Scrutiny

Ombudsman reporting

During the reporting period the Directorate was not subject to any investigations by the Ombudsman, and did not receive any ‘warm transfer’ complaints for action.

Auditor-General reports

ACT Auditor-General’s Final Audit Management Report for the Year Ended 30 June 2014

RecommendationActionStatus

The Directorate should provide clear, concise, objective and independently verifiable explanations for major variances in the financial statements and management discussion and analysis.

Partially agreed.

The Directorate will try and strengthen variance explanations where it is required to assist in understanding the financial statements.

An assumed knowledge of the basic functions of the Directorate is needed otherwise the financial statements and management discussion and analysis will increase in size manyfold. The Directorate does not believe explaining every program and government decision will add value to the overall understanding of the statements.

Action complete

The Directorate will work towards providing clearer explanations of variances in the Statement of Performance.

Agreed.

The Directorate should provide clear, concise, objective and independently verifiable explanations for major variances in the Statement of Performance.

Action complete

The Directorate should improve its processes for ensuring that information supporting the calculation of extension of time to build fee revenue and receivables is free of errors.

Agreed.

The Directorate will review the information and subsequent calculation of extension of time to build revenue more thoroughly before preparing journals for submission in the financial statements.

Action complete

ACT Auditor-General’s Interim Audit Management Report for the Year Ended 30 June 2014

Recommendation No.ActionStatus

The Directorate should:

  • Include the dates additional risk mitigation strategies will be implemented or reviewed in risk registers;
  • Ensure business unit/divisional risk registers are consistent with the Directorate’s strategic risk register; and
  • Complete and approve its risk management plan and risk registers.

Agreed.

The Directorate is working with its consultant with the aim of completing the review of the risk management plan in the near future. The Directorate recognises that the recommendations contained in this report form an important part of an effective risk management framework.

Action complete

The Directorate should ensure that:

  • Salary reports are consistently reviewed in a timely manner (e.g. within two weeks of the end of the fortnight); and
  • Documentation supporting the review of salary reports is retained, regardless of whether an error or anomaly has been identified.

Agreed.

A new system, utilising the Directorate’s document management system, will be put in place to ensure the timely review of all salary reports.

Action complete

Auditor-General Report No.1/2015–ACT Audit Office Performance Audit Debt Management February 2015

Recommendation No.ActionStatus

Recommendation 4 Monitoring and Reporting (Chapter 4)

The Justice and Community Safety Directorate and the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate should improve their debt management monitoring and reporting by regularly preparing whole-of-directorate debt management reports.

Whole-of-government response yet to be finalised.

In progress.

Auditor-General Report No.3/2015–ACT Audit Office Restoration of the Lower Cotter Catchment May 2015

A Government response on the Auditor-General’s Performance Audit on the Restoration of the Lower Cotter Catchment (May 2015) is yet to be finalised. This will be reported in the 2015–16 Annual Report.

Legislative Assembly sub-committee reports

Government response / submission to a legislative assembly committee report

Public Accounts Committee (PAC)

Report NameTabled and response dueRecommendationsStatus

Report No.
10—Review of A-G’s Report No. 3 of 2013 - ACT Government Parking Operations

Tabled 24/3/2015

Due by 29/10/15

Recommendation 1

3.6 The Committee recommends that the ACT Government report to the ACT Legislative Assembly, by the last sitting day in October 2015, on the progress and effectiveness of the Government’s implementation of the recommendations, made in Auditor-General’s Report No. 3 of 2013—ACT Government Parking Operations, that have been accepted either in-whole or in-part. This should include: (i) a summary of action to date, either completed or in progress (including milestones completed); and (ii) the proposed action (including timetable), for implementing recommendations (or parts thereof), where action has not yet commenced.

Recommendation 2

3.19 The Committee recommends that the ACT Government upon completion of the installation of the 300 new smart technology parking machines: (i) evaluate the implementation of the smart parking payment technology in 12 months time—with particular reference to the smart parking methods that are now functional in the ACT; and (ii) provide a copy of the final evaluation report to the ACT Legislative Assembly within three months of completion.

Recommendation 3

3.30 The Committee recommends that the ACT Government ensure that all responsible directorates and agencies make sure that recommendations made in Auditor-General’s Report No. 3 of 2013—ACT Government Parking Operations are appropriately monitored and addressed under the new ACT Public Service directorate structure.

