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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 implementation of the computer re-equipment program of the Department of Social Security, which is known as Stratplan. The Minister for Social Security announced his Department's major computer re-equipment program in June 1983 and also announced that in view of the costly and complex nature of the program the Government had decided to refer it to the Joint Committee of Public Accounts for monitoring and report. Since that time the Committee has presented two reports on the implementation of Stratplan to the Parliament. The first report, report 225, was tabled in October 1984 and the second report, report 237, was tabled in August 1985.

The Committee believes that these reports have been helpful not only to the Department of Social Security but also to all Commonwealth departments and agencies in alerting them to the difficulties associated with the implementation of major computer systems. More recently the Committee has been working towards the preparation of a third and final report. It is the view of the Committee that it has now completed the monitoring task given to it in 1983. Due to the calling of the election this report will not be tabled during the current sitting period. The Sixteenth Committee of Public Accounts will have responsibility for this report. However, I anticipate that it will be tabled during the Budget sitting.

I also wish to endorse the remarks of the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Tickner), concerning Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle which were endorsed by other Committee members. It was my privilege to serve with her on the then ADP sub-committee, which she chaired and subsequently relinquished, which coincided with the change of name to the information and technology sub-committee. However, I must say that Dame Margaret has left me with the dubious distinction of having chaired three inquiries, the reports of which will not be tabled in this Parliament but in the next. It was a pleasure to work with Dame Margaret. She gave very generously of her unbounded knowledge. As has been mentioned, at all times she had great style, composure and a great ability to get to the heart of a matter very quickly and directly. I am sure that not only honourable senators but also honourable members would want to wish Dame Margaret all the best in her retirement and enjoyment of her family which she holds dearly.