Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee
Estimates hearings, 17 October 2011
Australian National Audit Office
- Mr Ian McPhee PSM, Auditor-General
Senator RHIANNON: Mr McPhee, I have some questions about procurement. For the period 2010-15, a whole-of-government policy has been developed known as the Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan, with ICT standing for information and communications technology. I understand it sets mandatory standards for the purchase of recycled copy paper. I understand the plan established the target that, by July 2011, agencies were required to source office copy paper for general use with a minimum of 50 per cent post-consumer recycled content. Has that target been met?
Mr McPhee: I am not aware of whether or not that target has been met. We are doing some audits in the procurements space, but we have not focused specifically on the ICT Sustainability Plan to this point.
Senator RHIANNON: So you do not have any audit or assessment reports associated with this?
Mr McPhee: No. I assume, without knowing the details, that the Department of Finance and Deregulation would be the responsible agency for assisting you on this matter.
Senator RHIANNON: I will go to some general questions about procurement and you may have similar advice. I am noticing that procurement is coming forward in different ways from different departments. We are not getting a whole-of-government approach. Are you able to quantify the additional costs and inefficiencies that having multiple procurement policies brings?
Mr McPhee: We encourage the finance department to have another look at some of the Commonwealth procurement guidelines. I am conscious from our own work that sometimes agencies lose sight of the forest for the trees, and we think some greater clarification could be made to the Commonwealth procurement guidelines. The other dimension here is that there is an attempt to get a whole-of-government approach to procurement activity. I am conscious of a number of departments who are working on panels in that respect. I do not know the details, but I do appreciate that work is going on, and any feedback you have would be most welcome on that.
Senator RHIANNON: Thank you.