Page 4517 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 November 2005

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individual funding decisions relating to the various parts of the roles and operations of the various commissioners will be made in a collegiate way by the commission as a commission. Each of the commissioners will, of course, be competing for the funds being made available for the operation of the commission. I hope that assists your understanding.

The government will not adopt the role in relation to each commissioner of determining a particular level of funding. That is one of the synergies involved in the establishment of an overarching commission to cover off each of the five commissions that will be incorporated within the human rights commission. The human rights commissioner, the discrimination commissioner, the health services complaints commissioner, the children’s commissioner and the community services commissioner will operate in a collegiate way as a commission and will, in a collegiate way, under a president, make funding decisions for themselves.

Procurement guidelines

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Treasurer. The Auditor-General’s report on government procurement finds disturbing evidence of sloppy and careless management. Basically, because agencies had not been following guidelines when purchasing goods, there was a heightened risk of collusion between purchasers on behalf of the government and private sector suppliers, and agencies were not getting best value for the public’s money. Does the Treasurer acknowledge that some agencies have been sloppy in not complying with procurement guidelines and that the territory has not been getting value for money?

MR QUINLAN: I have not had time to get a briefing on all of the detail of the auditor’s report. I have had a quick thumb through it. I am aware that these days auditors are inclined to paint a darker picture sometimes than is the case in reality. The overall verdict and assessment by the Auditor-General was positive. The report said that generally everything was done in a satisfactory way.

I think that the next most frequent problem was an absence of some recording or reportage, and then there was some concern that people had, I presume, got into ruts in relation to their purchasing—looking on the positive side, which I like to do until told otherwise. Certainly, because the report was tabled in this house, the government will prepare a response.

I have been surprised from time to time by some percentages I have seen in an auditor’s report—35 per cent or something like that—only to find out that the actual sampling taken was miniscule and possibly open to considerable statistical error. The government will have a good, hard look at the report and get back to you. If agencies have not done the job properly, appropriate action will be taken.

I think you know that the government is in the process of centralising a large amount of the procurement anyway. I think you would also know from the report that the centralised procurement area got pretty well a clean bill of health.

MR MULCAHY: Treasurer, how will the centralisation of that government procurement actually lead to a more efficient outcome?

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