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Estimates: Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee: Finance Portfolio: Department of Finance

Estimates & Committees
Lee Rhiannon 20 Mar 2017

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Senator RHIANNON: I will not take that long. Thank you, Chair. I understand that half a million dollars has been allocated for the department to scope a new computer system to manage MPs' allowances.

Senator Cormann: If you talk that MPs allowances, that is in outcome 3 later tonight. So that is after 8 o'clock.

Senator RHIANNON: Even though it is about the allocations of funding?

Senator Cormann: This is very much a matter for outcome 3.

Senator McALLISTER: [Inaudible] in relation to ICT, we have had problems before with diverting people into later stages of the program.

Senator Cormann: Support for members of parliament, if that is what it is about, then that is very much outcome 3.

Senator McALLISTER: Or is it about IT, Senator Rhiannon?

Senator RHIANNON: I thought it was about IT. The thrust of the questions was—

Senator Cormann: But if it is IT that relates to support for parliamentarians and others, as required by the Australian government through the delivery of an advice on entitlements and targeted assistance, that is outcome 3. Senator Ryan is very much the one who is driving all of the aspects of this, including any ICT issues. Given that he is a senator, as well as the Special Minister of State, he is the appropriate minister to answer questions in relation to that.

Senator RHIANNON: Okay. The other one might be similar—to go somewhere else. I was trying to clarify—it is to do with ICT upgrades. But this was about supporting greater transparency with regard to trade procurements. Does that come under the—

Senator Cormann: This would be outcome 2; either program 2.5 or—is that where we are now? Are we now in outcome 2? Have we finished outcome 1?

CHAIR: No. We are still in outcome 1.

Senator RHIANNON: So that would come under outcome 2?

Senator Cormann: That is right.

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Senator RHIANNON: The last budget allocated half a million dollars for the Department of Finance to plan a new computer system to manage MPs allowances.

Senator Cormann: Is this still outcome 3, the same as we said earlier today? Outcome 3 is after the break. We did provide that advice to you earlier.

Senator RHIANNON: I know.

Senator Cormann: In support for parliamentarians and others as required by the Australian government. The minister directly responsible for that part is Senator Ryan, who will appear after the break.

Senator RHIANNON: I thought it was 2.5.

Senator Cormann: No. It is definitely still 3, as we indicated earlier today.

Senator RHIANNON: I will ask the other one. We might have been referring to the other one. I am not sure if this is the Department of Finance. I am trying to track it down where it is. There was another report. First, I want to understand if the department is involved. It has been reported that $12.4 million over four years has been allocated to upgrade IT systems to deliver greater transparency of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Senator Cormann: That does not sound like something that we—

Senator RHIANNON: So you are not the through agent that it goes to? I cannot track it down. It was reported last year.

Senator Cormann: It sounds like foreign affairs and defence.

Senator RHIANNON: Even though it is IT?

Senator Cormann: We might be able to assist you. We will ascertain whether we might be able to assist.

Mr Sheridan: I think you might be referring—I am not sure—to money that is put aside to support domestic review legislation or reporting in the context of AusTender for the TPP. So I think it is—

Senator RHIANNON: Yes. It sounds like that.

Mr Sheridan: I think it is either additional reporting that was required under the TPP or perhaps to support domestic review. But I would have to take the detail on notice.

Senator RHIANNON: Okay. If you take that on notice now, I will put more questions in to go with it.

Mr Sheridan: Yes.

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