government.
We have also moved to strengthen the rules related to home garaging of vehicles. Agencies will be requested to reduce the incidence of home garaging by 10 per cent and to consider alternatives wherever possible. At present, cars may be home garaged only for one of two reasons - operational effectiveness and vehicle safety. While we believe it appropriate that approvals continue for these reasons, we have moved to change the arrangements for staff contributions. It is the Government's view that officers who home garage their vehicles, for whatever reason, should pay contributions based on the extent of the benefit that they receive in home garaging the vehicle. This contribution is not set at full cost recovery of the vehicle because the Government is also deriving a benefit from the vehicle being home garaged. Arrangements for the collection of these contributions will be the responsibility of the chief executive and will include such items as fuel and parking, which the home garaging officer would otherwise receive free of charge.
As part of the Government's commitment to addressing the Auditor-General's recommendations, all agencies have been requested to reduce their vehicle fleets. A target of 10 per cent has been set, and it is expected that this target will be reached by the end of the financial year. As part of the annual reporting process, agencies will be reporting on both their success against the target and their progress in implementing the recommendations of the Auditor-General.
Mr Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, the PAC has requested that a number of reporting mechanisms be introduced to ensure that action is taken on the Auditor-General's recommendations. The Government has the view that there is little value in constantly reporting on progress. Getting on and doing the work is what is required. I believe that the reporting framework in existence will provide the PAC with enough information to measure progress on implementing these reforms. While I understand the PAC's desire to ensure that the recommendations of the Auditor-General are implemented, the Government believes that its response will provide enough detail of progress to date and the annual reporting process will provide an update on progress. The Government believes that the measures being taken to decrease the number of passenger vehicles and to increase the efficiency of the fleet will go a long way towards meeting the recommendations of the Auditor-General and the PAC. Mr Speaker, I commend to the Assembly the Government's response to the PAC's report and the Auditor-General's report.
MR SPEAKER: Let me say, in response to Ms McRae's inquiry, that we can do it in one of two ways. Either of them - - -
Ms Follett: Yes; but we always do it the wrong way. That is the problem.