Admissions by Health Minister John Hill about the confidential information missing on a lost USB memory stick meant an inquiry by the Auditor General was essential.
This morning on ABC Radio, Minister Hill finally confirmed confidential information was on the USB and that “there is always a risk that somebody has found it and somebody would do something with it that is fraudulent…”
Mr Hill confirmed:
“…we’ve said it would cost about $1.7b…but what it contains is what we would allocate for various elements of it, now we don’t obviously make that public.”
“…the brief would be about 10,000 pages long which could contain considerable amounts of information which would’ve been on the stick…”
(John Hill, 25-08-2009, 891ABC)
“The probity of this whole public-private partnership process is now so compromised that the Rann Government is considering giving all of the bidders this confidential information,” Shadow Minister for Finance Rob Lucas said today.
“This would mean, for example, that bidders would know the separate budgets for furniture, fit out and equipment purchases.
“More importantly, it would mean all bidders would become aware of the size of the escalation and project contingency budget lines included in the project costs. Given that the size of the escalation and contingency budget lines involves “hundreds of millions of dollars”, then it is now clear that the taxpayers’ or public interest has been jeopardised by the loss of this confidential information.
“The Auditor General’s inquiry must also investigate and report publicly on the adequacy of the original and new security arrangements put in place by the Rann Government to manage this $1.7 billion process.
“Treasurer Foley and Minister Hill have to take responsibility for this probity scandal and they need to explain why security arrangements were so slack that a departmental officer was able to download all this confidential information and walk out the door with it.
“I will also be pursuing this probity scandal with both the Health Department and the Department for Treasury and Finance when they appear before the Budget and Finance Committee over the next two months.”