Agreed

The Government supports the recommendations and the Government will be providing a full response to all of the recommendations in October 2015.

Report No. 9—Review of A-Gs Report No. 3 of 2014—Single Dwelling Development Assessments

Tabled 24/3/2015

Due by 29/10/15

Recommendation 1

3.9 The Committee recommends that the ACT Government report to the ACT Legislative Assembly, by the last sitting day in October 2015, on the progress and effectiveness of the Government’s implementation of the recommendations, made in Auditor-General’s Report No. 3 of 2014: Single Dwelling Development Assessments, that have been accepted either in-whole or in-part.

Agreed

Report No. 6—Inquiry into the Implementation of Action Plan 2 (Climate Change Strategy)

Tabled 17/3/2015

Due by
17/6/2015

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends that the Assembly continue to review the AP2 reports presented to it and consider a more detailed assessment of implementation following the release of Implementation Status Report 2 in 2017.

Agreed

The Government also notes that the Environment and Planning Directorate will conduct a review of AP2 during 2015 as scheduled in the action plan and will continue to prepare and release AP2 Implementation Status Updates at regular six monthly intervals. Read the most recent update for January 2015.

The Government would also like to advise the Standing Committee that a formal response to the first Implementation Status Report will be released in 2015

Planning, Environment and Territory and Municipal Services Committee (PETAMS)

Report NameTabled and response due RecommendationsStatus

Report No. 7 on Annual and Financial Reports 2013–14

Tabled 19/3/2015

Due by
19/6/15

Recommendation 2

4.9 The Committee recommends that the Minister for the Environment update the Assembly on the results of water quality monitoring of Yerrabi Ponds by June 2015.

Agreed

The Minister for the Environment provided an update to the Assembly on 4 June 2015.

Report No. 8 on Territory Plan Draft Variation No. 309 Turner Bus Layover

Tabled 9/6/2015

Recommendation 1

4.7 The Committee recommends that the ACT Government establish a mechanism whereby prohibited uses of land justified by ‘temporary use’ provisions are reviewed on a regular basis regardless of whether the user of the land is a private entity or the Territory.

Report No. 8 is currently being considered. A Government response will be prepared in relation to each recommendation and any relevant changes made to the draft variation prior to its finalisation for a decision by the Minister for Planning

PETAMS

Report NameTabled and response dueRecommendationsStatus
  

Recommendation 2

4.13 The Committee recommends that the Minister for Planning approve Draft Variation 309 Turner Bus Layover, Turner Section 25 part Block 8.

As above

  

Recommendation 3

4.22 The Committee recommends that the ACT Government considers a comprehensive upgrade of the Turner Parklands following completion of works on Haig Park.

As above

  

Recommendation 4

4.23 The Committee recommends that TAMs proceed with landscape works as the bus layover is constructed with an emphasis of improving the appearance of the area and improving amenity and safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

As above

  

Recommendation 5

4.24 The Committee recommends that ACTPLA, when considering proposed variations to Urban Open Space and TAMS, when prioritising work on open space amenities, give proper weighting to the particular importance of urban open space and amenity in areas where there is an above average amount of higher density housing.

As above

Dissenting Report to No. 9 on Territory Plan Draft Variation No. 327 Capital Metro–light rail stage 1 Gungahlin to Civic

Tabled 11/6/2015

Recommendation 1

1.1 The Committee recommends that the Minister for Planning approve Territory Plan Draft Variation No. 327 Capital Metro–Light Rail Stage 1 Gungahlin to Civic.

Dissenting report No. 9 of the standing committee is currently being considered. A Government response will be prepared in relation to each recommendation in the report and any relevant changes made to the draft variation prior to its finalisation for a decision by the Minister for Planning.

PAC

Report NameRecommendationsStatus

Report No. 4 of 2014—Report on Annual and Financial Reports 2012–13

Recommendation 8

4.7 The Committee recommends the ACT Government continue to examine environment programs that may no longer reflect the needs of Canberrans and reinvest those resources into more effective environment programs in the ACT.

