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Tuesday, 2 June 1987
Page: 3790

Mr PRICE —by leave-On behalf of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts, I wish to make a brief statement in relation to the Committee's review of the Australian Taxation Office's proposed computer redevelopment and re-equipment program. This review has been conducted under the terms of the Committee's standing reference from Parliament to review proposals by Commonwealth departments and agencies to acquire major computer facilities-that is, facilities valued at more than $5m. The Taxation Office's proposed program is estimated to cost $693m over the next 10 years.

The Treasurer (Mr Keating) wrote to the Committee on 18 February 1987 advising that Cabinet had granted in-principle approval to a major staged computer systems redevelopment and re-equipment project by the Australian Taxation Office. The Treasurer requested that the Committee consider the matter in sufficient time to enable a request for tender to be issued in June 1987. A submission dealing with the Taxation Office's computer system redevelopment and re-equipment program was forwarded to the Committee by the Commissioner of Taxation on 27 February 1987.

The Committee's review is involving a detailed examination of the Taxation Office's proposed program. The Committee has a number of concerns which relate to lease-purchase arrangements the Taxation Office entered into in 1985 to acquire additional mainframe computers. The Committee notes that the Government is desirous of issuing a request for tender as soon as possible.

The Committee had intended to present a report to Parliament on this review by the end of this sitting period; however, the calling of an election now prevents this from happening. A report should be presented to the Parliament by the Sixteenth Committee of Public Accounts.