Some of the ACT’s most contentious issues – including light rail, urban renewal, and affordable housing – will come under the gaze of Auditor-General Michael Harris over the next 12 months.
Mr Harris has announced the Performance Audit Program for 2019-20 and Potential Audits for 2020-21 and beyond.
“The forward Performance Audit Program has been developed after consultation and a strategic analysis to identify the topic areas; topics selected continue to focus on high risks to the Territory,” he said.
The next reports to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly are Shared Services and Maintenance of school infrastructure, with new investigations to cover Data security, Chronic diseases programs and services, Waste management, Affordable housing, Canberra Light Rail, Health services for detainees, Planning and development processes for urban renewal, Use of closed-circuit television, Support for Indigenous persons, ACT Ambulance Service, Transfer of workers compensation arrangements from ComCare.
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There will be intense interest in the light rail project, which a recent Government report described as being successfully delivered. Calling it a large financial commitment for the Territory with significant risks, the audit will consider the ACT Government’s management of the implementation of the first stage of the Capital Metro Light Rail and whether and how lessons learnt from it have been incorporated into planning for Stage 2 to Woden.
The Government’s urban renewal program for the city and inner suburbs of Canberra, particularly along the Northbourne corridor and the gateway to Canberra, and its planning processes have been the subject of great debate. The audit will focus on overall coordination, governance and accountability arrangements, as well as considering the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate’s engagement with the community.
The Government’s Housing Strategy is a $100 million program that aims to increase the stock of affordable homes in the ACT and access to them in response to what has been described as a crisis and market failure. The audit will consider the governance and administrative arrangements associated with its implementation, monitoring and reporting, as well as specific actions and initiatives.
Topics of interest slated for the following year include Teacher and teaching quality, the Ginninderry Joint Venture and the Suburban Land Agency’s ability to manage its participation in light of the cross-border issues to be resolved, and the effectiveness of the EPSDD’s administration of the Crown lease variation process, including the approvals, lease variation charges, and changes to leases.
Also on the to-do list is the management of Transport Canberra buses and the integration of bus and light rail services and the EPSDD’s management of the Transition to Zero Emissions Vehicles Action Plan 2018-2021, including the government vehicle fleet, e-bikes, establishment of new charging infrastructure and incentives to purchase zero emission vehicles.
For 2021-22, the Auditor’s program includes the hot topics of Regulation of building construction, with a particular focus on building certification, and School safety, including the Enforceable Undertaking with WorkSafe
ACT and whether incidents have been over or under-reported and whether managers are taking this information on board.