Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 6 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

I move:

That the report be noted.

The committee has come out with some suggestions for government. We have raised a couple of issues we raised last year when we looked at the 1998-99 annual report for DECS. We noted that the annual report was not available on the Internet, although there is a reference to it on the department's Internet site. We have asked again that that be sorted out so that we can see the annual report on the Internet site. Other departments make their annual reports available in that way. We pointed that out last year.

The second recommendation is about inadequate detail on the financial information, in particular the difference between the GPO (government payment for output) and the total cost in government school education. Once again, the committee has expressed concerns about this. The government responded in its notes that the reason for the difference between total cost and GPO is that DECS receives other revenue as well as GPO, and funding is not provided for above benchmark costs. We did not feel that that was enough information. The government, in its response to the committee's report on the 1998-99 annual report, gave us as its reason for not providing more detailed information the fact that agencies are required to provide notes at a total department level but not for each output class, as the provision of notes for each output class would significantly increase the volume of financial statements.

The committee still has the view, expressed in its report on the 1998-99 annual report, that more detail should be provided, and does not consider it would increase the volume of financial statements significantly. In fact, based on the information provided to the committee in response to a question on notice concerning this matter, a breakdown of the difference between the GPO and total cost and how it is represented in each of the outputs would add about two lines to each note.

We also raised again the issue of a quality effectiveness measure for services provided to schools by CHADS. We asked for that last year as well. We have seen significant change across various areas of government services over the years, and any indicator that is going to help us track the impact of that change is useful. Even though the government did respond positively to that last time, they still have not done it. So we hope to see some action on that one as well.

We were also a little bit concerned about the way the government presented its information on computers across the education system. We noted that it was not appropriate to include computers that are used by teachers in the overall ratio. We have made comment about that.

We also looked quite closely once again at the SAAP sector, the supported accommodation assistance program sector. Members of this place have had a lot of feedback over the last few years about that sector and how it is struggling. Particularly significant to that sector has been the introduction of the SACS award. That has been raised in many forums over the last few years by Labor Party people and me, and I think sometimes by other members of the crossbench as well.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .