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Opinions on Ministerial Notifications

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Ministerial decisions not to provide information to Parliament

Introduction

This report deals with 2 decisions by the Minister for Tourism, the Hon Paul Papalia CSC MLA, not to provide information to Parliament about:

  • the funding breakdown for the 2018 ‘Perth turns up the heat in summer’ tourism campaign
  • the business cases presented to airlines during the Minister’s second trip to India.

Section 82 of the Financial Management Act 2006 (the FM Act) requires a Minister who decides that it is reasonable and appropriate not to provide certain information to Parliament, to give written notice of the decision to both Houses of Parliament and the Auditor General within 14 days of the decision.

Section 24 of the Auditor General Act 2006 requires the Auditor General to provide an opinion to Parliament as to whether the Minister’s decision was reasonable and appropriate.

It is our longstanding approach to enquire into only those matters raised in the Minister’s written notice. It would be onerous and impractical for us to identify and report on all other Ministerial decisions not to provide information to Parliament. When we do become aware that a Minister has decided not to provide information to Parliament, we may write to them reminding them of their obligations under section 82 of the FM Act.

What we did

The Audit Practice Statement on our website (www.audit.wa.gov.au) sets out the process we follow to arrive at our section 82 opinions, including:

  • a review of entity documents
  • a review of any advice provided to the relevant Minister by entities, the State Solicitor’s Office or other legal advisers
  • interviews with key entity persons including discussions about our draft findings and the Auditor General’s opinion.

Our procedures are designed to provide sufficient appropriate evidence to support an independent view to Parliament on the reasonableness and appropriateness of the Minister’s decision.

We have not performed an audit, however, our procedures follow the key principles in the Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards.

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