Page 4773 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 1 November 2017

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the Greens will not be able to support this element of Mr Coe’s bill and we have not been able to put forward an amendment for a workable alternative.

I turn to elements 3 and 4, the notifiable invoices threshold and the link to contracts. I will discuss these third and fourth elements of Mr Coe’s bill together, because they raise similar issues. They are, firstly, lowering the threshold for including the invoices on the notifiable invoices register from $25,000 to $12,500 and, secondly, publishing the contract number and name of invoices on the notifiable invoices register.

Both of these proposals seem like a good idea in principle and the Greens obviously support Mr Coe’s policy intent behind them. The problems come from the issues that the Chief Minister and Treasurer has talked about. It appears that, given the way the ACT government has structured its payment systems, and potentially its IT systems supporting them, it is not as easy as it should be.

I understand that the ACT government uses Oracle financials. I am well aware of what they are capable of doing. That database is capable of reporting on almost anything. I speak now of experience in my previous life as an IT manager. I certainly strongly support the motion that Mr Barr has foreshadowed to actually investigate this, because I think a decent investigation will find that this is definitely something that could well be done.

Mr Coe: Then vote for it, Caroline.

MS LE COUTEUR: The reason we will not be voting for it right now is because we are not sure how long it is going to take and how much money would be involved. That is what Mr Barr’s motion tomorrow is all about. Lowering the threshold for reporting invoices means catching procurement that is at a lower procurement threshold under the Government Procurement Act. In respect of procurement under $25,000, a large number of procurements currently do not involve raising invoices, as Mr Barr again said.

I understand that quite a lot of them are paid by credit card. This means one of the following: a misleading notifiable invoices register that excludes transactions not done by invoice; substantial manual processing with high staff cost and risk of error; or major systems changes within the government’s financial systems, or potentially major systems changes, I should say.

Adding the contract name and number to invoices on the notifiable invoices register apparently has similar practical difficulties. Apparently, the contract numbers and the invoices are stored in different financial systems, and the government is not able to fix this quickly, as Mr Coe’s bill would require.

As I said earlier, I really was surprised about this because payment of each invoice needs to be approved by a delegate. How does the delegate do this if they do not check that it is in accordance with a contract? Apparently, this is actually done manually. I have been told by someone with ACT government experience that they often print the invoice, paperclip it to the contract, put a little flag on the contract

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