Page 2487 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

These are all important reforms and they come about largely as a response to the public accounts committee inquiry. I think it is appropriate and important to stress what a vital role the Auditor-General plays in ensuring the efficiency of public services. The Greens have long advocated for improved accountability mechanisms to assist the Assembly in fulfilling its job of ensuring the probity of executive conduct. We believe our statutory integrity agencies play a vital role, that the Assembly should be investing them with a broad range of functions and powers, and that we should be giving them the discretion to fulfil their functions as they see fit to best protect the public interest.

The bill broadly fulfils these aims, and for this reason the Greens are happy to support the changes proposed in the bill. The bill is an important part of the reform process for the Auditor-General Act, which will be complemented by the Greens bill to recognise the Auditor-General, the Ombudsman and the Electoral Commissioner as officers of the Assembly.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (11.13): On behalf of the Chief Minister I thank members for their support of this bill. The bill reflects the government’s ongoing commitment to open and accountable government. It reinforces the independence of the office of the Auditor-General, and enhances arrangements for her important functions. The government has always acknowledged the importance of the Auditor-General in maintaining accountability and confidence in the public service and public administration. The bill proposes amendments to strengthen the clarity and intentions of the Auditor-General Act, in particular, safeguarding the independence of the office of the Auditor-General and implementing a number of the government’s agreed recommendations from the inquiry by the standing committee on public accounts into the Auditor-General Act 1996.

This bill will complement a separate officer of the Assembly bill to be introduced, I understand, later this year. This bill when introduced will establish the office of the Auditor-General as an officer of the Assembly and addresses other related recommendations from the public accounts committee’s inquiry.

This bill, however, was introduced last year but was not debated prior to the dissolution of the Assembly in anticipation of the last ACT election. When this bill was introduced, therefore, a number of changes were made from the one previously introduced. These reflect an intention to introduce a separate bill dealing with officer of the Assembly arrangements not only for the Auditor-General but also for the Electoral Commissioner and the Ombudsman. There are also a number of recommendations by Assembly committees that relate to the Auditor-General’s appointment and employment arrangements, and these will also be dealt with in the officer of the Assembly bill.

Of the measures that were recommended by the public accounts committee, the bill introduces a number, including the clarifying and strengthening of the independence of the Auditor-General, requiring the Auditor-General to develop and consult on an

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video