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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 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.
In late 1996, the Government announced its commitment to establish new facilities for the National Museum of Australia and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies on Acton Peninsula in Canberra. The objectives of the audit were to examine the project's compliance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines for the procurement of public works and effectiveness of the project's management.