Our staff add value to public sector effectiveness and the independent assurance of public sector administration and accountability, applying our professional and technical leadership to have a real impact on real issues.
The objective of this information report would be to present information on Australian Government grant awarding. Since 31 December 2017, entities have been required to make information available on GrantConnect about individual grants awarded within 21 days of a grant agreement taking effect. This replaced an earlier obligation for entities to report information on grants awarded on their own websites. Entities must also make grant opportunity guidelines publicly available on GrantConnect (except in defined circumstances).
This audit would assess the effectiveness of the administration of the Community Health and Hospitals Program. The program represents a government investment of $1.25 billion over seven years, from 201819, in local services, infrastructure projects and programs intended to address local service gaps and fund new and existing facilities. Projects will be delivered through Primary Health Networks, targeted grant funding, and transfer payments to states and territories.
The audit would focus on areas within the Department of Health’s administrative responsibility, including the selection and allocation of program funding to states and territories, including through Primary Health Networks; and departmental value-for-money decision-making regarding national projects.
This audit would assess the effectiveness with which funding is being delivered through the Drought Communities Program and Drought Communities Program Extension.
The program was established in 2015, with 23 councils eligible for up to $1.5 million each in funding. The original program is now closed.
The Drought Communities Program Extension commenced in late 2018. The extension was expanded in November 2019 and January 2020, bringing the current number of eligible local government areas to 180 and funding for the extension to $301 million.
After a council is declared as eligible, it is able to apply through the Business Grants Hub to have project proposals assessed against the published program guidelines. The audit would examine the process by which councils are declared as eligible, as well as the processes by which eligible councils obtain access to program funding and the oversight of the delivery of approved projects.
This audit would assess the effectiveness of the National Indigenous Australians Agency’s (NIAA’s) arrangements to control the risk of grant recipient fraud and noncompliance.
Through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, the NIAA is administering a $5.2 billion grants program over the four years to 2022–23. As at February 2020, the NIAA was funding 1,838 grants to over 1,000 service providers, valued at $3.97 billion. Inadequate control of fraud and noncompliance would create a significant risk of misuse of public money, and would have a detrimental impact on the performance and availability of services to Indigenous Australians. The audit would provide assurance that the NIAA has effective arrangements supporting the integrity of programs aimed at improving the lives of Indigenous peoples.
This audit would assess the efficiency and effectiveness of centralised government grants hubs, which include the Business Grants Hub (within the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources) and the Community Grants Hub (within the Department of Social Services). In addition, GrantConnect is the Australian Government’s whole-of-government grant information system.
Grants hubs are intended to reduce red tape for grant applicants and recipients and result in administrative efficiencies for government. This audit would assess whether grants hubs deliver efficiency savings and provide sufficient transparency and assurance about grant processes and outcomes.
This audit would assess whether projects that received grant funding under the 20 Million Trees Program have been effectively delivered and the funding appropriately acquitted.
Auditor-General Report No. 4 2016–17Award of Funding under the 20 Million Trees Programme, examined the award of funding under the program. The published program guidelines required that projects with a budget of $60,000 or greater were required to have a timeframe of between 18 months and three years; and projects with a budget of less than $60,000 were required to be completed within 18 months. Delivery of funded projects should be substantially completed when this audit is undertaken.
This audit would examine the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s effectiveness in implementing the Regional Land Partnerships Program.
The four-year $450 million Regional Land Partnerships Program (2018–22) was established to fund a range of projects, including to support farmers to adapt to environmental change, improve soil and biodiversity, protect threatened species, and manage wetlands of international importance. Previous Auditor-General reports examining the delivery of natural resource management activities have identified a range of issues, such as the clarity of assessment and selection processes and the implementation of risk-based compliance strategies (see Auditor-General Report No. 10 2014–15Administration of the Biodiversity Fund Program, and Auditor-General Report No. 4 2016–17 Award of Funding under the 20 Million Trees Programme).