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12 March 1991 - Current

 
19 June 2019
Page 2260
19 June 2019
ASSEMBLY Report on the Appointment of a Person to Conduct the Financial Audit of the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office Frank McGuire
Mr McGUIRE (Broadmeadows) (10:44:37): I refer to the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee inquiry into the appointment of a person to conduct the financial audit of the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO). The importance of who audits the Auditor-General is a response to the age-old issue of who watches the watchers, or to refer to the Roman poet Juvenal, the way he put it was, 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?’. The literal translation defines this as 'Who will guard the guardians themselves?’. This is a significant job. The committee in its report made the recommendation that to expedite the financial audit of the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office for the year ending 30 June 2019 the audit services of Mr Geoff Parker be renewed and that he conduct the financial audit of VAGO for the year ending 30 June 2019. The reasons they have given are important to put on the record in the Parliament. They include his qualifications. He is a director at Nexia Melbourne, an accounting firm in Melbourne, which is also a member of Nexia Australia and New Zealand, which has offices not only in capital cities across Australia but also in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and is a registered company auditor. According to the report, the committee considers that Mr Parker has demonstrated a strength of experience in auditing VAGO and has demonstrated an excellent audit approach, including an understanding of applicable accounting standards and of the responsibilities demanded of a financial auditor at this standard over the previous three-year period. That is the view of the committee on the role to be played and its significance. This is one of the first reports to come through. As we go into other roles and have further committee reports, I will return to some of the themes that I have covered in previous Parliaments. But before I move on to those, I think it is important to actually acknowledge the new committee chair, who is the member for Pascoe Vale. There was some commentary earlier today, which I just want to put to one side. I have seen the member for Pascoe Vale as the senior vice-president of the Victorian ALP in the role of chair, and I can tell you this will be a highly rigorous, disciplined, tightly run committee. I know from parliamentary experience as well that the member for Pascoe Vale has also been the chair of SARC, the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee. You have someone who is widely experienced in parliamentary procedure and you have someone who has the political nous and skill, so I think this is an outstanding appointment and should be applauded by the Parliament. We heard some gratuitous commentary that I will let go. I also do want to acknowledge the commitment and rigour brought by the former Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, the Honourable Philip Dalidakis, who has now stepped down from this Parliament. I worked with him as Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Innovation previously, and he brought a lot of drive and rigour to this portfolio. He was very well regarded by the sectors—and that is probably the best way to analyse this—and he did a lot throughout the state. I know that as minister for trade this took a lot of his time away from his home and his family and he is wanting to get a better work-life balance, so I wish him well in his future jobs and with his family. In summing up, in my contributions in the past I have looked at how we can collaborate better between different tiers of government to drive strategic results, so I am pleased that we do have a city deal for Melbourne’s north and west. This is a really important proposition that we can get to to get new infrastructure and get some investment where it is needed most, particularly from the Australian government. We are looking at major projects and how that will unfold. This will obviously be subject to further negotiations, but I think it is a real opportunity because we need the federal government to be a partner, not a bystander.