Page 1971 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 25 June 2008

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The Government Procurement Act 2001, as amended in 2007, requires agencies to provide the public accounts committee every six months with a list of reportable contracts. Reportable contracts are defined, with some exceptions, as procurement contracts over $20,000 that contain confidential text. Agencies provide the committee with the names of the contracting parties, the value of the contract and the nature of the contract.

The public accounts committee believes that this information should be available to all members and that the legislation should be amended to require the government to table the information in the Assembly each reporting period. The committee has written to the Chief Minister about this. Until such time as this amendment is possible, the public accounts committee proposes to table these lists as it receives them.

Mr Speaker, I would just like to bring members up to date. I did write to Mr Stanhope, the Treasurer. One of the concerns of the public accounts committee is that, of the various groups that were affected by this change, the public accounts committee was the only body that was not consulted. What we have now is a public accounts committee that is unclear as to its role. We are not sure how agencies are meant to report to us and what we are meant to do with those reports. The best information comes from a copy of a letter from the Under Treasurer that instructs eight chief executives to supply this committee with lists of reportable contracts for the period, or a nil return if there were no such contracts for the period.

To date, this committee has received responses from Treasury, six of the eight agencies whose chief executives were listed and from CIT. This last response leads the committee to question whether there are other agencies that are supposed to provide responses that the committee is unaware of, and whether part of our role is to determine who they are and to chase them up.

I understand that the Auditor-General’s office used to spend a considerable amount of time chasing agencies to supply responses. However, our committee’s resources have not expanded to meet our new responsibilities.

MR SPEAKER: Dr Foskey, is this a statement agreed to by the committee?

DR FOSKEY: It certainly is, Mr Speaker. I also wish to report that I received a letter today from Mr Stanhope in response to my letter, and there is opportunity for further negotiations and conversations about that.

To conclude my statement, I seek leave to table lists of reportable contracts for the period 1 October 2007 to 31 March 2008 as received by the public accounts committee.

Leave granted.

DR FOSKEY: I table the following papers:

Reportable contracts—

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