Page 998 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2015

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Public Accounts—Standing Committee

Report 9

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.50): I present the following report:

Public Accounts—Standing Committee—Report 9—Review of Auditor-General’s Report No 3 of 2014: Single Dwelling Development Assessments, dated 10 March 2015, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.

I move:

That the report be noted.

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to report No 9 of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Review of Auditor-General’s report No 3 of 2014: single dwelling development assessments. The audit report presented the results of the performance audit that examined single-dwelling developments which were subject to development application exemptions and the development application assessment processes in the ACT. In accordance with the resolution of appointment of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, the audit report was referred to the committee for examination. The committee has established procedures for the examination of these reports pursuant to the Assembly resolution. In accordance with these procedures, the committee resolved on 15 December 2014 to conclude its consideration of the audit report with a summary report.

The objective of the audit was to provide an independent opinion to the Legislative Assembly on whether the development application exemption and development application approval processes for single-dwelling developments are open to improper influence. The audit focused on single-dwelling developments. Duplexes and high density residential developments were not considered.

The audit examined several case studies to assess planning processes for single-dwelling developments. The committee said:

The Audit found: (i) that transparency issues around decision making—for example, peer reviews were not always undertaken for developments assessed under the DA merit track process and instances of insufficient documentation to support assessment decisions; (ii) inadequacies were found in the Directorate’s safeguards to monitor the decisions of certifiers and mitigate the risk of improper influence; and (iii) issues relating to certifiers were identified in four of the case studies.

The committee report continued:

Importantly, the Audit found:

... no evidence of improper influence being exerted on, or by, the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate’s assessing officers, for the seven case studies examined as part of this audit.

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