Page 2943 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009

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I commend the report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety inquiry into annual reports and I look forward to the government’s response.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Public Accounts—Standing Committee

Report 3

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (11.16): I present the following report:

Public Accounts—Standing Committee—Report 3—Report on the 10th Biennial Conference of the Australasian Council of Public Accounts Committees (ACPAC), dated 11 June 2009, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

I am very pleased to present this report. ACPAC meets every two years in a conference which is also the annual meeting of the relevant auditors-general. As a new member of the public accounts committee, I can certainly say that it was particularly valuable for me to attend it. Some of the things I have been saying about the importance of auditors-general have been influenced by meeting other auditors-general and the other public accounts committees at that conference: the universal view of the public accounts committees was that their auditors-general are absolutely essential and invaluable; in particular, their performance audits are essential and invaluable.

This year’s conference was held in Wellington, New Zealand. There were approximately 100 New Zealand and Australian delegates and observers at the conference. In addition to the Australian and New Zealand delegates and observers, it was very interesting to find that there were representatives from Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, the United Kingdom, Namibia, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Timor-Leste and South Africa. It was truly an international conference. It was very interesting to hear what other jurisdictions were doing. Some of them were quite different from us and very, very interesting.

There was a high-quality, varied conference program. The conference theme was “sharing lessons, seeking improved accountability, facing new challenges”. I presented a paper called “Understanding accountability”. Given what I have been saying to date, I guess you can appreciate that the major theme that I addressed in it was accountability and how sustainability related to that and how accountability was a key part of sustainability.

I am very pleased that in the final conference communique sustainability was recognised as part of this. It was very interesting, because at the beginning of the week people were saying, “We are not so sure about the sustainability.” Sorry, I said

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