In managing financial sustainability, it is important that councils are aware of what services they provide, the cost of these services, and how they can improve delivery to achieve cost- efficiency. This audit will assess whether councils are delivering their services to the community efficiently and economically.
CSG activities are subject to approval processes and regulations to minimise their environmental impact and ensure the safety of their activities. Proactive risk management is required to:. Under a new SPER business model, SPER will be an in-house debt collection agency that pursues outstanding debt and enables hardship debtors to better discharge their penalty debt.
Mine workers are at risk of developing a range of occupational mine dust lung diseases. Disease is caused by long-term exposure to high concentrations of respirable dust, generated during mining and quarrying activities. They include a range of occupational lung conditions including:.
These diseases are usually found in workers who have had many years of exposure to high concentrations of respirable mineral dust. The diseases may take several years to develop. The first case of the disease reported to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy was in May , despite a diagnosed case in there was no reporting requirements in for diagnosed cases. In July , the Monash University Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health completed its review and made 18 recommendations, all of which were supported by the government.
This was extended on 23 March to include the end-to-end production of coal. The committee tabled five reports in total, Reports 2 and 4 are relevant to this audit. Report 1 was an interim report with no recommendations made. Report No. This audit will examine how effectively public sector entities have implemented recommendations aimed at reducing the risk and occurrence of mine dust lung disease. In response to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry, the Queensland Government is implementing a new child and family support system over the next 10 years.
It is intended to have a greater focus on supporting families in providing a safe and secure home for their children. This response reinforces that parents and families are responsible for the care and safety of their children, with the government's role being to support parents and families by providing the right services at the right time for those in need.
The Public Sector
Implementing the reforms will require a fundamental shift in the way government agencies, child safety professionals, and community organisations work with vulnerable families, and with each other. The objective of this audit is to assess how effectively Queensland government agencies work together for the safety and wellbeing of Queensland children. The quality of infrastructure investment decisions correlates with how successful a project is and how it will have the desired economic and social impact on the state.
It is critical for the state government to effectively assess investment decisions to ensure they are sound, will achieve economic benefits and value-for-money, and will ultimately deliver a positive outcome. Building Queensland was established as an independent statutory body on 3 December under the Building Queensland Act Building Queensland has developed a Business Case Development Framework to assist government agencies with the development of major infrastructure proposals.
The guidance supplements the Project Assessment Framework and provides detailed advice on how to develop a robust business case. In Queensland, most electricity is generated, transmitted, and distributed by state government-owned corporations and controlled entities.
CS Energy and Stanwell are electricity generators. They produce electricity and sell into the National Electricity Market. Powerlink transmits electricity from generators to Energy Queensland, the distributor. Energy Queensland then distributes electricity from the transmission network to consumers. From there, electricity retailers purchase and sell electricity to households and businesses. State government owned corporations and controlled energy entities. In Queensland, water is primarily used by households, agriculture, mining, electricity generation, tourism, and manufacturing industries.
Seqwater sells treated bulk water to local council regions within South East Queensland. This enables the NAO to undertake comparative work between departments. The building is a modern, open plan office and the refurbishment enabled the NAO to introduce many environmentally friendly features, such as rain-water harvesting. The Board is made up of.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Auditor of the Imprests.
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Retrieved 14 November Institute of Historical Research. Even when it was decided by the Finance Minister in to adopt full accrual reporting, agencies were allowed several years to produce their first set of accounts on this basis. As it turned out, 10 agencies reported on an accrual basis in —93, approximately 20 in —94 and the remaining agencies in — Accounting and auditing standards have become much more demanding and staff of the office are required to be across many more challenging accounting and presentation issues today than they did in the earlier years of accrual reporting.
I sign the audit opinions on the financial statements of the Australian Government and ten of the most significant government entities including the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Future Fund, Australia Post, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and a number of significant departments; my senior staff sign the balance of the audit opinions under delegation. I can assure you I am very conscious of the responsibility that comes with signing such opinions, and my senior staff and team members are conscious of their responsibilities as well.
We understand that the Parliament and the wider community take confidence from our work and our audit opinions. In addition to our financial statement and performance audit work, the ANAO has continued to develop its audit products and services to act as a catalyst for improving public administration. The BPGs were designed to give examples of sound practice that should be adopted by the whole of the Australian public sector.
Initially the BPGs were produced on an ad hoc basis but in later years they have become an integral part of our performance audit strategy. We reinforce our audit findings and recommendations through the publication of our BPGs which are specifically designed to provide practical, workable guidance to promote better practice in specific areas of public administration. In fact, some agencies would prefer we produced more BPGs and less audits! This represents 0. In my view, this is a modest price to pay for the assurance provided by the ANAO. As I will touch on shortly, we do not duck auditing contentious topics.
