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Thursday, 18 November 1993
Page: 3080


Senator PANIZZA —I give notice that, on the first day of sitting in 1994, I shall move:

  That, if the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs does not satisfactorily cover the concerns expressed in this motion by 31 January 1994, the following matter be referred to a Senate Select Committee for inquiry and report on or before the last day of sitting in June 1994:

  The operations of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) and any other body, company or corporation which receives funding from ATSIC with particular regard to:

    (a)the accountability of ATSIC, ALS and ATSIC-funded bodies and individuals for the way in which they receive, spend and publicly account for taxpayers' money with particular reference to project grant money;

    (b)whether there is an effective working relationship between the Department of Social Security and ATSIC, endeavouring to identify the factors which have made some community development and employment projects (CDEP) successful while others have failed;

    (c)whether it is appropriate for ATSIC to continue funding all of its current programs, with particular reference to the CDEP, or whether greater levels of accountability could be obtained if responsibility for that program were transferred to the Department of Social Security;

    (d)whether there are sufficient guidelines, controls, checks and acquittal procedures applied to ATSIC, ALS and other ATSIC-funded bodies to ensure that taxpayers' funds are fairly and properly applied for the purposes intended under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989, especially concerning the levels of spending approval authority and effective use of capital item expenditure;

    (e)whether there are sufficient guidelines and procedures in place to control satisfactorily the expenditure of taxpayers' funds on travel and accommodation by ATSIC commissioners, councillors and staff, and by members or employees of any ATSIC-funded body; and

    (f)whether ATSIC should continue to hold discretionary power to disregard non-compliance with conditions applying to grant money which it has distributed, or whether the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989 should be amended to require the refund of such money where grant conditions are not met.