Ms O'CONNOR question to TREASURER, Mr FERGUSON
As you know, heads continue to roll at global consulting and accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, over a tax avoidance scandal and potential corruption involving work it is undertaking for the federal government. Can you confirm PwC also undertakes work for the Tasmanian Government? If so, are you able today to detail any contracts the Government has with PwC, the value of that work, whether any confidentiality agreements have been signed and, if so, between whom? What measures have been put in place to ensure PwC is not trading confidential Tasmanian government information with its other clients? If you do not have this information immediately at hand, will you bring it back to the House today?
Mr Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for the question. I have been provided with some information. I am not sure if it will provide all of what you are asking in your question but I will attempt to answer it.
In May of this year the Government became aware of conflict of interest issues within PwC with respect to the former head of international tax, Mr Peter Collins. I am advised that Mr Collins' alleged improper use of confidential Commonwealth information has been referred to the Australian Federal Police, who will now consider whether to commence a criminal investigation.
I am advised that since 2020 several Tasmanian State Service agencies have engaged with PwC. However, at this time there is no information that would give rise to any conflict of interest concerns as regards Tasmanian government agencies making those engagements. It would not surprise me at all that an until-now reputable firm would be doing business with the Tasmanian government as we engage with many businesses that are experts in their fields to advise government on a range of initiatives.
I will look into the question further. In particular, you have the opportunity at Estimates committee to seek a deeper level of information from individual agencies -
Ms O'Connor - Sure, but as Treasurer you can come back in because it is a question now.
Mr FERGUSON - It is a question now. I do not promise to get the information back today but I undertake to seek further advice and provide -
Ms O'Connor - Why not?
Mr SPEAKER - Order.
Mr FERGUSON - I am answering the question. I do not promise to do it today but I undertake to seek further advice. If I am able to provide further detail, including individual engagements from across government, I will seek to do that.