Following 10+ rewarding and memorable years, my term as Auditor General officially ended on 27 May 2018.
It has been a privilege to serve the Parliament and the wider community in this role and I can reflect positively on what my team and I have been able to achieve. I am proud to leave my successor, Caroline Spencer, well positioned to take on this important role for the next 10 years.
The role of Auditor General has a long history, here and in other jurisdictions. I believe it has not only survived, but become increasingly relevant for 2 reasons:
- The model continues to be sound. There is a continuing need for an independent auditor to provide assurance to Parliament and the community on public sector accountability.
- The role of the Auditor General has changed over time, adapting to meet the changing requirements of Parliament.
In Australia, and most certainly in Western Australia, we have seen an increasingly complex environment of government service delivery. More and more our governments are implementing alternative mechanisms for service delivery arrangements – such as public-private partnerships, outsourcing arrangements, joint ventures and the involvement of non-government organisations. We have also seen an increasing number of initiatives that are federally-funded but where the actual service delivery lies with the states and territories.
Here in WA, over the last few years we have also seen a series of restructures and machinery of government changes, which have changed the operational landscape for many agencies, as well as the TAFE and health services sectors.
Indeed, our public sector is evolving, and our accountability, transparency and assurance mechanisms need to keep pace with this evolution. I am pleased to say in my experience over the last 10+ years, that for the most part the role and function of the Auditor General continues to evolve and play an integral part
of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy.
A recent example of this evolution was the Local Government Amendment (Auditing) Act 2017, which gave the Auditor General the mandate for financial and performance audits of local governments. This is an important step in increasing transparency and accountability of local governments, providing assurance to Parliament and the wider community.
A number of professional relationships contribute to the success of the Office. I would like to thank my colleagues from the Australasian Council of Auditors-General and the Integrity Coordinating Group for the information sharing, support and strong working relationships.
I also thank the Parliament of Western Australia and in particular, the past and current members of the Public Accounts Committee and the Estimates and Financial Operations Committee for their continued support and interest in the work of the Office.
Finally, I acknowledge the hard work, professionalism and dedication of my Executive team and staff. I hand over the reins to Caroline with great pride – the quality work we do is important and does make a difference. But I take little credit for it – an AG can only be as good as the team they lead and I have been fortunate over the last 10+ years to have had a great team working with me.
Colin Murphy PSM
Auditor General 2006-2018
At 25 May 2018