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Although the audit examined broader aspects of the ATO's administration (such as, tobacco excise governance arrangements, intelligence capability and compliance and investigations activities), we placed particular emphasis on the strategies used by the ATO to address the proliferation of chop-chop (Australian grown tobacco sold illicitly in a chopped up form for $80 to $100 per kilogram. In comparison, 50 grams of legal roll-you-own tobacco costs around $16 i.e. $320 per kilogram) in the Australian markets, as it is an area of major risk to tobacco excise revenue.
The objective of the audit was to assess the administrative effectiveness of Australian Customs Services (Customs) drug detection strategies for air and containerised sea cargo and small craft activity. Within the scope of the audit, the following areas were examined :
intelligence and law enforcement cooperation;
air and containerised sea cargo;
cargo examinations and technology;
small craft activities;
Customs funding arrangements (including funding for NIDS initiatives): and
The audit objective was to determine whether organisations had implemented adequate control frameworks and processes to mitigate the risks associated with GST obligations and transactions. The scope of the audit covered all aspects of GST processing relating to the revenue and expenditure accounting cycles in six Commonwealth organisations. Audit testing of transactions was based on a statistical sample of 160 GST transactions at each of the organisations.
Robust internal budgeting processes are an essential part of effective financial management and are critical in the successful implementation of the accrual-based, outputs and outcomes framework. Effective internal budgeting should be closely intergrated with business planning processes and require a comprehensive and collaborative approach, involving input from throughout the organisation.
The Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, Mr Stephen Smith, wrote to the Auditor-General on 11 March 2002 formally requesting an investigation into certain matters in relation to the 'Co-Location of National General Practice Organisations', a message detailed in the Health Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2001-02. The Federal President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Limited wrote to the Auditor-General on 11 March 2002, requesting a comprehensive audit of funding decisions by the Minister for Health and Ageing. The Australian National Audit Office has undertaken a preliminary examination of relevant papers relating to the 'GP House' matter. The preliminary examination focussed on whether or not due process was followed in making the decision to transfer funds between Outcomes. The preliminary examination also considered the procedures adopted by the Department of Health and Aged Care in developing the funding proposal, the advisory role played by the Department of Finance and Administration and specific advice provided by both departments to their Ministers. The examination further considered the disclosure of the related budget measure.
The audit reviewed Commonwealth National Parks involving total assets of $105 million with net operating costs of $41.77 million. Nineteen Commonwealth reserves are declared comprising six terrestrial national parks, one botanic garden and twelve marine parks and reserves totalling some 23 million hectares across Australia, its external territories and Commonwealth marine areas. The objective of the audit was to examine and report on the adequacy of the planning, management and reporting systems which support the Director of National Parks in the achievement of required functions under relevant legislation and agreed outputs and outcomes.
The audit examined the administrative processes that the department has in place to support the administration of RAP. The objective of the audit was to determine whether funding was being allocated in accordance with the RAP policy guidelines and whether the department was managing RAP contracts to ensure that desired outcomes are achieved
The 30 per cent Private Health Insurance Rebate is a financial incentive for individuals to purchase health insurance cover. The rebate provides for a reimbursement or discount of 30 per cent of the cost of private health insurance. It is available to all Australians who are eligible for Medicare and have private health insurance. The objective of the audit was to determine the effectiveness of Commonwealth Government agencies administration of the rebate.
The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) uses information technology (IT) extensively in providing services to Australia's veteran and defence force communities. The audit reviewed DVA's management of its IT outsourcing contract. The audit considered DVA's planning to meet its strategic IT needs through the IT outsourcing contract, the provisions of the contract, contract administration, management of the impacts of the outsourced services on DVA's business and the outcomes of DVA's approach to the contract.
An Assurance and Control Assessment audit of recordkeeping was undertaken across four Commonwealth organisations to assess whether their recordkeeping policies, systems and processes accord with requirements under the Archives Act 1983, with relevant government policies, and with accepted standards and recordkeeping principles; and to identify better practices and recommend improvements. The audit addressed both electronic and traditional records.
The audit sought to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the ADF's management of fuel and lubricants and to identify possible areas for improvement. The audit focused on major aspects of the fuel supply chain, in particular the strategic management of fuel (eg. the coordination of fuel requirements and stockholding policy). The audit also reviewed fuel procurement practices, storage and handling issues. The audit coverage addressed the fuel supply aspects of these matters rather than transport, distribution and equipment issues. Although directed principally towards operational fuels, the audit took into consideration issues associated with ADF's requirement for oils and lubricants.