Agreed

The ACT Government has an extensive plan for monitoring and evaluation of its entire program. This includes all the environmental programs. In recent years, a number of programs such as ToiletSmart, GardenSmart, and home energy assessment have been assessed and either discontinued or amended to enable resources to be directed to areas of greater need or effectiveness. The reprofiling of these programs has resulted in a greater emphasis on low income households; as well as social benefits, these programs provide excellent environmental outcomes and reduce the cost of living pressures for these ACT residents.

This work continues to evolve and the current evaluation plan will ensure that the funding is continued to be used to achieve the maximum environmental outcomes.

 

Recommendation 9

4.14 The Committee notes the ACT Government’s extensive consultation through community forums and recommends that similar style consultations be used in the future.

Agreed in principle

Under the Climate Change Action Plan 2, Action 5 requires the development of a Community Engagement Strategy (CES) which builds on existing engagement activity towards supporting continued action on climate change both in mitigation and adaptation work. The CES has identified key partnerships for enhanced dissemination of information and engagement as well as highlighting the need for expansion to the use of social media. The CES has been publicly available since mid-2014. The Actsmart website is Canberra’s sustainability hub. Launched in February 2015, it allows users to share thoughts and ideas. The hub is supported by the use of social media to facilitate an ongoing dialogue with the community.

 

Recommendation 10

4.16 The Committee notes the ACT Government’s commitment to combating climate change and recommends the ACT Government continue to look for opportunities that will reduce costs to business as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Agreed

The large-scale solar feed-in tariff reverse auction conducted by the ACT Government in 2012 and 2013 resulted in significantly lower feed-in tariff prices than expected by the Government and the solar industry, which will make pass-through costs to business lower than expected. Between February and April 2014, the Government announced  policies and details of a 200 megawatt wind feed-in tariff reverse auction and a new community solar scheme that will be undertaken this year as well a next-generation solar expression of interest program that will also be conducted in 2014.

The Actsmart Business Energy and Water program provides advice and financial assistance for efficiency upgrades to small businesses in the ACT to reduce energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Since July 2012 the program has provided an assessment and tailored action report to 338 small businesses, with 159 businesses already completing significant efficiency upgrades and claiming a rebate, and many more currently undertaking works. From the 159 sites completed, there has been an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 1490 tonnes, with each individual business saving an average of $2440 off their annual energy bills.

 

Recommendation 11

4.21 The Committee recommends that the ACT Government assess whether the structure of the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme could be applied to other programs and change processes for individual household or business.

Agreed in principle

As outlined in the Regulatory Impact Statement for the development of the EEIS, the long-term goal is to use the EEIS as a model to consolidate and complement existing energy efficiency programs. There has already been alignment between programs offered by Government and the EEIS, in particular around the type of and requirements for activities offered and the abatement achieved. The Government has introduced legislation to extend the scheme to 2020, which provides greater opportunity to assess further alignment and consolidation with complementary programs. It is important to note, however, that there are limits to market-based mechanisms, and there is likely to be a continuing role for complementary programs that target those households and businesses not reached by the EEIS.

 

Recommendation 12

4.23 The Committee recommends that the ACT Government reduce the burden for small business while providing incentives for job creation across the Territory.

Noted

The EEIS was expanded to Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in mid-2013 to enable them to benefit from activities implemented by retailers under the scheme.

While no retailers have undertaken activities in SMEs to date, it is anticipated the Amendment Bill to extend the scheme to 2020 will increase opportunities for businesses to directly benefit from the scheme, through harmonisation with other jurisdictional schemes and registration of third party providers.

The Administrator of the EEIS is also considering opportunities to expand the range of business-specific activities included under the scheme, specifically to incentivise further participation from Tier 2 retailers and see more activity in the SME sector. This would also be expected to provide further opportunities for the energy efficiency services sector in the ACT to benefit from the scheme by providing their services to retailers.

Additionally, the Actsmart Business Energy and Water program provides free advice and financial assistance for efficiency upgrades to small businesses in the ACT to reduce energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, with 338 small businesses receiving assistance since July 2012. From the 159 sites completing upgrades there has been an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 1490 tonnes, with each individual business saving an average of $2440 off their annual energy bills.

 

Recommendation 13

4.32 The Committee recommends the ACT Government investigate other transport programs for projects, similar to the Calvary Hospital car park, across the Territory with a view to allow better access to community facilities.

Agreed

The Government is considering a number of discussion papers to inform the development of a Parking Strategy in accordance with the framework outlined in Transport for Canberra. Central to this strategy is improving access to community facilities by making more short-stay parking available where it is required.

