Audit Committee expands inquiry into failed privatisation of visa processing

THE Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) has expanded an existing inquiry examining the previous government’s failed attempts to privatise the visa processing system and deliver new IT systems in Home Affairs, to examine public sector IT projects more widely.

Committee Chair, Julian Hill MP, said, "Lessons must be drawn from both stages of the failed attempt to privatise and procure a new visa processing system for Home Affairs, and it’s already clear that broader scrutiny of other large-scale public sector IT projects is warranted.

“We will get to the bottom of what happened with the visa processing debacle, and how and why nearly $150 million was wasted. There are broader lessons to be drawn however into appropriate practices for new IT projects and expenditure in the public sector, including capability-building, advice to government, probity and ethics, and value for money for the Commonwealth.”

In addition to both stages of the failed visa processing privatisation, including Auditor-General Report No. 34 of 2022-23 - Procurement of the Permissions Capability, the inquiry will now also consider others reports including:

Additional areas of focus for the committee will include:

  • The Digital Transformation Agency’s role in evaluating public sector IT investment.
  • Department of Finance assessments of certain high value procurements.
  • The Australian Public Service Digital Profession’s role in building digital capability in the public service.
  • Any lessons learnt from previous large-scale IT projects.

Details of the revised inquiry, including the new terms of reference and details on hearings, will be made available on the Committee website.

The committee invites submissions to the inquiry addressing the revised terms of reference to be received by April 12, 2024. The committee is reminding witnesses of interest of its power to summon witnesses should that be required.



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