Public Accounts and Audit Committee
|Source||House of Reps
|Speaker||Charles, Bob, MP
|Stage||Public Accounts and Audit Committee
Mr CHARLES (5:06 PM) âby leaveâI present the executive minutes on reports Nos 390, 393, 394 and 396 of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, and seek leave to make a short statement in connection with the minutes.
Mr CHARLES âThe first of these reports, Report No. 390, reviewed Auditor-General's reports for the first three quarters of 2001-2002. This report examined four performance audits of the Auditor-General concerning:
the administration of taxation rulings;
Commonwealth estate property sales;
administration of the Federation Fund program; and
the management of security clearances.
I might add, as an aside, that the committee has taken an ongoing interest in the management of security clearances by the Commonwealth including post budget report briefings and ongoing correspondence with the Attorney-General.
The second report, No. 393, was the review of Auditor-General's reports for the fourth quarter of 2001-2002. This report also examined four performance audits of the Auditor-General. The audits focused on:
corporate governance in the ABC;
research project management in CSIRO;
the management framework for preventing unlawful entry into Australian territory; and finally
the management of the DASFLEET sale and tied contract.
The third JCPAA report, No. 394, reviewed Australia's quarantine function. This report mainly reviewed three broad areas:
the parameters within which Australia must operate as a member of the World Trade Organisation;
Australia's quarantine operations at the borders and quarantine preparedness generally; and finally
quarantine public education programs.
The fourth JCPAA report, No. 396, reviewed Auditor-General's reports for the first three quarters of 2002-2003. This report examined 10 performance audits of the Auditor-General. The subjects covered ranged from facilities management at HMAS Cerberus to client service in the Child Support Agency to physical security arrangements in Commonwealth agencies.
The executive minutes to these four committee reports respond to a total of 32 recommendations. I am pleased to say that the vast majority of these recommendations have been accepted by the government. Only two of the committee's recommendations were rejected outright and another was superseded by eventsânamely, the announced abolition of ATSIC.
I note with satisfaction the high rate of support for the committee's recommendations as indicated in these executive minutes. This is especially so as the committee has not shirked from hard hitting recommendations, if warranted by the evidence. Sometimes acceptance of such recommendations has incurred a significant cost to the Commonwealth.
As a final comment, I am pleased to advise that the departments of Finance and Administration and Prime Minister and Cabinet have modified and codified the arrangements by which the executive responds to JCPAA recommendations. I hope that the new procedures will facilitate speedy responses to the committee's recommendations. The committee continues to monitor the implementation of its recommendations and, if it believes that an executive minute has lacked sufficient detail, it has not hesitated to seek further information. The tabling of executive minutes remains an important accountability mechanism both for the committee and the parliament as a whole. The committee looks forward to making future reports to parliament on the responses to more recent reports.