To improve educational outcomes for Indigenous Australians, two main forms of assistance administered by the Commonwealth, namely the Indigenous Education Strategic Initiatives Programme (IESIP) and the Indigenous Education Direct Assistance programmes (IEDA), are currently available. The objective of the audit was to assess whether the department had efficiently and effectively managed the development and implementation of the IESIP agreements for the 2001 to 2004 quadrennium.
The Commonwealth electoral roll is managed by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and lists the names and addresses of people entitled to vote in federal elections. The objectives of the audit were twofold. The first objective was to provide an opinion on the integrity of the electoral roll, for the purpose of the audit, integrity was defined as accuracy, completeness, validity and security. The second objective was to examine the effectiveness of the AEC's management of the electoral roll in ensuring the roll's integrity.
New transactional banking arrangements for FMA agencies came into effect on 1 July 1999. The audit reviewed selected agencies' implementation and ongoing management of contractual banking arrangements; agencies' tendering for the procurement of banking services; and identified practises that have improved administrative arrangements. The audit examined Finance's role in planning and implementing the new arrangements as well as implementation in the Australian Customs Service (Customs) the Department of Transport and Regional Services (DTRS), the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST), and the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA).
The audit was undertaken following advice from the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) to the Auditor-General that assurance that ABC programming adequately reflects the ABC's Charter was an audit priority of Parliament. The objective of the audit is to provide Parliament with this assurance. The focus of the audit was on the governance arrangements of the ABC Board and management that enable the ABC to demonstrate the extent to which it is achieving its' Charter obligations, and other related statutory requirements, efficiently and effectively. The scope of the audit was as follows:
Review the ABC's corporate governance framework against better practice models. The ANAO had regard to the ABC's unique role as a national public broadcaster established as a budget funded Commonwealth statutory authority subject to the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.
Examine the ABC Board's approach to the interpretation of the Charter requirements of the ABC and the setting of strategic directions, and management's administrative arrangements for implementing the strategic directions established by the Board.
Examine the ABC's performance information framework, the development, documentation and use of performance measures in relation to targets and/or objectives, the monitoring and reporting of performance and its' inter-relationship with the corporate planning and budgetary processes, particularly in relation to the strategic directions set by the Board.
The audit did not examine the overall management of the ABC. In keeping with the audit scope, the audit examined ways in which the ABC aligns its' strategic directions with its' Charter requirements for programs broadcast on radio, television and on-line and assures itself, and Parliament, about the achievement of its' Charter obligations. Further, the audit did not examine the operations of ABC Enterprises or symphony orchestras that operate as ABC-owned subsidiary companies.
The audit reviewed the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) management of the provision of employment services information to job seekers up to the point where job seekers are referred to Job Network. The objective of the audit was to examine the administrative effectiveness of DEWR's management of the provision of information to job seekers, focusing on determining what information should be provided, developing an effective means of providing information, and assuring that information is being delivered effectively.
The audit reviewed the planning and management of the Australian Defence Force deployments to East Timor, including the support of those deployments. The audit focused on planning for the deployments and the role of Australia as the lead nation in the International Force in East Timor (INTERFET); and financial, personnel, logistic and other systems used to deploy and sustain Australia's military presence in East Timor.
This was a follow-up of Audit Report No. 40 of 1997-98, Purchase of Hospital Services from State Governments. That audit examined the administration by the Department of Veterans' Affairs of the Purchase of Hospital Services from State Governments. The objective of this audit was to assess the extent to which the Department had implemented the nine recommendations of Report No. 40, taking account of any changed circumstances or administrative issues that the Department identified as affecting their implementation; and to offer continued assurance to the Parliament on the management of the purchase of hospital services.
