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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (3 April) . . Page.. 1321 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

The bill recognises that since the Government Contractual Interest (Debts) Act 1994 and the Public Access to Government Contracts Act 2000 were enacted the Assembly has passed the Government Procurement Act 2001. The proposal to incorporate these acts into a single piece of government procurement legislation will streamline processes by making it easier for suppliers to obtain information on government procurement policies, while giving the ACT Government Procurement Board responsibility for promoting the effective implementation and operation of all government procurement policies and related legislation.

The Government Procurement Amendment Bill incorporates the existing requirements of the Public Access to Government Contracts Act 2000 and addresses weaknesses identified previously by the Standing Committee on Finance and Administration and by the Auditor-General.

One of the main concerns with the Public Access to Government Contracts Act has been whether all confidentiality requirements being imposed on government agencies are being reported to the Auditor-General. The bill effectively addresses this concern by requiring that whenever a government contract contains confidential text a copy of the contract will be provided to the Auditor-General.

The bill will improve the current level of transparency and accountability by establishing a central register for government contracts valued at $50,000 or more. This register will provide the public with a central access point to locate details of contract entered into by government agencies and will either make copies of the contracts available electronically or provide contact details of where a hardcopy may be obtained.

The bill addresses the issue that has been raised previously by the Auditor-General and more recently by Ms Dundas on the length of time the public text of contracts is to be available. The bill will require the text to be available for the life of the contract. This means that a contract that runs for a 10-year period will be accessible to the public for the full 10-year period.

Mr Speaker, this bill will strengthen agencies' accountability requirements and will continue to place the ACT at the leading edge both in Australia and internationally in providing transparency and accountability in government purchasing. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) Amendment Bill 2003

Mr Wood , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for the Arts and Heritage and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.47): I move:

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