Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 22 November 1993
Page: 3383


Senator TROETH (9.49 p.m.) —by leave—I move:

1.Clause 5, page 5, at end of proposed paragraph 76 (1)(a), add the following subparagraph:

  "(iv) a Regional Council;".

2.Clause 5, pages 5 and 6, proposed paragraphs 76(1)(c) to (n), line 19 (page 5) to line 32 (page 6), omit the paragraphs, substitute the following paragraphs:

"(c) to evaluate and audit the operations or activities of the following:

      (i)  a body that has received money from Aboriginal Hostels Limited, but only to the extent that the evaluation or audit concerns that money;

      (ii)  a body that has received money from the Corporation, but only to the extent that the evaluation or audit concerns that money;

      (iii)  an individual who has received one or more grants or loans from the Commission, but only to the extent that the evaluation or audit concerns those grants or loans;

      (iv)  a body corporate that has received one or more grants or loans from the Commission, but only to the extent that the evaluation or audit concerns those grants or loans;

      (v)  an unincorporated body that has received one or more grants or loans from the Commission, but only to the extent that the evaluation or audit concerns those grants or loans;

      (vi)  a borrower, being an individual one or more of whose loans have been guaranteed by the Commission, but only to the extent that the evaluation or audit concerns those guarantees;

      (vii)a borrower, being a body corporate one or more of whose loans have been guaranteed by the Commission, but only to the extent that the evaluation or audit concerns those guarantees;

      (viii)a borrower, being an unincorporated body one or more of whose loans have been guaranteed by the Commission, but only to the extent that the evaluation or audit concerns those guarantees;

"(d)to report on evaluations and audits conducted in accordance with paragraph (a) or (b), in writing, to the Commission and the Minister at least every 3 months;

"(e)to report on evaluations and audits conducted in accordance with sub-paragraph (c)(i), in writing, to Aboriginal Hostels Limited and the Minister at least every 3 months;

"(f)to report on evaluations and audits conducted in accordance with sub-paragraph (c)(ii), in writing, to the Corporation and the Minister at least every 3 months;

"(g)to report on evaluations and audits conducted in accordance with sub-paragraph (c)(iii), (c)(iv), (c)(v), (c)(vi), (c)(vii) or (c)(viii), in writing, to the Commission and the Minister at least every 3 months.".

Both of these amendments relate to accountability. In view of some of the remarks expressed tonight about accountability, I suggest that these amendments are not unreasonably high. Accountability is about the use of taxpayers' money.

  Through the first amendment, we propose to move regional councils into the group of bodies that are to be audited regularly. A regional council will be joined with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, Aboriginal Hostels Ltd and the Commercial Development Corporation so that a regional council, as well as those bodies, will be evaluated and audited regularly.

  The coalition sees no reason why regional councils should not be audited also as a requirement. If public money is being used, it should be subject to scrutiny—and I wish to echo the remarks of my fellow senators, Senator Ferguson and Senator Panizza—on the grounds of accountability. All public bodies should be regularly scrutinised and we fail to see why regional councils should not be subject to this also.

  The second part of the amendment deals with the fact that under the legislation the evaluation or audit is to be at the discretion of the minister and as required by the organisation concerned. The coalition would prefer to see this requirement on a regular basis. We realise that there are quite a few bodies or organisations which would be involved in this evaluation or audit, but we suggest that the amount of work will vary according to the size of the organisation or the size of the body involved and that it will be lesser or greater according to that size.

  The explanatory memorandum deals with strengthening the role of the Office of Evaluation and Audit. We suggest that, unlike the draconian effects suggested by some of the other speakers, our amendment does want to strengthen it further and that, by these amendments being implemented, that result would be effected.