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“Corner cutting” in Commonwealth procurement to be examined

Weeks after a scathing audit into the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA), Commonwealth procurement is back under the microscope following the launch of a new Parliamentary Inquiry. 

The inquiry will examine Commonwealth Procurement, focusing on five recent reviews of procurement practices at Commonwealth agencies, including the DTA review. 

The inquiry, to be conducted by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) and chaired by MP Julian Hill, will examine ways to improve transparency, efficiency, and value for money in Commonwealth procurement.   

Mr Hill in a media release suggested a pattern appeared to be evolving in agencies. “There appears a concerning pattern of agencies cutting corners or interpreting the rules to suit themselves and make life easier for themselves, rather than apply the Rules (Commonwealth Procurement Rules) and let more people and firms bid for Commonwealth work,” he said. 

Nine procurements conducted by the DTA were blasted as “weak” in a review by the Australian National Audit Office.

The review into the DTA said none of the procurements fully complied with Commonwealth Procurement Rules (CPRs). One contract valued at $121,000 was increased by 40 times to nearly $5 million. 

The DTA review is alongside four other Auditor-General Reports to form the starting point for the Committee’s inquiry. 

The other reports to be scrutinised are:

Submissions to the inquiry are are invited by Friday, 11 November 2022

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