Page 2886 - Week 07 - Thursday, 7 June 2012

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The annual report directions were provided to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts for consultation in accordance with section 8 of the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 2004. The committee responded on 29 May 2012 with some minor suggestions for improvement. These suggestions have been incorporated into the annual report directions that I table today.

Ordinarily annual reports must be tabled within three months of the end of the financial year. However, this year the last sitting day before the caretaker period is 23 August, which does not give agencies sufficient time to prepare their annual reports. Therefore, in accordance with the annual reports act, annual reports will be provided through ministers to the Speaker in the usual three-month time frame, but will be not tabled until the second sitting day of the new Assembly. When annual reports are provided to the Speaker, they will be made publicly available through the website of the reporting entity.

Administration and Procedure—Standing Committee

Report 4—government response

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Health and Minister for Territory and Municipal Services) (4.56): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Administration and Procedure—Standing Committee—Report 4—Officers of the Parliament—Government response.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MS GALLAGHER: The Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure tabled its report 4, Officers of the parliament, on 29 March 2012. The government welcomes the committee’s report. The report highlights the important role of statutory office holders in the territory and discusses the importance of safeguarding the independence of statutory office holders.

The government is pleased to support a number of recommendations from the committee’s report, including recommendation 3, that the ACT Auditor-General become an officer of the Assembly. The government strongly supports the designation of the ACT Auditor-General as an officer of the Assembly, and to give effect to this, in May this year, I introduced the Auditor-General Amendment Bill 2012. The report states that an officer of the parliament should be created only rarely. I strongly support this view. The government has not agreed with all the recommendations from the inquiry. More broadly, the government considers that well-framed legislation is the best way to define and safeguard the independence of statutory officers.

In relation to further work on this issue, any framework or criteria used to identify officers of the Assembly must be fit for purpose. Criteria must take into account practical considerations of the ACT’s scale and context. They also need to take into

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