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The audit reviewed management of the Commonwealth's role in preparing for, and managing, pest and disease emergencies requiring a rapid response. The audit focused on the role of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry -Australia (AFFA), which is the Commonwealth Department with primary portfolio responsibility for coordinating the national and international response to an emergency. The audit did not address preventative measures such as quarantine and border controls; controlled release of exotic diseases or pests; or emergencies associated with previously known endemic diseases, food safety or chemical residue issues.
This performance audit was conducted to examine the efficiency and administrative effectiveness of Commonwealth fisheries management, with particular emphasis on AFMA's systems and procedures for planning and operations. In addition, the audit sought to determine whether AFMA is gathering and reporting to the Parliament appropriate accountability information on its performance.
The ANAO selected the Fututech project for audit as it is one of the largest R&D projects conducted by any of the rural R&D corporations to date. The ANAO planned to identify possible improvements in management practices which would assist not only MRC but also other R&D corporations.