Monday, 8 February 2016

Government Must Extend Auditor General’s Powers to Social Housing

The NSW Auditor General’s Power to be extended to maintain confidence in Social Housing. The Auditor General does not currently have the power to investigate whether the public is receiving value for money where the NSW Liberal Government has divested public sector assets and/or contracting services.

With the expectation that a significant stock of public housing assets will be transferred to non-government organisations it is essential that the Government acts now to ensure the public maintains full confidence in our social housing programs.

The independent office of the Auditor General should have its powers of investigation extended to permit the financial and performance audit of any private sector or not-for-profit organisation which has been the beneficiary of a government asset or contract.

The Audit Office has long argued for this extension of powers across various submissions to the NSW Government.

The problem is we don’t know if taxpayers are seeing any value for money. The NSW Government hasn’t undertaken a proper cost-benefit or performance review to determine if transferring the operation of public housing to private operators is effective. 

I’m not totally opposed to extending contracts, when it can be shown to to of benefit, to private and not-for-profit operators, but the public and the Parliament have a right to know the facts. It’s imperative that the public maintains confidence in social housing and the Government should act immediately to give the Auditor General the scope needed to properly relay this information to the Parliament.”

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