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Tuesday, 19 November 2002
Page: 6806


Senator Sherry asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 8 October 2002:

With reference to Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) audit report no. 65 tabled on 28 June 2002, Management of Commonwealth Superannuation Benefits to Members—Comsuper:

(1) In key finding 25 and in paragraphs 3.41 and 3.45 the ANAO report states that up to 45 per cent of new commencements in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade were not reported to ComSuper from 1 July 2001 to 1 October 2001: (a) What steps has the department taken to ensure that new commencements are reported to ComSuper in a more timely manner; and (b) in each of the quarters after 1 October 2001, what proportions of new commencements in the department were not reported to ComSuper.

(2) In figure 3.10 the ANAO report states that, in the period from June 1999 to August 2001, the department failed to report 65 per cent of changes in member contribution rates to ComSuper: (a) what steps has the department taken to ensure that changes in member contribution rates are reported to ComSuper in a more timely manner; (b) in the period since August 2001, what proportion of changes in member contribution rates were not reported to ComSuper and (c) in each of the years starting 1 July 2000 and 1 July 2001, what proportion of changes in member contribution rates was not reported in ComSuper.


Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Foreign Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) and (2) The inaccuracies noted in the ANAO report originated from the standard Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS) interface, used by the Department to electronically transfer payroll data to Comsuper. The HRMIS interface was designed by the vendor to conform with the specifications of the Office of Government Information Technology (OGIT).

The inaccuracies noted by ANAO relate to 14 out of 31 new DFAT employee records. Prior to the audit, the Department put in place with Comsuper interim measures to ensure that members' entitlements were being correctly reconciled and Comsuper confirmed that these interim measures were providing accurate details which meet their requirements. The ANAO did not consult with the department during the preparation of the report.

The Department has been working intensively with the vendor and Comsuper to correct the problem. The issue is common to a number of agencies using similar HRMIS software and the Department is also consulting with these agencies in an attempt to find a permanent automated solution to the problem.

The intermittent nature of the records being incorrectly reported or omitted from the HRMIS data transmissions does not allow them to be readily identified by the department. Nevertheless, Comsuper have confirmed that they are satisfied with the accuracy of the information being provided under the interim arrangements noted above.