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Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Page: 8271

Mackay Division of General Practice

(Question No. 436)

Mr Christensen asked the Minister for Health and Ageing, in writing, on 21 June 2011:

(1) Is she aware of allegations of financial mismanagement of Government funding by the Mackay Division of General Practice (MDGP); if so, (a) how did her department become aware of the allegations, (b) can she indicate the substance of the allegations, and (c) what investigation of the allegations has her department undertaken, and can she indicate the outcome(s).

(2) Is it a fact that a staff member of the MDGP substantiated the allegations; if so, was this because her department's system for monitoring the expenditure of funding did not independently identify the problem.

(3) Did her department (a) suspend all funding to the MDGP specifically as a result of its investigations, and (b) require General Practice Queensland to continue the administration of federally funded clinical services in the Mackay Region after funding of the MDGP was suspended.

Ms Roxon: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(a) The Department has been concerned about MDGP's financial position since late 2009 as a result of losses incurred in property transactions and business ventures reflected in audited financial statements for MDGP, submitted to the Department under the Divisions of General Practice Program (DGPP) funding agreement. These concerns resulted in a monthly payment and financial reporting regime being instituted for MDGP in 2010.

(b) The substance of the allegations was ongoing financial problems and inappropriate use of Commonwealth funds.

(c) A review of MDGP's financial records was undertaken by the Department's Audit and Fraud Control Branch. The review concluded inappropriate allocation of Commonwealth funds. A Debtor Tax Invoice was provided to MDGP for unspent/inappropriately used Commonwealth funds.

(2) Yes, staff confirmed the Department's concerns.

As outlined in 1(a), the Department's system for monitoring expenditure had already identified MDGP as a concern and had already put additional monitoring in place.


(a) Funding was suspended as a result of the Department's investigations.

(b) The Board of MDGP indicated to the Department their intention to cease trading on Friday, 6 May 2011 and recommended that General Practice Queensland (GPQ) would be an appropriate organisation to continue providing Commonwealth funded services which were currently provided by MDGP. The Department and GPQ agreed and entered into a contract with GPQ to assume responsibility for auspicing Commonwealth funded services in the Mackay region.