Page 964 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 April 2014

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degree of tension between a regulator and the body that is being regulated. Too cosy a relationship in that context can be problematic. To the extent to which the audit has identified areas of legislative improvement and areas where the process can be improved in the future, the government has certainly indicated a willingness to review and reform those areas.

I think the ICRC’s response to the Auditor-General’s report certainly contrasts with the views put in the audit report and would leave the independent observer wanting to further examine the issues that have been raised by both independent bodies. The government, in its response, recognised a need to move on a number of the areas that the auditor identified, but also agreed with a number of the points that were raised by the ICRC. In concluding this particular process the government has indicated a willingness to particularly look at the legislation that, I think, was framed under the previous Liberal government and has proved to be wanting, it would seem, in this case.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Treasurer, were the poor relations between the ICRC and ACTEW the result of this price determination or did it go back further? What was the root cause?

MR BARR: In large part the shadow treasurer is seeking for me to speculate on hypotheticals, Madam Speaker. I do not intend to do so. I do not fundamentally accept the premise of the question.

Mr Smyth: So the Auditor-General is wrong. That is what you are saying.

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, Mr Smyth!

MR BARR: The Auditor-General’s views are strongly contested by both parties, both auditees. So that does leave you with questions in relation to some elements of the Auditor-General’s report. But there are a variety of different opinions. No-one is necessarily right or wrong. This may not be a black and white issue. I think it is fairly clear from the responses of the auditees, and particularly from the strength of the response from the ICRC, that they very strongly disagree with elements of the auditor’s report.

The government has agreed with some elements of the auditor’s report and not with others. We will progress with our response and respond to the issues as we have outlined in our response to the Auditor-General’s report.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Treasurer, in light of your comments, does the Auditor-General still have your confidence?


MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

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