In view of the significant level of investment by Commonwealth agencies in the implementation and production of Financial Management Information Systems (FMISs), the ANAO, in conjunction with Gartner, undertook a benchmarking study within the Commonwealth budget sector with the objective of determining and reporting on FMIS:
implementation and production costs; and
The benchmarking study also provides some data on resource support, size, volume and utilisation of the FMIS information. These data and metrics have significant implications for FMIS product selection. This study follows on from ANAO Audit Report No.12 'Selection, Implementation and Management of Financial Management Information Systems in Commonwealth Agencies', which was tabled in September 2001. That report provided details of the results of FMIS selections and implementations across the same eight Commonwealth budget sector agencies (the Commonwealth peer group) considered in this benchmarking study.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) established a task force in 1996 to develop a greater understanding of the factors involved and to devise a coordinated approach in dealing with the cash economy. The objective of the performance audit was to report to Parliament on the ATO's progress in addressing the cash economy, including its monitoring and reporting of outcomes. The audit focused on the ATO's implementation of its Cash Economy Task Force recommendations in the light of the tax reform that has taken place over the last two years.
The audit reviewed the use of taxis in six Commonwealth agencies. The objective of the audit was to provide assurance that organisations were effectively managing associated risks and complying with legislation and guidelines in relation to the use of, and payment for taxi services.
The Senate Order of 20 June 2001, required all FMA agencies to list contracts over $100 000 on the Internet. FMA agencies were to indicate, amongst other things, whether the contracts contained provisions requiring the parties to maintain confidentiality of any of its provisions or whether any provisions of the contract were regarded by the parties as confidential. The Senate Order also requested the ANAO to conduct an examination of a number of such contracts, and indicate whether any inappropriate use of confidentiality provisions was detected in that examination. The Government agreed that agencies would comply with the spirit of the Order because it was committed to transparency of Commonwealth contracts. The Government also indicated that agencies' compliance with the Order would be progressive as agencies refine arrangements and processes to meet the requirements
This follow-up Audit reviewed the Department of Health and Ageing's implementation of the recommendations of Audit Report No. 36, 1999-2000, Home and Community Care. The objective of the follow-up audit was to assess the extent to which the Department had implemented the nine recommendations of Audit Report No. 36, 1999-2000. The audit examined areas relating to funding, guidance, fees, coordination with other aged and disability care programs, acquittals, accountability and data requirements, and records management.
The audit reviewed Defence's management of the Test and Evaluation (T&E) aspects of its capital equipment acquisition program. The audit sought to identify, from Defence T&E practice, any barriers that might limit the efficiency and effectiveness of its T&E activities.
This benchmarking study surveyed the roles and functions of CFOs from 15 Commonwealth organisations in 2000-2001. It also involved the CFOs providing self-assessments in response to questions about their role, responsibilities, priorities and challenges. In particular the study sought to identify: ·
the skills, qualifications and experience of Commonwealth CFOs; ·
the CFOs perceptions of their roles, responsibilities and priorities, and how these may have changed in relation to previous studies and available Andersen Global Best Practices (from the Andersen Global Best Practices® knowledge base); and ·
how Commonwealth CFOs viewed and used information technology to achieve their financial management objectives.
This audit is one of a series of fraud control audits undertaken by the ANAO. The audit focussed on Centrelink's arrangements for the prevention, detection and treatment of incorrect payments to its customers. The objective of the audit was to assess whether Centrelink had implemented appropriate fraud control arrangements in line with the Fraud Control Policy of the Commonwealth.
The audit process involved an assessment of the accounts receivable function in eight Commonwealth organisations. The objectives of the audit were to assess whether the processing, collection and overall management of the accounts receivable function was being performed in accordance with applicable legislation, government policy, applicable internal controls, and identify better practices in accounts receivable activities.
Major capital equipment contributes importantly to the capabilities of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to achieve the Defence mission, that is, the defence of Australia and its national interests. The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) is the relatively new Defence organisation responsible for the acquisition and through-life support of Defence equipment and systems. DMO's stated purpose is to equip and sustain the ADF. In 2001-02, it will spend $2.9 billion on progressing some 270 major capital equipment acquisition projects. This preliminary study for the audit focused on DMO reporting on the status of major equipment acquisition projects.
The audit reviewed the broadcasting planning and licensing operations of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, which is responsible for planning the availability of segments of the broadcasting services bands used by radio and television for analogue and digital broadcasting. The objective was to assess the ABA's management of licence area planning and the subsequent issue of broadcasting licences, focussing on analogue radio planning and identifying improved administrative practices, where possible, together with the main factors that have contributed to the delays to date in achieving the planning timetable.
