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This audit would assess the design, implementation and performance monitoring of recent changes to the Community Development Program. The audit would also follow up relevant recommendations from Auditor-General Report No. 14 2017–18The Design and Implementation of the Community Development Programme, and the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee’s 2017 report Appropriateness and effectiveness of the objectives, design, implementation and evaluation of the Community Development Program.
The Community Development Program, which commenced on 1 July 2015, is an Australian Government employment and community development program designed to support jobseekers and reduce welfare dependency in remote Australia. The budget for the program is $1.1 billion over four years from 2018–19.
In 2018–19, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet introduced changes to the Community Development Program that were designed to reduce penalties and increase local decision-making to better support jobseekers in remote and regional parts of Australia.
This audit would assess, for selected policy initiatives, whether evidence and data were used effectively in the policy development process, including in advice provided to government.
The audit would also examine the availability of guidance and training material to entities on the effective use of evidence and data in developing policy, as recommended in Auditor-General Report No. 10 2017–18Design and Monitoring of the National Innovation and Science Agenda. Evidence-based policymaking is not a new concept, but has proven challenging to implement. Essential ingredients include the use of an appropriate methodology, availability of relevant and reliable data, transparency in approach, independence, sufficient time for development, and a receptive policymaking environment.