Page 3881 - Week 09 - Thursday, 25 August 2011

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Public Accounts—Standing Committee

Report 18

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (11.49): I present the following report:

Public Accounts—Standing Committee—Report 18—Review of Auditor-General’s Report No 1 of 2010: Performance Reporting, dated 5 August 2011, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings—

I move:

That the report be noted.

This is a very important report for all of us here in the Assembly and, I believe, the wider Canberra community because performance reporting is one of the chief ways in which the Assembly gets to know what is happening in the ACT government. Before talking more about the substantive issues, I would like, of course, to start by thanking the committee secretary, Dr Andrea Cullen, who was ably assisted by Lydia Chung and was briefly assisted by Lesley Irwin. I also wish, of course, to thank my fellow committee members, Mr Hargreaves and Mr Smyth.

This report comes from our inquiries into the Auditor-General’s report on the subject. I would have to say that the committee as a whole agreed very much with the Auditor-General’s—that it was an important issue but some agencies did not report adequately and, in particular, the accountability indicators did not always provide a reasonably comprehensive description of the output classes. They found particular problems, I guess unsurprisingly, in CMD because it is a policy area. They found things worked a bit better with the line departments. TAMS, DET and ACT Health were assessed as clear and useful. They found, with the exception of TAMS, that most strategic indicators had been reasonably stable so as to enable comparison over time. It is certainly a problem for MLAs when the indicators are not reasonably stable and we end up in a situation where we cannot see what is happening over time. I am particularly aware that ACTION is an area where we have had this problem.

As is our job, the PAC committee looked at the Auditor-General’s report. We emphasise how important performance measures are, as is the subsequent reporting. Not only are important to us as MLAs in looking at them but also they are very important in the internal workings of departments. I know from my previous experience in these sorts of things that departments work towards making sure the performance indicators look okay. We have to have the right indicators otherwise we will end up with the wrong outputs.

These are seriously important things. They are not mere numbers. I guess positively the ACT government seems to have realised this because there have been a number of other reports and reviews. In November 2010 the government released a report done by the Allen Consulting Group which included feedback from the Auditor-General. It was a review of the ACT performance and accountability framework. All of the things from that seemed very positive and it has informed the development of a revised

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