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Wednesday, 25 March 1987
Page: 1499

Dr WATSON —On behalf of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts I present the 268th report of the Committee, the response to munitions production trust account report.

Ordered that the report be printed.

Dr WATSON —by leave-This report details the Government's response to the Committee's 244th report, which recommended the abolition of the munitions production trust account. In line with the Committee's recommendations, the Government has agreed to abolish the account and to improve the level of reporting of other trust accounts to provide more detailed information to the Parliament.

The munitions production trust account was created in 1966 to finance munitions manufacture in government factories for departments of the Commonwealth and other governments and authorities. The account was a holding account financing the production of munitions. It enabled factories to obtain reimbursement for production undertaken in advance of payment from the Department of Defence or overseas customers. The Committee's inquiry recommended the closure of the account to eliminate double accounting, abolish unnecessary administrative costs and overcome poor management of funds. Additionally, the Committee found that there was an urgent need to improve the level and quality of financial reports and other trust accounts to Parliament. The Government's acceptance of the Committee's recommendations means that individual government munitions factories will become more accountable publicly for their operations and performance. I commend the report to honourable members.