On 24 October 2018, we received a notice from the Minister for Regional Development, the Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC, under section 82 of the Financial Management Act 2006. The notice related to the scope of works and business cases for the construction of swimming pools at Balgo and Kalumburu.
We determined that an opinion was not required in relation to the Minister’s decision not to provide the information to Parliament. This is because the scope of works and business cases did not exist. Therefore, there could be no refusal to provide them.
In Question 2(f) prior to the Estimates and Financial Operations Committee 2018-19 Budget Estimates Hearings of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (Department), the Hon Martin Aldridge MLC asked the Minister for the following information:
- I refer to line item ‘remote swimming pools’ on page 177 of budget paper 3 and I ask:
(f) Please provide the scope of works and business cases for each project funded from the program?
On 21 June 2018, the Minister replied:
This is a State Government election commitment that is being delivered by the Department of Communities.
Documents provided in support of this funding allocation were submitted to the Expenditure Review Committee and are Cabinet in Confidence.
The Department of Communities is working to finalise a scope of works and detailed design for both pools and caretaker facilities. I am advised the scope will include:
- Detailed design of community pool facility and pool manager’s house at Balgo and Kalumburu;
- Demolition of existing non-residential dwelling at Balgo;
- Construction of pool and facilities, including shade structures, change rooms with toilets and shower facilities, Pool Manager’s office, kiosk and first aid room, storage areas, internal landscaping, seating and table fixtures, internal lighting, power, water, sewer and stormwater, perimeter fencing and gated entrance, adjoining car parking facilities, and initial fill and treatment of pool water;
- Pool design and construction at Balgo and Kalumburu to comply with BCA and Department of Health Code of Practice for the design, construction, operational, management and maintenance of aquatic facilities;
- Construction of residential dwellings, built to remote housing specification;
- As-construction survey of pool and house developments.
Any request for further information should be directed to the Minister for Housing, Hon Peter Tinley MLA.
The Minister properly sought advice from the Department before responding to the question. The Department advised that the 2 swimming pools were an election commitment and that business cases were not required and had not been prepared.
We viewed documents submitted to the Expenditure Review Committee and found they did not contain the scope of works or business cases for swimming pools at Balgo and Kalumburu.
We determined that an opinion pursuant to section 24 of the Auditor General Act 2006 was not required in relation to the Minister’s decision not to provide the information to Parliament. This is because the scope of works and business cases requested in Question 2(f) did not exist at the time. Therefore, there could be no refusal to provide them.