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Tuesday, 26 May 1987
Page: 3317

Mr TICKNER —On behalf of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, I present the 274th report of the Committee, the response to the report on the Auditor-General's reports-1982-83 and September 1983.

Ordered that the report be printed.

Mr TICKNER —by leave-The Committee presented its 233rd report on the reports of the Auditor-General for 1982-83 and September 1983 on 29 May 1985. This report, the 274th from the Committee, sets out the response to its findings in report 233. The items raised in the Committee's earlier report have largely elicited a satisfactory response. Of the outstanding matters, the most significant were the administration of aspects of the Bankruptcy Act by the Attorney-General's Department and the collection of dividends and interest withholding tax by the Australian Taxation Office.

In its earlier report the Committee was concerned that there had been delays in the Attorney-General's Department implementing the bankruptcy official receivers information system, a computer-based accounting and statistical system. The delays have been raised in successive reports of the Auditor-General. However, the Department has indicated that the system is now operational. Despite this there still appear to be problems in securing the filing of accounts of registered trustees and delays in the distribution of dividends. The Committee will continue to keep this matter under review.

The Committee was also concerned at the reported inefficiencies in the administration of dividends and interest withholding taxes. The Committee remains concerned at the response by the Taxation Office to several of the matters raised. In respect of the reliance on voluntary compliance, the Committee considers that the Taxation Office should institute procedures to provide an independent check, and make greater efforts to determine statistically what level of compliance with the legislation can be expected. The Committee is currently examining the proposed computer acquisition by the Taxation Office. The Committee expects that the dividend and interest withholding tax system will be greatly improved as a result. This matter will also be kept under review by the Committee. I commend this report to honourable members.