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The audit would assess whether the award of funding under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative was effective and consistent with the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines.
Established in the 2020–21 Budget, the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative aims to stimulate business investment in the manufacturing sector by addressing barriers to scale and competitiveness for Australian manufacturers. Funding is awarded via an open, competitive process under three streams: the Manufacturing Translation Stream; Manufacturing Integration Stream and Manufacturing Collaboration Stream. Funding is targeted at supporting projects within the six National Manufacturing Priorities: resources technology and critical minerals processing; food and beverage; medical products; recycling and clean energy; defence; and space. The Modern Manufacturing Initiative is the centrepiece of the Modern Manufacturing Strategy, which is the Australian Government’s action plan to develop manufacturing to deliver positive economic outcomes and create jobs.
This audit would assess the effectiveness of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT’s) design and inception planning of the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP). This audit would include an examination of frameworks under which the AIFFP Board has been established and will operate, and the efficacy of DFAT’s management of arrangements with Export Finance Australia.
The AIFFP was established in July 2019. The facility uses aid grant funding of up to $500 million, combined with long-term loans of up to $1.5 billion, to support infrastructure development in Pacific countries and Timor-Leste (over seven years). In 2020–21, Australia finalised financing for approximately $110 million in AIFFP investments in energy, information communication technology, and transport projects across three Pacific Island countries.
This audit would assess the effectiveness of the administration of the Urban Congestion Fund by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.
The Urban Congestion Fund was established under the Infrastructure Investment Program in the 2018–19 Budget as a $1 billion fund, which had grown to $4.8 billion by December 2019. The stated objective was to ‘support projects to remediate pinch points, improve traffic safety and increase network efficiency for commuter and freight movements in urban areas’. The Department reported that, as at September 2021, there were 182 separately identifiable packages of works under the Urban Congestion Fund of which 35 had been completed and 38 were underway.
This audit would assess whether the award of funding under the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund was effective and consistent with the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines.
The RISE Fund was announced in June 2020 as a $75 million component of the COVID-19 Creative Economy JobMaker Package. It was expanded in March 2021 to be a $200 million program, as part of the COVID response package to support the arts and entertainment sector to reactivate. The program is intended to provide finance to assist in the presentation of cultural and creative projects, activities and events, and to rebuild confidence amongst investors, producers and consumers. This is to support employment of artists and workers in the arts and entertainment sector, as well as in connected industries such as hospitality, accommodation, transport, and freight. Grants are awarded via an open competitive process, with applications assessed and considered in batches until all funds are allocated.
This audit would assess whether the administration of the Community Broadcasting Program was effective in achieving the program objectives and was consistent with the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines.
The purpose of the Community Broadcasting Program is to support a diverse, innovative and resilient community broadcasting sector. The program has been delivered for the Australian Government by a third party — the Community Broadcasting Foundation Ltd — since 1984. This includes through grants awarded to the Community Broadcasting Foundation Ltd of $88,969,100 for the term September 2017 to February 2022 and of $81,456,100 for the term November 2021 to June 2025.
This audit would examine the effectiveness of the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water’s activities to support the recovery of threatened species and ecological communities following the 2019–20 bushfire season. It would include an examination of whether appropriate governance and prioritisation arrangements were in place to ensure funding was directed to the areas that need it most.
The 2019–2020 bushfire season severely impacted many threatened species and ecological communities. As part of the response, the Australian Government committed $200 million to help native wildlife and their habitats recover from the impacts of the bushfires. This includes an initial $50 million investment that was made available from January 2020 for urgent interventions and initial recovery actions, $110 million for strategic on-ground support for the most impacted native species across seven bushfire-affected regions, and funding to support scientific assessment and planning coordination.
This audit would examine the effectiveness of the Department of Social Services’ administration of the Try, Test and Learn (TTL) Fund and the transition projects under the TTL Fund.
The TTL Fund was announced in the 2016–17 Budget. It provided up to $103. 84 million over four years to generate new insights and evidence into approaches that are effective at reducing long-term welfare dependence. Funding of $12.6 million was announced for the new Transition Funding for Successful Try, Test and Learn Projects program (transition program) in the 2021–22 Budget. The purpose of the transition program is to support up to ten TTL Fund projects that demonstrated promise in delivering employment outcomes for vulnerable cohorts most at risk of long-term unemployment and long-term welfare dependence. The transition program is meant to run over two years and be in the form of one-off, time-limited grants. An evaluation of the TTL Fund was delivered in mid-2021. The Department of Social Services is responsible for administering the TTL Fund and transition program.
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 non-compliance.
The Indigenous Advancement Strategy has a budget of $5.2 billion over the four years to 2022–23. In 2021–22, the NIAA was funding approximately 1,500 activities to over 1,000 service providers, valued at $1.03 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 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.