The BER Implementation Taskforce (the Taskforce) was announced by the Australian Government on 12 April 2010 to assess value for money aspects of individual BER projects, as well as systemic issues, and ensure allegations of waste are fully investigated. It commenced operations on 3 May 2010.
The Taskforce has provided three reports to Government on the operation of the BER: an Interim Report in August 2010; a First Report in December 2010; and a Final Report released on 8 July 2011. In total, the Taskforce made 22 recommendations. The Government has agreed to progress all 22 recommendations.
At the release of its Final Report, the Taskforce had received 332 complaints, equating to approximately 3.5 per cent of all schools involved in the program. The Taskforce also conducted more than 460 school visits to both compliant and randomly selected non-compliant schools.
The Taskforce also collected standardised cost data for more than 3700 Primary Schools for the 21st Century projects from all 22 education authorities, which allowed it to undertake a variety of comparative assessments and data analysis.
Overall, the Taskforce found that the majority of education authorities attained value for money and delivered quality education facilities. The Final Report notes that the program has touched every community in Australia, and has delivered substantial stimulus.
Following the release of its Final Report, the Taskforce ceased formal activities on 15 July 2011. The Department began accepting new complaints from 6 June 2011 and has taken on all unresolved complaints from the Taskforce since 6 July 2011. The Department will oversee the implementation of complaint and defect action plans prior to the final disbursement of BER funding to Education Authorities.