Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 May 2015) . . Page.. 1274 ..
Public Accounts—Standing Committee—Report 12—Inquiry into Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Amendment Bill 2014, dated 4 May 2015, together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.
That the report be noted.
The Assembly referred this bill to the public accounts committee following some discussions we had between members on 26 March as a way forward. The committee has done the task assigned to it by the Assembly. In the course of that consideration of the bill and the production of this report, we are grateful that the Chief Minister found some time to come and meet with the committee and have some discussion about the intent of the government’s amendments and how the bill might move forward. We also received a submission from the Auditor-General, as this would impact on her as well.
We then proceeded to produce the report. Indeed, in what perhaps is a first, the public accounts committee in its entirety was in Adelaide for the biennial meeting of the Australasian Council of Public Accounts Committees, so during one lunchtime we had a committee meeting in Adelaide and passed the draft report. I thank members for their efforts in coming prepared to do that in distant Adelaide.
The committee has made four recommendations. There was, in a general sense, some concern about the loss of information, and the loss of the integrity of the entirety of the report of the activities of a particular directorate in a year. Often material is to be found in several sources, and one of the recommendations goes to this. I will speak to this shortly. But if your own interest is, for instance, just in the department of health, you do not want to be going to this report, that report and somebody else’s report on a different website to find the information that really should paint the entire picture of the activities of the agency for the previous year. So recommendation 1 is:
The Committee recommends that appropriate amendments be made to the Annual Reports … Amendment Bill 2014 … to ensure that any data specific and/or relevant to understanding the performance of a particular directorate or agency be:
a. disaggregated from whole-of-government reporting to present an accurate picture of an entity’s performance; and
b. also reported in the relevant directorate or agency annual report.
Many people will go to one document. This is about presenting an entire picture in one place. Recommendation 2 is:
The Committee recommends that, to the extent that work is not already taking place, the Exposure Draft … be amended to: (i) provide further information on the reporting requirements that will apply in 2016—an election year; or (ii) amend the draft Directions to apply to the 2014-15 reporting period only.