Page 3533 - Week 09 - Thursday, 23 August 2018

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MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (12.16): I will be brief, but as the deputy presiding officer now and as the presiding officer when the bill came into the form in which it is presented now, it is worth commenting on. I thank the government for the appropriation for the Legislative Assembly to keep this place going. I note some of the improvements in the physical infrastructure in the Assembly which are welcomed by members and staff and people who visit here, although we still have not succeeded in keeping all the noise out.

Of most importance is the appropriation for the Auditor-General. As the Chief Minister noted when he presented this bill, the appropriation is not what the Speaker asked for and it is not what the public accounts committee asked for. But I note that we are gradually seeing an increase in the number of performance audits being done by the Auditor-General: we will move in this period from seven to nine performance audits.

It has long been the view of successive public accounts committees that we should be moving gradually to about 12 performance audits each year. The performance audit process is a very important part of the work of the Auditor-General and it does need to be funded out of ACT taxpayers’ revenue. The financial audit part is paid by fee for service. It is still paid for by the taxpayer because the organisations audited are government entities, but the appropriation relates entirely to the performance audit process.

I recollect that there were requests for provision to cover the recruitment and appointment of a new Auditor-General, and I note the government has, rather, asked the Auditor-General to dip into the Auditor-General’s reserves for that and for an extra performance audit in this calendar year. We need to be careful about that because soon the Auditor-General will have depleted those hard-earned and hard-accrued surpluses, and I think there is an issue there. We cannot leave the Auditor-General without some leeway for unexpected expenditure.

Knowing that once every seven years we have to appoint a new Auditor-General, it should be something that the government is prepared to pay for out of its own revenue rather than relying on the accumulated revenues of the Auditor-General, and I am disappointed.

I am pleased to see an increase, as I said, in the number of performance audits. But at this stage it does not meet the requirements and the policy position of the Canberra Liberals. We will continue to work towards an increase in the number of performance audits beyond the nine which are anticipated by the end of this budget cycle.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism and Major Events) (12.20): The Office of the Legislative Assembly provides important procedural and administrative advice and support to the Assembly and its committees. I know all members in this place are very grateful for all of the work the office does, so thank you.

The office also plays a particularly important role in supporting the committees of this place, which have increased in number and complexity in recent years. Committees

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