Monday, June 24, 2024

NSW Govt suspends PwC from tax-related contracts

NSW Minister for Finance, Courtney Houssos, today announced consultancy firm PwC has been suspended from obtaining new tax engagements with the NSW Government.

Ms Houssos said the move was one of a number of new measures designed to ensure the highest level of consultant service provision for NSW.

Under the new measures announced today:

  • PwC will be suspended for an interim period of three months from obtaining any new engagements within “Category Type 7 – Taxation” of the government’s Performance and Management Services (P&MS) Scheme as a proportionate response to the current investigations involving PwC.
  • The government will require PwC to attest that no staff member who has been found to have breached confidentiality or misused information as part of work for the Commonwealth Treasury will be involved in any NSW Government work.
  • The government will continue to review and, where required, strengthen conflict of interest and confidentiality terms for all professional services engagements. This work is already underway as part of the recommendations from the Auditor-General’s report on the use of consultants.

On 1 June, PwC senior management met with NSW Procurement, who confirmed that internal investigations are still ongoing. PwC has confirmed in writing that no NSW Government engagement has been worked on by PwC staff implicated in the Collins matter, the Minister said today.

“As additional evidence comes to light, we will continue to toughen our regime and protect the NSW Government from this behaviour,” said Ms Houssos.

“Suspending PwC from obtaining new taxation related procurement contracts is a proportionate response and one that safeguards the people of NSW from further exposure to the scandal.

“Prior to the election, we pledged to overhaul the NSW Government’s rules on hiring consultants, toughen up measures that protect against conflicts of interest, and reduce spending on consultants and labour hire workers so those funds can be reinvested into essential services.”

She said NSW was the first state to announce it would consider tough new multi-million-dollar fines for individuals and organisations which unlawfully disclose sensitive or confidential information provided by the government.

“I was appalled by the breach of trust that occurred with the Federal Government. As additional evidence comes to light we will continue to toughen our regime and protect the NSW community from this behaviour.”

“The Auditor-General has already found that NSW does not procure and manage consultants effectively.

“I look forward to receiving the inquiry’s recommendations on how to further strengthen our procurement regime to deliver integrity, confidentiality and value-for-money and NSW taxpayers.

“The inquiry will also inform our Comprehensive Expenditure Review which is identifying savings, including on the government’s spending on consultants,” said the Minister.

Additionally, PwC has confirmed that no team member who has been found to have breached confidentiality or otherwise misused confidential information in any way will work on any future NSW Government engagements.

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