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Tuesday, 20 April 1999
Page: 3858

Senator LUNDY —My question is directed to the Assistant Treasurer. Can the minister confirm that the government's Y2K disclosure report has revealed that the Australian Taxation Office has completed repairs on less than a quarter of its business critical applications and is one of the worst performing agencies with respect to its Y2K project? Is the minister aware that the ATO's claims that 85 per cent of its business critical applications will be compliant by the end of April and 100 per cent by 30 June have been met with scepticism by leading industry figures? Will the minister guarantee that the ATO's compliance claims will in fact be met?

Senator KEMP (Assistant Treasurer) —I thank Senator Lundy for that question. The government's quarterly year 2000 agency based public disclosure report was issued on 15 April this year. Thirty per cent of the projects are in respect of the buildings occupied by the ATO. The compliance process for ATO buildings is well under way, but progress is impacted by the need to obtain appropriate certifications from appropriate third parties.

By the end of April 1999 around 85 per cent of IT specific projects are projected to be back online compliant. The report makes it clear that the ATO decided that as part of the Y2K compliance process additional levels of assurance are required and that a significantly increased applications testing regime is appropriate. Without this additional commitment to testing, the majority of ATO IT systems would have been back online compliant late last year.

Senator Lundy —We have heard all this from the tax department.

Senator KEMP —Senator Lundy, do not get excited. You asked me a question. I am trying to reply to it, so if you could just keep quiet for a moment, Senator Lundy. The current ATO plan is to have all business critical projects compliant by 30 June this year.

Senator LUNDY —Madam President, I ask a supplementary question. Thank you for restating the public position put by the ATO, Minister. Now can you advise the Senate whether or not you can confirm that the remediation of the Y2K problem in the ATO has been included in the recently awarded ATO IT outsourcing contract and, if so, at what cost to the taxpayer? Again, I ask you, Minister: will you guarantee that the ATO's Y2K compliance claims, which you have just restated to the Senate, will in fact be met?

Senator KEMP (Assistant Treasurer) —It is an astonishing thing with Senator Lundy: she asks you a question, you give her an answer and then in the supplementary question she asks you precisely the same question. Senator Lundy, get a pencil out and write this down so there is no confusion: the current ATO plan is to have all business critical projects compliant by 30 June this year. Write that down, Senator Lundy, and do not keep asking me the same questions.