Page 5249 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2011

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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Public Accounts—Standing Committee

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 in relation to reportable contracts under section 39 of the Government Procurement Act 2001.

The Government Procurement Act 2001 requires agencies to provide the public accounts committee with a list of “reportable contracts” every six months. 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 committee is aware that the information directors-general provide in relation to “reportable contracts” is readily available in the public domain on the ACT government contracts register.

The former Minister for Territory and Municipal Services informed the committee that consideration was being given to changing the process for the reporting of “reportable contracts”. As an interim step in this process, the committee again welcomed receiving the list of reportable contracts for this period in one consolidated report. The committee believes that there is value in the provision of a consolidated report for the six-monthly reporting periods. However, the committee is of the view that the purpose of scrutiny would be served by a report that combines the two current six-monthly reporting periods. The committee wrote to the former minister in June 2010 to convey its views on this matter.

The former minister subsequently advised that while he welcomed the committee’s willingness to reduce the frequency of reports on reportable contracts, he believed that the new register rendered the reporting of reportable contracts redundant. As a consequence, the former minister indicated that he intended to change the legislation to remove the requirement for chief executives, now directors-general, to report to the committee.

The Treasurer has recently written to the committee outlining a proposed amendment to the Government Procurement Act 2001, as foreshadowed by the former minister with responsibility for procurement, and seeking the committee’s views in relation to the proposed amendment.

Until such time as the legislation is amended, the committee will continue to table reports on reportable contracts for the applicable six-monthly reporting periods as provided to the committee.

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