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This audit would examine how effectively the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is planning for and managing its Veteran Centric Reforms (VCR) program.
The VCR program commenced in July 2017 and aims to transform DVA’s business processes and culture, improve service options, and information and communications technology redevelopment. The reforms are intended to support the department’s clients and their families, and focus particularly on enabling younger veterans to gain early access to treatment and support and improve the transition from the Australian Defence Force to civilian life. The 2017–18 Budget allocated $166.6 million over four years to the VCR program, and an additional $111.9 million over four years in the 2018–19 Budget.
This audit would examine the Treasury’s effectiveness in the design and administration of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC).
The NHFIC was established in June 2018 to improve housing outcomes, and is a key part of the Australian Government’s plan to help reduce pressure on housing affordability. It offers loans, investments and grants to encourage investment in housing, with a particular focus on affordable housing. The total value of the measures to improve housing outcomes is expected to be in the order of $2 billion, in the form of operational funding of $63.1 million over four years from 2017–18; grants and equity loan funding of $1 billion over five years from 2018–19; and a line of credit to the Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator via a special account of $1 billion. In 2018–19, $150 million was appropriated to the Treasury to establish this line of credit.
This audit would assess the effectiveness of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT’s) management and administration of the Australia Awards program.
Australia Awards scholarships are long-term awards provided to individuals in developing countries to undertake full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study at participating Australian universities and TAFE institutions. Recipients are provided with benefits including full tuition fees, return travel, health cover, contributions to living expenses, and preparatory training.
The 2018–19 budget for the program was $320 million, with approximately one-third of this budget allocated to individual posts to determine priority areas (e.g. students from Papua New Guinea looking to study law and justice), and the remaining proportion determined centrally by DFAT. In 2017–18, the department supported 5100 continuing students and offered 4031 new scholarships to applicants from over 60 developing countries. This audit would provide assurance that monies are being granted in a manner that is transparent and aligns with Australia’s strategic objectives and international interests.
This audit would assess the effectiveness the Department of Health’s design and implementation of initiatives aimed at attracting medical practitioners to rural and remote regions.
The Stronger Rural Health Strategy aims to build a sustainable, high-quality health workforce that is distributed across the country according to community need. The strategy has a range of incentives, targeted funding and bonding arrangements. The a number of areas, including whether incentives and targeted funding are meeting needs.
This audit would assess the effectiveness of the Department of Health’s development, implementation and monitoring of the Home Care Packages Program.
The Home Care Packages Program aims to support older people to keep living in their own home by providing access to a range of personal support and clinical care services. In 2017–18, there were 99,932 home care packages allocated to older people through a national prioritisation system at a cost of $2 billion. The 2018–19 Budget included $1.6 billion over four years for an additional 14,000 high-level home care packages for those who choose to live in their home but need extra support.
The audit would complement inquiries being made by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which is primarily looking at the quality of care provided to older Australians, and to young people with disabilities living in residential aged care.
This audit would assess the effectiveness of the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business’s (the department’s) administration of the Employment Fund.
Providers in the jobactive program have access to the Employment Fund, which is a flexible pool of funds that can be used to help eligible jobseekers build experience and skills to obtain and keep jobs. The department tightened controls on access to the fund during the early years of jobactive (which commenced in 2015), but reports that it has now increased the flexibility of the fund and reduced red tape.
During 2017–18, there was a 69 per cent increase in the use of the Employment Fund ($232.3 million in 2017–18 compared to $136.7 million in 2016–17), which was accessed by 355,000 jobseekers.
This audit would assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA’s) administration of veterans’ residential care payments.
Expenses for veterans’ residential care is significant, exceeding $1 billion in 2017–18. DVA’s two largest client cohorts are clients aged 85 and over, and clients aged 64–73. These two cohorts are large users of residential care. Auditor-General Report No. 46 of 2013–14, Administration of Residential Care Payments, examined DVA’s administration of residential care payments and found the department to be largely ineffective in its management of those payments. The report included four recommendations aimed at improving DVA’s administration in this area.