Transport entity not “accounting hoax” | Canberra weather

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The NSW Treasury Secretary has defended the controversial Transport Asset Holding Entity which has delayed the finalization of the state budget, dismissing claims that the entity is the product of an ‘accounting hoax’. Michael Pratt said during a parliamentary inquiry into TAHE that there are a number of issues the Treasury is working on with the Auditor General. However, he declined to provide details in order to avoid compromising the Auditor General’s position. Margaret Crawford has yet to approve the state accounts due to concerns over TAHE and based her assessment on draft figures which Mr Pratt said would be finalized on Thursday afternoon. The NSW government has been accused of using complex accounting to inflate the state budget by creating TAHE to hold $ 40 billion in transportation assets. Mr Pratt rejected the claim that it was “accounting deception”. “TAHE was created to pursue the government’s policy of microeconomic reform to put in place the most optimal structure for the management of transport assets,” Mr. Pratt said. The “accounting deception” allegations were among the “false accounts” circulating about TAHE that could undermine confidence in the public service, Mr Pratt told the inquest. TAHE would produce “demonstrable and measurable” benefits for NSW, he said. Former KPMG partner Brendan Lyon told the inquest last month that he had been pressured to amend a report suggesting TAHE would leave the state budget in a worse position by $ 10 billion. Mr Lyon told Mr Pratt he was fed up with being ‘hassled’ by him in response to an email from the Treasury Secretary telling him to ‘correct any mistakes or remove all references to modeling of the Treasury “. Mr Pratt told the investigation that Mr Lyon was a consultant, not a trained accountant, and that separate teams from KPMG had been hired by Treasury and then Transport for different purposes. Mr Lyon and his team strayed into an area “where there was no capacity” for them to engage in the work they did and there was “a whole set of assumptions that were wrong. “, did he declare. “The work produced by Mr. Lyon was requested by Transport … he is not an accountant, he is totally discredited. I stand by the conclusions we have,” said Mr. Pratt. NSW Treasury Executive Director of Transportation Cassandra Wilkinson said Mr Lyon was not asked to change his mind, but simply to correct the numbers. “These were not instructions or instructions (…) we were asked to provide documents that he misunderstood and misrepresented,” she told the investigation. Thursday’s inquiry came shortly after the NSW government released its mid-year budget update, with Treasurer Matt Kean saying the deficit would drop to $ 19.5 billion . Opposition Leader Chris Minns said the numbers had “significant asterisks” on them since the Auditor General had not approved. “We don’t have faith in the bottom line and I don’t think NSW taxpayers should either,” Minns said. “It’s not enough when you talk about billions of dollars in taxpayer dollars that need to be allocated and accounted for… we have unaudited books that haven’t been published,” Minns said. The budget update notes that the government expects $ 4.7 billion in dividends and tax equivalents over the next few years, “primarily due to the expectations of government shareholders of TAHE” which should improve the profitability. An additional $ 1.1 billion is allocated to Transport for NSW in the year 2024-25 “as part of updated shareholder expectations” for TAHE. Associated Australian Press

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