Personnel security, including the security clearance process, is a valuable and essential element of managing the risk inherent in allowing Commonwealth and other personnel access to sensitive information. This audit was designed to review security clearance and vetting policies and practices in a number of Commonwealth organisations and to consider if organisations were managing these processes effectively and efficiently and in accordance with Commonwealth policy, as outlined in the Protective Security Manual.
The audit reviewed the policy advising functions of the Departments of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, and Family and Community Services. The objective of the audit was to determine whether departmental quality management systems for policy advising were appropriate and the advice provided met expected standards for policy outputs.
The ANAO reviewed arrangements for the development of the department's fraud policy, fraud risk assessment and fraud control plan within the core functional areas of the department that are responsible for these activities. The audit also examined the operational procedures and guidelines that were in place to implement the department's fraud policy. The objective of the audit was to assess whether AFFA has implemented appropriate fraud control arrangements in line with the Fraud Control Policy of the Commonwealth and whether these arrangements operate effectively in practice.
The audit process involved an assessment of the payroll arrangements in Commonwealth organisations. The objectives of the audit were to determine whether organisations have established internal control frameworks for the management of payroll operations, assess whether payment of salaries and related expenditures is made in accordance with the relevant terms and conditions of employment, and identify better practices in the management and operations of payroll systems.
The ANAO examined the performance information in the 2000-01 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) for a mix of ten small and large agencies. The objective of the audit was to assess the appropriateness of the performance information in the selected PBS, the reporting of performance information in annual reports and agency arrangements to identify and collect this information.
The audit's objective was to assess, and report to Parliament on, the ATO's administration of petroleum excise collections. The audit examined whether the ATO had implemented effectively administrative arrangements for the collection of petroleum excise since the transfer of the function from Customs in 1999. Areas that were examined relating to administration of petroleum excise were:
The audit also reviewed the role of Customs in performing functions directly related to petroleum excise collections and key elements of the management relationship between the ATO and Customs in this area.
The Government introduced the Defence Reform Program (DRP) in 1997 to enable Defence's resources to be focused more efficiently and effectively on its core functions. The objective of the audit was to assess Defence's management and implementation of DRP and the extent to which it achieved savings for reinvestment in the operational capabilities of the ADF.
In August 1997, Works Australia, a former business unit of the former Department of Administrative Services,was sold by the then Office of Asset Sales (OAS). For a price of $4.2 million, the purchaser acquired the assets of Works Australia and accepted certain liabilities. At the time the sale was completed, Works Australia held $43.7 million in cash belonging to Commonwealth agencies (known as client advances). ANAO programmed an audit to examine oversight of the post-sale contractual arrangements for each of the 307 Commonwealth client advances totalling $43.7 million transferred to the purchaser and found that the $43.7 million in client advances transferred to the purchaser of Works Australia in August 1997 has been effectively accounted for as of July 2001 by the Commonwealth agencies concerned. In addition, the relevant financial security arrangements over the Works Australia client advances have been effectively administered in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Works Australia Sale Agreement by Finance.
The objective of this follow-up audit was to assess Austrade's implementation of the recommendations contained in ANAO Report No. 4 of 1998-99 (Client Service Initiatives - Australian Trade Commission (Austrade)), and whether the implementation of the recommendations or appropriate alternative measures has improved the management and delivery of Austrade's client service.
This cross-portfolio audit reviewed the management of Internet security across ten Commonwealth agencies, with the objective of forming an opinion on the adequacy of Internet security management within the selected agencies. The audit pursued two strands - a review of the management systems employed within agencies including the adequacy of risk assessments, security policies and plans, day to day management and business continuity planning in connection with the agencies' Internet presence, and physical testing of the security arrangements of selected Internet sites. Staff from the Defence Signals Directorate were appointed under the Auditor-General Act 1997 to perform the site testing.
In May 1997, the $1 billion Federation Fund was announced as part of the 1997-98 Budget to mark the Centenary of Federation. One component, the Federation Fund Major Projects ($906.8m), was to provide financial assistance to a number of major projects of national significance; by generating jobs in the construction industry and by making a significant and ongoing contribution to Australia and the Australian economy. Projects were expected to be geographically spread around Australia and well advanced, but not necessarily complete, by 2001. Commonwealth monies were intended to fully fund projects; augment existing funding; or match funding from other sources. The objective of the audit was to determine the extent to which the administration of the Federation Fund programme met identified better practice in relation to policy development and programme planning; the process of calling for, assessing, approving and announcing proposals; and ongoing programme and project management.
