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Monday, 30 August 2004
Page: 26700


The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Kirk)—Pursuant to standing orders 38 and 166, I present documents listed on today's Order of Business at item 12 which were presented to the President, the Deputy President and a Temporary Chair of Committees since the Senate last sat. In accordance with the terms of the standing orders, the publication of the documents was authorised.

The list read as follows—

Committee reports

1. Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee--Report, together with the Hansard record of proceedings and documents presented to the committee, on the provisions of the National Security Information (Criminal Proceedings) Bill 2004 and the Information (Criminal Proceedings) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2004 (received on 19 August 2004)

2. Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit--Report no. 402--Review of Auditor-General's reports 2003-2004: First and second quarters (received on 20 August 2004)

Government document

Department of Transport and Regional Services—AusLink: Building our national transport future—White paper, June 2004 (received on 13 August 2004).

Reports of the Auditor-General

1. Report No. 8 of 2004-2005--Performance Audit--Management of bilateral relations with selected countries: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (received on 13 August 2004)

2. Report No. 9 of 2004-2005--Performance Audit--Assistance provided to personnel leaving the ADF: Department of Defence and Department of Veterans' Affairs (received on 25 August 2004)

Statements of compliance with Senate orders

Relating to lists of contracts:

Departmental and agency contracts for 2003-04—Letters of advice—

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio agencies (received27 August 2004)

Communications portfolio agencies (received 27 August 2004)

Defence (received 19 August 2004)

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, AusAID and the Australia Japan Foundation (received 27 August 2004)

Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio agencies (received 25 August 2004)

Family and Community Services portfolio agencies (received 27 August 2004)

Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio agencies (received 19 August 2004)

Relating to indexed lists of files:

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and portfolio agencies (received on 13 August 2004)

Agencies within the Industry, Tourism and Resources portfolio (received on 27 August 2004)

Department of Transport and Regional Services (received on 27 August 2004)

Returns to order

Unproclaimed legislation pursuant to standing order 139(2) (received on 13 August 2004)

First home owners, `bracket creep' and Intergenerational Report (received on 17 August 2004)

Ordered that the report of the Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee be printed.

Senator McGAURAN (Victoria) (7.32 p.m.)—On behalf of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, I seek leave to incorporate a tabling statement relating to report No. 402.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows—

The Committee selected six Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) performance audits for review by public hearing from a total of 24 reports presented by ANAO to the Presiding Officers during the first and second quarters of 2003-2004.

The six audit reviews examined respectively, the implementation of two industry assistance schemes, a statutory supervisory function, the audits of two areas of public sector transparency, and the management of the Plasma Fractionation Agreement extension option review.

I must highlight that the Committee was disappointed by the lackadaisical approach shown by the Department of Health and Ageing (Health) to resolving the Government's position on the Blood Plasma Fractionation Agreement extension option. Health exhibited a history of disregard for advice by ANAO and indeed, the Committee itself, to expedite the task of assessing the extension option. Further, when Health did get on with the task, it did not comply with Department of Finance and Administration guidelines.

The Committee believes that Health needs to put some extra effort into developing staff skills in competitive tendering and contracting. Those staff involved in contract management must comply with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines and circulars, especially with regard to value-for-money.

In conclusion I would like to express the Committee's appreciation to those people from the many government agencies and private organisations which contributed to the reviews by preparing submissions and giving valuable evidence at public hearings.

On behalf of the Chairman of the Committee, I also wish to thank the members of the Committee, particularly its Vice-chair Ms Plibersek, for their time and dedication in the conduct of these inquiries. My thanks also extend to the Committee Secretariat for its professionalism in carrying out its duties.

I commend the report to the Senate.