Page 2363 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 June 2013

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The report also recommends that the Auditor-General conduct a performance audit into the oversight and governance of ACTEW, that the Commissioner for Public Administration review the current guidance on caretaker conventions in the lead-up to the ACT elections, and that the Speaker of the Assembly should continue to progress the feasibility of extending the discretionary officer allowance to communications.

Madam Speaker, these matters all hinge on the premise that accountable government is good government. In my view things have a way to go before that can be said.

As outgoing chair, I particularly want to thank Dr Andrea Cullen for her tireless work on behalf of the committee. I note that Andrea has recently been short-listed in the 2013 ACT public service awards for excellence. In my view she has more than earned this recognition. I commend the report to the Assembly.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (10.40): Reports of the public accounts committee are some of the most valuable reports produced by our committee system. They should ensure that government is spending Canberra’s wealth wisely and should make insightful recommendations showing how matters can be improved. I am proud that this report generally achieves that aim.

However, this report has clearly got it wrong on two recommendations, Nos 6 and 10, that Ms Mary Porter and I have not supported. They merely rehash a debate we have already had in the Assembly, which the opposition has lost. Recommendation 6 essentially calls for a full performance audit of ACTEW. The Auditor-General is already looking into matters relating to ACTEW—an inquiry that is well underway. As an ongoing member of PAC, I can assure the departing chair that we will listen with interest to anything further that the Auditor-General has to say on ACTEW, and act accordingly.

This recommendation smacks of the departing chair leaving riding instructions for his replacement, saying, “Make a fuss about ACTEW: political mileage to be made.” Mr Hanson should have come onto PAC as chair months ago, as soon as he took over the Liberal leadership and learnt the ropes himself. We do not need the departing member for Brindabella leaving some wish list of spin jobs he would have liked to have got around to, if only he had had the time. The recommendation is obviously something that the chair has had time to pursue. The time just slips away, it seems.

Here we are in the Eighth Assembly, and this recommendation harks back to a PAC report relating to an Auditor-General’s report, not in the last Assembly but in the Assembly before that—the Sixth Assembly. The PAC report of the Eighth Assembly is not the place for the departing chair to express his whimsical regrets about Assemblies past, old defeats and the ones that got away.

Madam Speaker, as you might gather, I am not supporting recommendation 10 either. However, I recommend that you read the rest of the report, and I look forward to new blood on the PAC committee at its next meeting.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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