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Tuesday, 10 May 1994
Page: 553

(Question No. 1049)

Senator Watson asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 14 February 1994:

  (1) Why was the person responsible for managing the Royal Australian Mint not mentioned in the Annual Report.

  (2)   Was the Mint's Annual Report actually complete and with the printers prior to 31 October 1993 when the permanent Controller was appointed.

  (3) Was the organisational structure shown in the report implemented at any time during the 1992-93 financial year.

  (4) Did the Mint spend approximately $3 000 to withdraw the Annual Report from the printers in order to change the report.

  (5) Does this change falsify the report and, in effect, mislead the Parliament.

Senator Cook —The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) Both the present and previous chief executives are mentioned in the Annual Report. The financial statements are in fact signed by Mr C Mills, the Acting Controller until 27 October 1993. However, as Mr Mills had left the Mint before the Annual Report was finalised and printed, it was only appropriate that the report be signed and forwarded to the Treasurer by the newly incumbent Controller.

  (2) A version of the report was in the final stages of preparation for printing (ie formatting and filming of the text) but had not been sent to the printers as at 31 October 1993. With modern technology, the printers are only involved at the final production stage. However, the report was not complete as it had not received the required Treasury clearance. (The Mint is part of the Department of the Treasury and is responsible to the Secretary of the Department through the Financial Institutions Division.) Treasury clearance of the report was provided on 8 November 1993, subject to a number of amendments to the draft, including the need to give recognition to the new Controller.

  (3) No. The simplified structure set out on page 10 of the report was designed to give up to date information about key areas of responsibility and lines of accountability in the Mint. This approach was adopted because the annual report is used as a reference document after publication. The structure depicted at page 10, which represented a rationalisation of the old senior management structure, was recommended following a review of the administrative structure of the Mint undertaken by a joint Treasury/Mint staff working party during 1992/93. The new structure was endorsed, in principle, by the Secretary to the Treasury on 14 October 1993.

  (4) As noted in response to question (2), the earlier version of the report had progressed to the final proof stage by 31 October 1993. To take account of Treasury's amendments, some changes to layout and text were required, as well as the preparation of some new film. This increased total printing cost by $3,120 (ie from $27,225 to $30,345).

  (5) The changes made were designed to remove ambiguities and inaccuracies in the original draft report and to provide an up to date and accurate picture of the Mint at a time of quite fundamental change. As well as providing the Parliament with a more relevant and informative view of the Mint, this was considered particularly important as the Annual Report is used extensively by the Mint as a marketing and reference document after publication.