The objectives of the audit were to determine whether agencies have implemented appropriate risk management strategies for the new banking arrangements, which came into operation on 1 July 1999 and whether cash funds are being managed in accordance with the appropriate legislation, the Commonwealth's agency banking guidance and generally accepted accounting practices. The scope of the audit was restricted to the departmental cash funds management and focused on risk management processes and management accounting controls adopted in the forecasting of cash flows, operation of bank accounts and placement of funds. The audit examined seven agencies, which are not named in the report.
The audit examined some key aspects of HRD in relation to Centrelink's Customer Service Officers (CSOs). The objective of the audit was to determine whether Centrelink had appropriate systems and strategies in place to ensure that its CSOs had access to the skills and knowledge necessary to meet expected levels of performance and customer service.
The objective of the audit was to assess whether the disposal of 'infrastructure, plant and equipment' assets was being carried out in accordance with Government policy, relevant aspects of the asset management principles, and applicable internal controls. The scope of the audit covered all aspects of the disposal process from initial planning through to the receipt of proceeds and evaluation of the outcome. The audit examined eight organisations, which are not named in the report.
The report summarises the audit and other related activities of the ANAO in the period January to June 2001. Key issues arising from performance audits tabled in this period are summarised against ANAO themes of:
corporate governance including human resource management, financial management, and performance information;
service delivery including the impact of e-government;
procurement and contract management; and
Appendix 1 of the Activity Report provides a short summary of each of the performance audits tabled between 1 January 2001 and 30 June 2001.
This follow-up audit reviewed the operations of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) which is responsible for ensuring the sustainable use and efficient management of Commonwealth fisheries resources. The objective of this follow-up audit was to assess the extent to which AFMA addressed the issues that gave rise to the recommendations of ANAO Report No.32 1995-96, and the related recommendations of the House of Representatives Standing Committee Report 1997, that were supported by the Government.
The follow-up audit focussed on the key issues identified in the recommendations and grouped these in the themes of:
strategic and performance management;
management of the advisory process;
implementation of fisheries management methods;
managing AFMA's environmental responsibilities as they relate to Commonwealth fisheries management;
compliance, monitoring and enforcement responsibilities; and
The audit was conducted in response to a November 2000 resolution of the Senate that the Auditor-General examine all expenditures and entitlements accruing to Parliamentarians in 1999-2000. The objectives of the audit were to:
provide assurance to the Parliament regarding the administration by Finance, the chamber departments and the portfolio departments of all expenditures and entitlements accruing to Parliamentarians, including Ministers, in 1999-2000;
assess the administrative and control structures governing expenditures and entitlements accruing to Parliamentarians and Ministers in 1999-2000; and
identify opportunities to improve the current framework.
The audit focused on the sale of properties from that portion of the domestic property estate managed by the Department of Finance and Administration and identified for sale via a three year divestment strategy of the Commercial Office Estate by Government in April 1997. The audit sought to assess the effectiveness of the management of the sales process for selected property sales, including the extent to which the Government's sale objectives have been achieved; review the long-term sale and leaseback arrangements for selected divested properties and whether they adequately protect the Commonwealth's interests; and identify principles of sound administrative practice to facilitate improved administrative arrangements for future property sales.
Taxation rulings are a key mechanism used by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to disseminate the Commissioner of Taxation's interpretative advice on Australian taxation law. The objective of the audit was to:
report to Parliament on the operation of the ATO's administration of taxation rulings (public, private and oral rulings); and where appropriate, make recommendations for improvements, having regard to considerations of: efficiency and effectiveness of the ATO's administration of the rulings system, particularly in relation to the achievement of the objectives set by Parliament for the rulings system; the ATO's systems' capacity to deliver consistency and fairness for taxpayers; and good corporate governance, including the control framework.
Allegations were made to the Senate Economics References Committee that the Australian Taxation Office and Australian Customs Service (Customs) had failed to pursue several cases of detected sales tax fraud. The Committee believed that this alleged failure may have stemmed from coordination problems between the two agencies. The Committee requested the Auditor-General to investigate this matter and report his findings to the Parliament.