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This audit would assess the effectiveness of the Department of Health’s administration of eye and ear health initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have high rates or middle ear infection and subsequent hearing loss, which can lead to disadvantage at school. In addition, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer vision impairment and blindness at three times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians, which is a barrier to education and employment.
Under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program, $34.2 million is being provided to improve eye health and $95.3 million is being provided to improve ear and hearing health from 2018–19 to 2021–22. An audit of these initiatives would examine whether investment has been well targeted and effective in delivering outcomes, and has the potential to inform future investment decisions.
This audit would assess the effectiveness of Services Australia’s administration of proof of identity requirements for granting access to selected government welfare payments and other services. The audit would focus on whether Services Australia has complied with the requirements of the National Identity Security Strategy and National Identity Proofing Guidelines.
A key part of Services Australia’s processes for granting access to government payments and programs is correctly identifying applicants, so the department can pay the right amount to the right person. Auditor-General Report No. 8 of 2007–08, Proof of Identity for Accessing Centrelink Payments, found weaknesses in Centrelink’s control framework for social security payments due to insufficient proof of identity information on file for around 15 per cent of customers.
This audit would examine the effectiveness of the National Blood Authority’s management of the blood supply system and blood products, including plasma products.
Governments in Australia spend over $1 billion per year on the supply of blood and blood products, with 63 per cent provided by the Australian Government. Forty-four per cent of all immunoglobulin used in 2016–17 had to be bought from overseas suppliers, and whiledemand is rising by 11 per cent per year, local collections are rising by only five per cent.
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 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 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 Services Australia’s administration of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme (the scheme) on behalf of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development.
The scheme, operating since 1976, provides financial assistance for the costs incurred by shippers of eligible non-bulk goods moved by sea between Tasmania and mainland Australia. The scheme’s objective is to give Tasmanian industries equal opportunities to compete in other markets, recognising that Tasmanian suppliers do not have the option of transporting goods interstate by road or rail.
The audit would consider Services Australia’s compliance with the scheme’s ministerial directions, as well as the effectiveness of Services Australia’s administration of the scheme.