Page 2072 - Week 06 - Thursday, 7 May 2009
recommendation 12 in relation to budget funding to enable the Auditor-General to undertake all the programs that she needs to. This is a matter that has been raised in and out of season by the Auditor-General. I was a member of the estimates committee last year when this was raised. I understand from the evidence that the Auditor-General gave at the time that this matter was being raised in annual reports through the PAC and that the PAC has previously made recommendations about the funding of the Auditor-General which have gone unheeded by the Stanhope government.
The role of an independent Auditor-General is one of those essential elements of good government in any jurisdiction. It is a matter of considerable concern that again the request by the Auditor-General for appropriate funding has gone unheeded. I would have to check the record. I know that Mr Smyth and I took the view during the last estimates committee that the Auditor-General should receive this funding. I cannot recall whether this was a majority decision or just dissenting comments from Mr Smyth and me in relation to the Auditor-General’s funding during the last estimates committee. But this is an ongoing and now running sore, the fact that the Auditor-General is unfunded.
The evidence that we have heard over a number of years is that it is difficult for the Auditor-General to retain her staff because she does not have the capacity to pay them as other audit organisations do and that she ends up becoming a training ground; once you have got your auditors trained up someone can poach them for a much higher price. This does not do the territory a great service. It means that the Auditor-General is not able to retain staff for long periods of time and, in a sense, recoup the investment in ongoing training and building up of experience.
It is not just short-sighted on the part of the Stanhope government. It does materially impact on the work that the Auditor-General can do. It is not really my particular area of expertise, but I am pretty sure there is no extra funding for the Auditor-General in the budget brought down this week, which goes to yet another failure on the part of the Stanhope government to have real, open and accountable government. I think that is a great shame, and the people of the ACT should be made aware of these failures.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Statement by chair
MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo): Pursuant to standing order 246A, I wish to make a statement on behalf of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts recently resolved to inquire into and report into ACT government procurement. The committee will inquire into, and report on, the following matters:
(1) the pursuit by ACT government agencies of the ‘procurement principle—value for money’, having regard to: