Investigation into Commonwealth government procurement

Airservices Australia’s procurement of a new air traffic control system
will be investigated.



A raft of new inquiries will examine the Commonwealth government’s procurement methods, how it measures its own performance and the levels of risk it carries, including gauging the government’s success in reducing disability benefit claims, the reasons for cost blowouts at Nauru and Manus Island detention centres and Airservices Australia’s procurement of a new air traffic control system.

The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) will tackle some controversial issues on the back of a number of Auditor-General audit reports including:

Commonwealth procurement

  • Cost blowouts and “serious and persistent deficiencies” in the procurement of garrison support and welfare services at offshore processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island
  • The delivery and monitoring of health services in offshore immigration detention centres
  • Shortcomings in Airservices’ procurement of the OneSKY Australia system, which replaces Airservices Australiaa’s civil air traffic system and a Department of Defence system dealing with military air traffic.

Commonwealth performance framework

  • Improving the reporting of performance by departments to strengthen their accountability, including in the Higher Education Loan Program

Commonwealth risk management

  • Evaluating changes to the Disability Support Pension (DSP), including tightening up eligibility requirements and work capacity assessments. The 2012 changes aimed to shift more people off DSP and limit new claimants

Public sector governance

  • Assessing whether the federal government’s deregulation agenda has been successful.


The JCPAA is a central committee of Parliament and has the power to initiate its own inquiries on the Commonwealth public sector. It examines all the reports of the Auditor-General tabled in the Parliament and can drill down into anything connected with these reports.

Newly-elected Committee Chair, Senator Dean Smith, said that the JCPAA examined whether public money was used efficiently, effectively and ethically.

“The JCPAA has an important role in holding Commonwealth agencies to account and our inquiries further strengthen the performance and accountability of agencies entrusted with billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money,” Senator Smith said.

“The Committee is focusing on common audit themes identified by the Auditor-General. By taking a thematic approach to these inquiries, the Committee seeks to encourage improvements and shared learning in key areas of public administration.”

Auditor-General’s reports were valuable because they identified areas for improvement in public administration and detailed examples of good public administration, he said.

The deadline for submissions to the inquiries is Monday November 7. Public hearings will be held from late November 2016.

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