We seek to operate efficiently, as you would expect, and to improve our own performance over time. We seek to maintain effective relationships with agencies and government, and generally do most of the time. We have wide-ranging powers of access to all documents created by government and may take evidence on oath from any person to aid the conduct of audits of Commonwealth entities. That said, it is quite rare for the office to be required to formally seek documents or take evidence on oath.
Most parties understand we have very broad powers and generally see merit in cooperating. I have only used my formal powers to take evidence on oath on a small number of occasions in more than six years.
The most recent, and high profile, was report no. I was asked to conduct an urgent investigation into these allegations. In these sensitive audits, we have discussions with ministers and the CEO of responsible agencies to make sure we have a clear understanding of the issues to inform our report. Evidence was taken on oath from the then Prime Minister, the Treasurer and other key identities involved. I felt it was important to use the full extent of the powers the Parliament had provided me to get to the bottom of the central issue on which the audit was focused.
In addition to gathering evidence in this way, the audit involved forensic analysis of email traffic between the various ministerial officers, the Treasury and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. I should also add that this audit was completed in six weeks from declaration to tabling, which was a herculean task by the audit team  considering the work involved and the time allowed for respondents to provide comments on the draft report before tabling.
The largest performance audit the ANAO has ever prepared was the three-volume page report Performance Audit of the Regional Partnerships Programme  , which included 12 case studies. The audit highlighted a poor standard of administration of the Regional Partnerships grants program and some bias in the distribution of grants to recipients in seats held by the then government.
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Of particular note in these respects was the significantly higher tempo of funding applications, project approvals and announcements that occurred in the eight months leading up to the calling of the federal election, compared to the remainder of the three years examined by the ANAO. A surge in grant approvals and announcements occurred during this period notwithstanding that many of the projects recommended and approved for funding were under-developed such that they did not demonstrably satisfy the program assessment criteria.
The report was also a little controversial in being tabled out of session just ten days out from a federal election. The decision to table the report at this time was not a difficult decision for me to make because to table such a report after the election on a program for which the government was accountable would have made the office appear limp; particularly when the office has had a history of tabling reports out of session in the caretaker period and given the extensive consultation that had occurred with the administering department and responsible ministers to ensure that they were provided with every opportunity to provide their perspective on the issues raised by the audit.
While the timing of the report aroused some comment at the time, most appreciated there was really no choice here. The ANAO has followed this audit with a series of audits on grant administration showing how the approach to assessing grant applications and making recommendations to ministers needed serious improvement. In , the government responded with a substantially upgraded framework for the administration of grants. Key requirements are that:. Another audit causing my name to drop off a few Christmas card lists for a while was the performance audit of parliamentary entitlements tabled in September , which was the third time the ANAO has undertaken a comprehensive examination of entitlements provided to parliamentarians.
The audit report drew attention to an entitlements framework that is difficult to understand and manage for both parliamentarians and the Department of Finance and Deregulation, a system that involved limited accountability for entitlements use and a relatively gentle approach by the department to entitlements administration. We have also undertaken some very important reviews of major Defence acquisition projects and government advertising to strengthen public administration in these areas which, historically, have had their issues.
There are many other areas where our contribution has made lasting improvements to the way programs are delivered by agencies. While the Defence Department has been on the receiving end of some of our more critical audit reports, I do want to recognise the efforts of the department in overcoming the most significant financial reporting issues any agency had in preparing their financial statements on an accruals basis.
My staff also put in a very substantial effort to ensure Defence received timely feedback on their approach to remediation, and the audit results. It was a very good case study of how an agency, with effective leadership and working to a clear strategy, in consultation with the ANAO, can turn a challenging situation around. Our work underlines the importance of public sector entities giving emphasis to the fundamentals of leadership, governance and management. It seems we all need to be reminded of this.
In a different context, a recent study  of hundreds of financial crises in 66 countries over years found oft-repeated patterns that the study indicates ought to alert economists when trouble is on the way. While our audits only traverse years, there are indications that when things go astray, common features include poor oversight, lack of adequate risk management and inadequate score-keeping systems. Our audit reports tend to be understated for effect, and we have consciously reduced the number of recommendations we produce to focus only on significant matters.
Some agencies have suggested, tongue in cheek, that it is their improved performance which has led to the reduction in recommendations. It is quite rare for agencies not to agree with our conclusions and recommendations—a reflection of the strength of our understanding of their programs and our willingness to engage with agencies on key issues—to listen to their perspective and weigh the key management, regulatory and financial considerations and reach a conclusion.
We work hard to improve the quality of our audits, year on year, by investing in professional development of our staff, providing solid technological support to our audit teams and access to key specialist resources under panel arrangements. I can say that the pursuit of cost-effective approaches to delivering better quality services is never far from my mind.
We are looking to not only produce quality reports but to maximise the leverage from each report. Proposed performance indicators to be audited should be identified annually by the Auditor-General and forwarded to the Parliament, via the JCPAA for comment, in a manner similar to the annual performance audit work program for the ANAO. The Auditor-General should be resourced appropriately to undertake this function. Significantly, they also underline that the Commonwealth Parliament needs to be appropriately informed about the delivery of services by other jurisdictions funded by the Commonwealth.
There is a need for more visibility over how effectively Commonwealth resources are being deployed. Government in Australia is powerful and has command of a very substantial level of resources relative to those of the Parliament or, as Andrew Murray said more directly in his recent Senate Occasional Lecture:. Parliament has to do battle against the dark arts, against that which is wrongly hidden, that which is not what it seems, and performance that is not good enough.
Through measures such as those proposed by the JCPAA, the Parliament will be better informed of the performance of programs funded by appropriations the Parliament has authorised. The legislation, as amended, has now been passed by the House of Representatives, and the proposed legislation is being debated by the Senate. These amendments to the audit legislation are certainly the most significant since the office was given the performance audit mandate and, in some ways, more wide-ranging as it is proposed that the Auditor-General be able to assess the performance of the recipients of Commonwealth Government funding and contractors engaged to assist with the delivery of government programs and activities.
National Audit Office (NAO)
Such changes, if enacted, will bring with them the responsibility on the Auditor-General and the office to exercise the powers judiciously in those areas which are significant to the delivery of programs being administered by jurisdictions with funds provided by the Commonwealth and in relation to contractors where performance is central to the delivery of programs and activities.
The legislation anticipates that audits of state or territory recipients of Commonwealth funding will be undertaken only at the request of the JCPAA or a minister. The proposed legislation does not substantively change the position with respect to the audits of GBEs by the Auditor-General—it seems such an amendment to give the Auditor-General the authority to undertake a performance audit of a GBE, at his or her discretion, may have to await another day.
As a highly respected audit office amongst our peers, the ANAO also makes an important contribution to the improvement of public sector auditing internationally. My office is active in a range of international and regional groupings of supreme audit institutions which provide for ongoing interaction, the opportunity to build institutional linkages, and the chance to share our insights. An important indicator of our standing internationally comes through our involvement in peer reviews of other Supreme Audit Institutions. In —10, the ANAO led a peer review of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and this year we have been invited by the supreme audit institution of India to lead a peer review of its performance audit function.
Since the late s, both offices have maintained a twinning program funded by the Australian aid program. Through this range of activity, my office is able to maintain a valuable presence internationally which reflects well on Australia. It also offers excellent and varied opportunities for the ANAO to make international contributions. At the heart of the effectiveness of the role of the Auditor-General is the legislative mandate that provides for the charter and independence of the office, and the powers to be able to obtain access to government information and report independently to the Parliament.
The independence is critical to success, allowing the Auditor-General to report on government administration without fear or favour. Such reports assist the Parliament to hold the executive government to account and inform the wider Australian community of the state of public administration. In discharging my responsibilities, I am very conscious that I do so with a clear view of not only the Parliament but also the citizens of Australia.
We look to see that programs are appropriately implemented with wide considerations of public interest and consistent with legislation and government policy. I receive correspondence from members of the public and we always endeavour to respond in a manner that is helpful. Other correspondents suggest audit topics or bring their concerns about particular aspects of administration to my attention.
While we are not always able to resolve all of the issues raised with us, the contact from members of the public is valued and underlines to my office the importance of our role to act in the public interest. During my time as Auditor-General, we have managed to maintain effective working relationships with key stakeholder groups. We are fortunate to meet many members of Parliament as they become involved in parliamentary committee work early in their careers in Parliament.
This assists greatly at a later time when they become ministers and audit issues arise in their portfolios. It is important that I should also indicate that no government minister or other member of Parliament has ever sought to improperly influence my presentation of audit findings. As you would expect, from time to time there have been fairly robust discussions where ministers and CEOs have strongly presented their perspective, but properly done, this generally adds to the understanding of the issues on both sides.
Occasionally, it also adds a bit of colour, but most importantly it reflects well on our system of government here in Australia and the respect for our institutional arrangements. The Prime Minister generously recognised the rigour and independence of our work, and the contributions we are making to support improved governance in our region, especially Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The ANAO has moved with the times.
Today it has a broad mandate, is appropriately resourced to allow me to discharge my responsibilities as Auditor-General and, through its work, assists the Parliament to hold the executive government to account, and brings about considerable changes in public administration for the better.
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