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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.
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.
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.
The ANAO's audit aims were to: examine the efficiency and effectiveness of DFAT's human resource management; and identify good practice, which could position the Department, and other APS agencies, to maximise opportunities afforded by the Government's emerging public sector reform agenda. The audit addressed a range of issues including the effectiveness of HR planning and forecasting, staff selection and deployment, performance management, and the fostering of relevant skills and knowledge.
The objective of the audit was to determine whether the Commonwealth's interests were adequately protected in terms of both the contractor selection process that led to Australian Construction Services being awarded the contract for the overall management of the project and the actual commercial arrangements between the Department of Primary Industries and Energy and ACS. As part of the audit, criteria were developed which considered whether the Commonwealth procurement guidelines were adhered to, as well as whether the commercial arrangements clearly detailed the goods and services to be provided, their cost and timing of delivery.
This audit considered the action taken in relation to the recommendations of Audit Report No.47, 1991-92, Energy Management of Commonwealth Buildings. The objective of this follow-up audit was to assess whether the Department of Primary Industries and Energy, the Department of Administrative Services, and the Department of Finance had taken appropriate action in relation to the recommendations. The audit criteria were the extent to which the original recommendations agreed by the agencies had been implemented and what had been achieved.
The audit examined the Commonwealth's management of the Building Better Cities Program to identify areas where improvement was needed and where lessons learned from BCP could be useful in other programs.
The objective of the audit was to review AusAID's management of funding to Non-Government Organisations, to assess whether:
the objectives of overseas development programs to be delivered by NGOs were clearly established;
funding mechanisms for the delivery of aid programs by NGOs were clearly defined, consistently applied, and in compliance with the law; and
whether AusAID could provide assurances that NGOs delivering development projects using Commonwealth monies are accountable for: proper expenditure of Commonwealth monies; the achievement of stated objectives; and the achievement of value for money.
The ANAO examined AusAID documentation on overseas development programs delivered by NGOs, looking particularly for clear objectives, performance measures, and evaluation mechanisms. Three levels of documentation were examined: