Legislation and standards
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Information on legislation that governs the work of the Auditor-General and the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO).
Auditor-General Act 1997
The Auditor-General is an independent officer of the Australian Parliament whose mandate is set out in the Auditor-General Act 1997.
View the Auditor-General Act 1997 on the Federal Register of Legislation.
For more information about the Auditor-General’s functions under Auditor-General Act 1997, see the Auditor-General page.
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013
The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) establishes a system of governance and accountability for public resources, with an emphasis on planning, performance, risk management and reporting. The PGPA Act applies to all Commonwealth entities and Commonwealth companies. Related rules and other legislative instruments establish the requirements and procedures necessary to give effect to the governance, performance and accountability matters covered by the PGPA Act. The PGPA Act also provides for the accountable authorities of entities to issue internal instructions (known as Accountable Authority Instructions).
The ANAO is a non-corporate Commonwealth entity under the PGPA Act. The Auditor-General is the entity accountable authority.
View the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 on the Federal Register of Legislation.
Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) Auditing Standards
The Auditor-General Act (Section 24) requires the Auditor-General to set auditing standards that are to be complied with in performing the Auditor-General’s functions. These standards are legislative instruments.
The intention is that audits conducted by the ANAO should be conducted to the same standards required of the auditing profession, to the extent that they are not inconsistent with the provisions of the Auditor-General Act and other legislation relevant to the ANAO’s work. The ANAO Auditing Standards incorporate the standards issued by Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board, and are consistent with the key requirements of the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI). The ANAO Auditing Standards established in February 2018 adopt the revised ASAE 3500 Performance Engagements (the relevant AUASB standard for performance audits in Australia), except in relation to reporting requirements, internal controls and non-compliance with laws and regulations. The reporting requirements of ASAE 3500 are replaced with those contained in INTOSAI Standard ISSAI 3000 Standard for Performance Auditing (ISSAI 3000). This is consistent with the ANAO’s current approach in reporting to the Parliament and with the ANAO’s purpose.
The ANAO Auditing Standards incorporate Auditing Standard ASQC 1 Quality Control for Firms that Perform Audits and Reviews of Financial Reports and other Financial Information, other Assurance Engagements and Related Services Engagements (ASQC1). ASQC 1 requires the ANAO to establish and maintain a system of quality control to provide it with reasonable assurance that the ANAO complies with the ANAO Auditing Standards and other applicable requirements and that reports issued by the Auditor-General are appropriate in the circumstances.
View the Australian National Audit Office Auditing Standards on the Federal Register of Legislation.
For more information about ANAO quality assurance, see the audit process.
International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions
The ANAO draws from international audit standards, including those set by International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI), to ensure our work remains relevant. In particular, we have regard for ISSAI 12 – The Value and Benefits of Supreme Audit Institutions - making a difference to the lives of citizens.
The principles set out in the standard are based on the extent to which a Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) is able to make a difference to the lives of citizens, based on the SAI:
- strengthening the accountability, transparency and integrity of government and public sector entities;
- demonstrating ongoing relevance to citizens, Parliament and other stakeholders; and
- being a model organisation through leading by example.
Public Service Act 1999
ANAO staff are employed under the Public Service Act 1999, which is the principal Act governing the operation of the Australian Public Service. The Public Service Act is supported by the following subordinate legislation:
- Public Service Regulations 1999
- Public Service Classification Rules 2000
- Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2016
The ANAO is a Statutory Agency under the Auditor-General Act 1997, for the purposes of the Public Service Act. The Auditor-General is the Agency Head under the Act.
Freedom of Information Act 1982
The Auditor-General is exempt from the application of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). However, to the extent appropriate, the ANAO provides information on request in the spirit of the FOI Act, in relation to the administration of the ANAO.
Privacy Act 1998
The Auditor-General is exempt from the application of the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) set out in Schedule 1 of the Privacy Act 1988.
Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) provides an avenue for public officials to report suspected wrong doing in the Australian public sector.
The scheme provides for employees (including former employees) of the ANAO and contracted service providers to the ANAO, to make a public interest disclosure of suspected wrongdoing relating to any public official, and provides for any public officials and former public officials to make a public interest disclosure of suspected wrongdoing relating to ANAO activities or ANAO officials,
The reporting of disclosable conduct and the processes involved in dealing with the disclosure of such conduct, that are outlined in the PID Act, are separate from, and should not impact directly on, the way ANAO staff perform an Auditor-General function.
For more information see Public Interest Disclosure (PID) Scheme.