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Tuesday, 2 June 1987
Page: 3788

Mr CONQUEST —On behalf of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, I present the 279th report of the Committee, the response to report 253 on proposed computer acquisition by the Australian Audit Office.

Ordered that the report be printed.

Mr CONQUEST —by leave-The Committee presented its 253rd report, on a proposed computer acquisition by the Australian Audit Office, on 11 June 1986. The report was the first to be presented by the Committee under the terms of its standing reference to investigate and report on proposed acquisitions of automatic data processing facilities by Commonwealth departments or authorities staffed under the Public Service Act.

This report, the 279th from the Committee, documents the Finance minute which was submitted in response to the Committee's 253rd report. While the Committee concluded that the proposed acquisition was justified, the recommendations of the 253rd report emphasised the need for greater scrutiny of automatic data processing acquisition proposals both by the senior management of the proponent agency and by the co-ordinating agencies involved in the approval and acquisition process. The report also stressed the responsibilities of the heads of acquiring organisations and of the Department of Finance to ensure that the performance and benefits of these facilities were monitored and periodically reviewed.

The Committee is generally satisfied with the response to its 253rd report. The Department of Finance has agreed to the recommendations on the general issues of benefits and post-implementation review. However, the Committee is concerned that the Department of Finance does not see a greater role for itself in monitoring the performance of ADP projects once funding has been approved. The Committee also felt that the measures outlined by the Australian Audit Office for post-implementation review were insufficiently detailed and expects the Department of Finance to pay close attention to the conduct of this review when further funding is requested.

Report 253 also contained recommendations concerning the `Guidelines for ADP Acquisition' promulgated by the Department of Local Government and Administrative Services. These are still being revised and the Committee will consider them at a later date. I commend the report to honourable members. I also endorse the remarks of the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Tickner) regarding the contribution to this Parliament made by Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle.