State audit targets

Doctors' overtime will be looked at by Auditor-General Mike Blake.
Doctors' overtime will be looked at by Auditor-General Mike Blake.

USE of the government's $50 million car fleet, doctors' overtime and the number and location of Tasmania's public schools will be targeted by the state's Auditor-General in the next six months. 

Tasmania's Auditor-General, Mike Blake, has also been tasked by a parliamentary committee to investigate the effectiveness of federal funds to the Tasmanian forest industry as part of the forestry peace process.

While Mr Blake said while looking at the expenditure of federal funding was beyond his mandate, he could assess programs and projects administered by the state. 

It's not due to be investigated until 2015-16 but with the forestry peace deal being dismantled by the new state government, Mr Blake said the schedule was not set in stone.  

``That one might well be brought forward,'' Mr Blake said.  

There are plans to assess the economic benefits of the state's support for sport, including AFL games, next financial year, but that may also be looked at ahead of schedule.  

``While overall the state's investment in sport is not that significant, it can have, or is suggested to have, major flow-on economic benefits,'' Mr Blake outlines in his work plan.

Mr Blake has outlined his priorities for the next two financial years, as he conducts about seven or eight audits a year. 

Scrutiny of the usage and management of the government's car fleet was chosen because of the significant investment made by the state government.

``There are lots of cars floating around so we were keen to look at what's best practice and how do you know you're getting value for money,'' Mr Blake said. ``Effectively managed fleet arrangements can reduce costs and ensure effective service delivery.'' 

That investigation will be followed by a comparison with how government businesses, the University of Tasmania and Tasmania Police manage their car fleets. 

Also on the agenda are:

 A preliminary investigation into overtime paid to doctors to determine if it warrants further investigation.

 Investigating whether the number and location of Tasmania's public schools is effective, efficient and equitable, including scrutiny of decision making regarding the construction of new schools.

 The economic benefits of, and risks arising from, major irrigation projects. 

 The effectiveness of different approaches to helping people under housing stress, examining any cost savings as a result of transferring public housing from Housing Tasmania to non-government organisations. 

Mr Blake said priorities were not usually set by suspicions about mismanagement or prompted by complaints from the public, but ideas from staff, topics in the news and consultation with parliamentarians. 

``We look at where might there be waste or where might there be cross-sector gaps in process,'' Mr Blake said.


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