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Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee
09/04/2019
Estimates
FINANCE PORTFOLIO

FINANCE PORTFOLIO

In A ttendance

Senator Cormann, Minister for Finance and the Public Service

Senator Seselja, Assistant Minister for Treasury and Finance

Department of Finance

Executive

Ms Rosemary Huxtable PSM, Secretary, Department of Finance

Outcome 1— Support sustainable Australian government finances through providing high - quality policy advice and operational support to government and Commonwealth entities to maintain effective and ef ficient use of public resources

Mr David Fredericks, Deputy Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Ms Katherine Jones PSM, Deputy Secretary, Business Enabling Services

Ms Amanda Lee, First Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Dr Arthur Camilleri, Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Mr Damien Adler, Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Ms Donna Degen, Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Mr Geoff Painton, Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Mr Gareth Sebar, Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Mr Paul Hupalo, Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Ms Rachael Spalding, First Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Mr Martin Graham, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Mr Mark Richardson, Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Mr Nick McClintock, Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Ms Jen Stace, Acting Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Mr Libor Pelecky, First Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Ms Chris Schweizer, Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Mr Scott Austin, Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Ms Donna Valenti, Assistant Secretary, Budget and Financial Reporting

Dr Stein Helgeby, Deputy Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Ms Tracey Carroll, First Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Ms Angela Baum, Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Mr Marc Vickers, Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Mr Peter Gibson, Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Mr Lembit Suur, First Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Mr Neil Robertson, Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Mr Ian Nicholas, Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Ms Rina Bruinsma, First Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation.

Mr Gareth Hall, Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Mr Michael Di Francesco, Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Outcome 2— Support an efficient and high-performing public sector through providing leadership to Commonwealth entities in ongoing improvements to public sector governance, including through syst ems, frameworks, policy, advice and service delivery

Mr Andrew Jaggers, Deputy Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Ms Stacie Hall, First Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Mr Nicholas Hunt, First Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Ms Vivianne Johnson, First Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Mr Andrew Bourne, Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Ms Anne Collins, Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Ms Tiffany Karlsson, Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Ms Elizabeth Hickey, Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Mr Andrew Staines, Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Mr Matthew Whitfort, Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Ms Lorraine Holcroft, Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Mr Andrew Danks, Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Mr Jason Ford, Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Mr Stephen Sorbello, Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Government Services

Dr Stein Helgeby, Deputy Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Ms Katherine Jones PSM, Deputy Secretary, Business Enabling Services

Mr Craig Donovan, Acting Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Mr Lembit Suur, First Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Ms Kim Baker, Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Ms Kim-Louise Benning, Acting Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Ms Rina Bruinsma, First Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Mr Gareth Hall, Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Mr Michael Di Francesco, Assistant Secretary, Governance and Australian Public Service Transformation

Mr John Sheridan, First Assistant Secretary, Business Enabling Services

Ms Lucelle Veneros, First Assistant Secretary, Business Enabling Services

Outcome 3— Support for parliamentarians and others as required by the Australian government through the delivery of, and advice on, entitlements and targeted assistance

Ms Katherine Jones PSM, Deputy Secretary, Business Enabling Services

Mr David De Silva, First Assistant Secretary, Business Enabling Services

Mr Brent Heaver, Assistant Secretary, Business Enabling Services

Ms Lauren Barons, Assistant Secretary, Business Enabling Services

Ms Rachel Antone, Assistant Secretary, Business Enabling Services

General

Mr Scott Dilley, First Assistant Secretary, Business Enabling Services

Mr John Sheridan, First Assistant Secretary, Business Enabling Services

Mr Grant Stevens, Acting Chief Financial Officer, Business Enabling Services

Ms Cassie Alexander, Assistant Secretary, HR Branch, Business Enabling Services

Ms Carolyn Driessen, Assistant Secretary, Parliamentary Coordination and Corporate Engagement, Business Enabling Services

Ms Dana Sutton, Assistant Secretary, Legal and Assurance Branch, Business Enabling Services

Mr Dean Edwards, Assistant Secretary, Facilities Management Branch, Business Enabling Services

Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority

Ms Annwyn Godwin, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Lauren Alcantara, Branch Manager

Mr Michael Frost, Branch Manager

Mr Tony de Smet, Acting Branch Manager

Mr Craig Maconachie, Chief Financial Officer

Ms Petra Gartmann, Branch Manager, Finance, Executive Support and Assurance

Australian Electoral Commission

Mr Tom Rogers, Electoral Commissioner

Mr Jeff Pope, Deputy Electoral Commissioner

Mr Tim Courtney, First Assistant Commissioner

Mr Andrew Gately, First Assistant Commissioner

Mr Paul Pirani, Chief Legal Officer

Mrs Erin Clark, Chief Finance Officer

Mrs Lynn White, Assistant Commissioner

Future Fund Management Agency

Mr David Neal, Chief Executive Officer

Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation

Mr Peter Carrigy-Ryan, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Andrew Young, Chief Operating Officer

Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd

Mr David Knox, Chief Executive Officer

ASC Pty Ltd

Mr Stuart Whiley, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director

Mr Martin Edwards, General Manager, Maritime Services Group

Mr Ashley Menadue, Chief Financial Officer

Committee met at 09:01

CHAIR ( Senator Paterson ): I declare open this meeting of the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee. Today the committee will continue its examination of the budget estimates for 2019-20. It will hear from department and agencies of the Finance portfolio as listed on today's program. The committee may also examine the annual reports of the departments and agencies appearing before it. The committee has fixed 24 May 2019 as the date for the return of answers to questions taken on notice. Officers should be aware that the date has effect notwithstanding the potential prorogation of the parliament. The committee has further scheduled a hearing on Friday 12 April for cross-portfolio Indigenous matters and is due to report on Tuesday 14 May 2019.

Under standing order 26 the committee must take all evidence in public session. This includes answers to questions taken on notice. I remind all witnesses that in giving evidence to the committee they are protected by parliamentary privilege. It is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of evidence given to a committee, and such action may be treated by the Senate as a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee. The Senate by resolution in 1999 endorsed the following test of relevance of questions at estimates hearings:

Any questions going to the operations or financial positions of the departments and agencies which are seeking funds in the estimates are relevant questions for the purpose of estimates hearings.

I remind officers that the Senate has resolved that there are no areas in connection with the expenditure of public funds where any person has the discretion to withhold details or explanations from the parliament or its committees unless the parliament has expressly provided otherwise. The Senate has resolved also that an officer of a department of the Commonwealth shall not be asked to give opinions on matters of policy and shall be given reasonable opportunity to refer questions asked of the officer to superior officers or to a minister. This resolution prohibits only questions asking for opinions on matters of policy and does not preclude questions asking for explanations of policies or factual questions about when and how policies were adopted. I particularly draw the attention of witnesses to an order of the Senate of 13 May 2009 specifying a process by which a claim of public interest immunity should be raised, which will be incorporated in Hansard.

The extract read as follows—

Public interest immunity claims

That the Senate—

(a) notes that ministers and officers have continued to refuse to provide information to Senate committees without properly raising claims of public interest immunity as required by past resolutions of the Senate;

(b) reaffirms the principles of past resolutions of the Senate by this order, to provide ministers and officers with guidance as to the proper process for raising public interest immunity claims and to consolidate those past resolutions of the Senate;

(c) orders that the following operate as an order of continuing effect:

(1) If:

(a) a Senate committee, or a senator in the course of proceedings of a committee, requests information or a document from a Commonwealth department or agency; and

(b) an officer of the department or agency to whom the request is directed believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the officer shall state to the committee the ground on which the officer believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, and specify the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(2) If, after receiving the officer’s statement under paragraph (1), the committee or the senator requests the officer to refer the question of the disclosure of the information or document to a responsible minister, the officer shall refer that question to the minister.

(3) If a minister, on a reference by an officer under paragraph (2), concludes that it would not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the minister shall provide to the committee a statement of the ground for that conclusion, specifying the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(4) A minister, in a statement under paragraph (3), shall indicate whether the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee could result only from the publication of the information or document by the committee, or could result, equally or in part, from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee as in camera evidence.

(5) If, after considering a statement by a minister provided under paragraph (3), the committee concludes that the statement does not sufficiently justify the withholding of the information or document from the committee, the committee shall report the matter to the Senate.

(6) A decision by a committee not to report a matter to the Senate under paragraph (5) does not prevent a senator from raising the matter in the Senate in accordance with other procedures of the Senate.

(7) A statement that information or a document is not published, or is confidential, or consists of advice to, or internal deliberations of, government, in the absence of specification of the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document, is not a statement that meets the requirements of paragraph (1) or (4).

(8) If a minister concludes that a statement under paragraph (3) should more appropriately be made by the head of an agency, by reason of the independence of that agency from ministerial direction or control, the minister shall inform the committee of that conclusion and the reason for that conclusion, and shall refer the matter to the head of the agency, who shall then be required to provide a statement in accordance with paragraph (3).

(d) requires the Procedure Committee to review the operation of this order and report to the Senate by 20 August 2009.

(13 May 2009 J.1941)

(Extract, Senate Standing Orders)

CHAIR: Witnesses are specifically reminded that a statement that information or a document is confidential or consists of advice to government is not a statement that meets the requirements of the 2009 order; witnesses are instead required to provide some specific indication of the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or the document. Officers are requested to keep opening statements brief or to seek to incorporate longer statements into the Hansard.