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The Commonwealth has significant foreign exchange risk exposures including $A8.4 billion of foreign currency transactions with the Reserve Bank of Australia in 1998-99. Under the Financial Management and Accountability Act and its associated Regulations, all agencies are required to assess and, where possible, manage, foreign exchange risk. The audit reviewed four agencies that have substantial foreign currency payment exposures namely:
the Department of Defence;
the Australian Agency for International Development;
the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and
the Department of Finance and Administration.
The objective of the audit was to identify and assess the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the management of foreign exchange risk across the selected agencies, also to identify opportunities to improve the management of foreign exchange risk, including any associated potential financial savings that could accrue to the Commonwealth.
The audit reviewed the operations of the Civil Aviation Authority (CASA), which has prime responsibility for regulating aviation safety in Australia. The audit objectives were to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the management systems and procedures used by CASA to ensure compliance with regulatory controls by Air Operator's Certificate holders operating passenger-carrying aircraft within High Capacity Regular Public Transport; Low Capacity Regular Public Transport and charter industry sectors; and Certificate of Approval holders. Aviation safety compliance includes entry control, surveillance and enforcement.
The audit reviewed Australian Development Scholarships (ADS). ADS's are the principal mechanism by which Australia provides scholarship assistance for individuals from developing countries to undertake studies at Australian education institutions. The scholarships help to meet the human resource development needs of developing countries and contribute to their development across various sectors. Scholarships also have an important role in fostering and sustaining Australia's relations with developing countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. The objective of the audit was to evaluate AusAID's management of the ADS scheme.
The audit reviewed the productivity and client service of IP Australia, a division of the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, which provides intellectual property rights in respect of patents, trade marks and designs. The objective of the audit was to examine the effectiveness of IP Australia's management of productivity and client service.