 

Recommendation 14

4.34 The Committee recommends the ACT Government continue to place public transport as a high priority and investigate Territory-wide opportunities for similar projects to improve Canberra’s public transport.

Agreed

In addition to Belconnen to the City bus priority measures and in line with Transport for Canberra, the Directorate has been undertaking feasibility studies to identify effective and viable public transport infrastructure projects across the Territory. These projects inform part of forward detailed design and construction programs of TAMSD. The projects cover works on transport corridors, bus station/stops and Park and Ride facilities across the ACT.

Other transport investigations and opportunities to improve Canberra’s public transport undertaken by the Directorate in conjunction with TAMS include:

Major corridor:

  • Completed Gungahlin to City Transit Corridor planning, engineering and economic investigations. Capital Metro Agency is progressing detailed planning, engineering investigations and procurement and financing options for the delivery of the light rail transit project.
  • Completed feasibility study of Canberra Avenue bus priority measures and design and construction of short-term options.
  • Completed design and implementation underway of Real Time Passenger Information System.

Bus stations and bus stops:

  • Completed feasibility studies of ACT Major Stops, Adelaide Avenue (Woden to City) Bus Stops, City Bus Layover and City Interchange.
  • Completed construction of major bus stops at Yamba Drive, Canberra Hospital, London Circuit, Athllon Drive, Kings Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue and Russell.
  • Completed construction of bus stations at Barton and Gungahlin.
  • Completed feasibility and design of Erindale Bus Station.

Park and Ride facilities:

  • Completed construction of Park and Rides at Flemington Road (EPIC), Mawson, Purdue Street Belconnen and Moyes St Kippax.
  • Design and construction underway at Calwell, Cotter Road near Molonglo, and College Street, Belconnen.
  • Completed feasibility studies for Flemington Road, Canberra Avenue and Gungahlin Town Centre.
 

Recommendation 15

4.38 The Committee recommends the ACT Government continue to conserve the environment and extend its conservation programs for the benefit of current and future Canberrans.

Agreed

Implementation of conservation programs to be guided by the ACT Nature Conservation Strategy 2013–23 and action plans for threatened species and ecological communities.

 

Recommendation 16

4.44 The Committee recommends the ACT Government review its noise abatement strategy to ensure all proponents are treated fairly and increase its community education program on noise pollution across the ACT community.

Agreed

The Environment Protection Act 1997 and Environment Protection Regulation 2005, the principal legislation governing the regulation of environmental noise have recently been subject to review. The EPA will review its enforcement policy, including its regulation of noise, following the introduction of the new Environment Protection Bill 2014 to be introduced to the Assembly in the spring sittings to ensure it remains contemporary and consistent with principles of procedural fairness.

The EPA runs a number of community awareness noise programs. These programs utilise several media platforms to educate the community on environmental noise and their general environment duty under the environment protection legislation.

The EPA also undertakes a continual program of public and industry education for environmental noise targeted at specific industry sectors and activities. These include:

  • air-conditioning retailers and installers
  • building activities
  • domestic noise sources
  • concert activities etc.

The EPA supplements this with targeted social media and articles in industry newsletters such as the MBA and HIA.

 

Recommendation 17

4.46 The Committee recommends the ACT Government consider enabling enforcement of the ACT Commercial Waste Industry Code of Practice with a view to reducing commercial waste to landfill.

Noted

The purpose of the ACT Commercial Waste Industry Code of Practice made under the Environment Protection Act 1997 is to regulate noise from commercial waste activities.

Developed in consultation with the community, the ACT Waste Management Strategy 2011–2025 sets a clear direction for the management of waste, including commercial waste, in the ACT towards 2025.

The strategy outlined objectives including the Canberra community working to reduce the amount of waste that they produce and for waste to be viewed as a resource, rather than garbage to be thrown into a landfill.

The strategy established a framework for sustainable resource management and lists broad actions needed to achieve the aim of a waste-free society. These include:

  • community commitment
  • avoidance and reduction
  • resource recovery
  • residual waste management
  • creative solutions.

The Directorate supports the commercial sector in achieving these aims through programs such as the ACT Smart Business program and licensing of commercial waste recycling activities.

Report NameRecommendationsStatus