Public Finance And Audit Amendment (State-Funded Private Entities) Bill 2018

Photo of accounting calculation tape
27 September 2018

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS (Ku-ring-gai) (11:53:49): I oppose the Public Finance and Audit Amendment (State-funded Private Entities) Bill 2018 because I do not believe in legislated work programs for the membership of public sector unions that control the New South Wales Labor Party. That is why I oppose this bill. This legislation exhibits the unsophisticated nature of the financial understanding of the New South Wales Opposition. This bill will add to the cost of the private sector providing services to the New South Wales Government. That means it will be sucking up taxpayer dollars that are unnecessarily spent on the cost of private entities being subject to an audit under this legislation if it were passed. That is not in the public interest.

The public sector already knows that it is getting value for money because of the rigorous, competitive tender processes that the Government has for the provision of third party private sector services to the New South Wales Government. So long as that tender process is robust and ensures the best value for money for the Government, the only role of the Auditor-General is the one that the Auditor-General has currently, which is to audit the public sector review of those services that are being provided by the private sector to ensure that the services that have been contracted or agreed to be provided to the Government are provided in accordance with the contract. There is a very important reason why this legislation is a complete and utter overreach. That is, it will apply to government grants and one of the great grant programs that the New South Wales Government has, for example, is the Community Building Partnership program.

Since I have been the member for Ku-ring-gai, a number of organisations in my electorate have been the beneficiary of Community Building Partnership funds that, under this legislation if passed, would subject them to the cost of complying with an audit by the Auditor-General. For example, the Gordon West P&C Association, Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School, St Lucy's School, West Pymble Public School Parents and Citizens Association, the Ku-ring-gai Creative Arts High School P&C Association, Pymble Public School Parents and Citizens Association, the Turramurra North Public School P&C Association, Beaumont Road Public School Parents & Citizens Association, the Hornsby Girls High School P&C Association and the Normanhurst Public School P&C Association. They would all be subjected to a new cost of getting a grant from the Government under the Community Building Partnership program if this legislation is passed.

It does not stop there. Other charitable organisations in my electorate that would also be subjected to a new cost if this legislation is passed include Easy Care Gardening Incorporated, the Hornsby Shire Historical Society Incorporated, the Ku-ring-gai & Hornsby Meals On Wheels Service, Life Education New South Wales, the Ku‑ring‑gai Philharmonic Orchestra and Sunnyfield, which provides disability services and accommodation in my electorate. All these charities with volunteers would be subjected to a new cost of getting grants from the Government, which is the possibility of being audited. That could require all their paperwork to be gone through, all because they applied for a government grant. That is not in the public interest.

It is not in the public interest that third party private contractors for profit are subjected to having their affairs audited by the New South Wales Auditor-General, and it is not in the interests of our community that charities, parents and citizens associations and other people who provide free services through their voluntary labour for the benefit of New South Wales are also subjected to a new cost under this legislation. All because the New South Wales Labor Party wants to try to beef up the membership of the public sector unions that control that party. This legislation is not in the public interest, and I encourage all members to oppose it.