Public Accountability Committee

17th March 2021

Report: Examination of Auditor-General Performance Audit Reports February 2019-July 2019

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Ms Sonia Hornery): The question is that the House take note of the report.

Mr GREG PIPER (Lake Macquarie) (12:55): As Chair: In accordance with its legislative responsibility outlined in section 57 of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983, the Public Accounts Committee resolved at its meeting on 22 October 2020 to commence an examination of the Auditor-General's performance audits from February 2019 to July 2019. The process for these examinations included inviting a submission from responsible agencies 12 months after the tabling of the audit; referring agencies' submissions to the Auditor-General for comment; and, where the committee determined that further information was required, inviting agency representatives and the Auditor-General to a hearing to provide additional information.

The report reviewed 10 performance audits covering the period from February 2019 to July 2019. They were:Workforce reform in three amalgamated councils;Governance of Local Health Districts;Managing growth in NSW prison populations;Well-being of secondary school students;Domestic waste management in Campbelltown City Council and Fairfield City Council;Biosecurity risk management;Development assessment: pre-lodgement and lodgement in Camden City Council and Randwick City Council;Contracting non-government organisations;Managing native vegetation; andEnsuring contract management capability in Government– Department of Education.

The first four of those audits were subject to a public hearing held on 20 November 2020, while some written clarification of matters was sought in regard to the reports on workforce reform in three amalgamated councils, the wellbeing of secondary school students, domestic waste management in Campbelltown and Fairfield city councils, development assessment in Camden and Randwick city councils, contracting non-government organisations, and ensuring contract management capability in government—specifically in the Department of Education. With some exceptions, the committee is generally satisfied that the responsible agencies are implementing the Auditor-General's recommendations while identifying areas where more action is required. The committee noted that the respective agencies should be commended for their effort given the disruption and additional challenges resulting from last year's bushfire emergency and the COVID pandemic.

That said, the committee has made a total of four recommendations to New South Wales Government agencies. They seek to address the pressures of long-term growth in the New South Wales prison population in the context of criminal justice reform, the public release of native vegetation maps to assist landholders in the management of our ecosystem and make general improvements to reporting systems. I trust that the insights and recommendations deriving from this examination produce useful improvements for those agencies, and therefore to the public overall. I am pleased to present this report and thank the Auditor-General, Margaret Crawford, and Audit Office staff for their assistance in this inquiry.

I also wish to thank my committee colleagues—the Deputy Chair and member for Mulgoa, the member for Albury, the member for Heathcote, the member for Keira and the member for North Shore. Of course, it goes without saying—but it should be said—that I thank the committee secretariat, and I particularly note Mr Bjarne Nordin. Without the knowledge and expertise that the secretariat brings to these things it would be a trial for even the most experienced committee members to progress such complex matters. I thank the secretariat staff for their support throughout the inquiry process. I commend the report the House.

Report noted.

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Ms Sonia Hornery): I shall now leave the chair. The House will resume at 2.15 p.m.

Website: Read the Parliamentary Hansard here

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