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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.
The objective was to assess the extent to which staff reductions have been managed in a sound strategic and cost-effective manner consistent with the Government's guidelines and the ANAO's 1996 better practice guide Managing APS Staff Reductions. The audit focussed on 3 agencies - the Australian Taxation Office, the former Department of Primary Industry and Energy, and the former Department of Transport and Regional Development. The ANAO found that the majority of staff reductions were achieved through retrenchment rather than natural attrition; and that decisions on the number of retrenchments were not always supported by an assessment of the impact of the reductions on the agencies' abilities to conduct their business.
The objectives of the audit were to form an opinion on the management of Commonwealth agencies' compliance with the Commonwealth's energy efficiency requirements and to identify areas for better practice in energy management. The audit focussed on:
the implementation of the Energy Policy by Commonwealth Agencies; promulgation and coordination of energy use targets;
energy and associated reporting by Commonwealth agencies;
identification, examination and analysis of systemic and procedural impediments to achieving the Energy Policy; and
development and discussion of ways to address these impediments.
The Pharmaceutical Industry Investment Program (PIIP) is a scheme that was introduced to compensate the pharmaceutical industry, in part, for the impact of the Government exercising its monopsony power under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The ANAO undertook an audit of the probity of the methodology and procedures applied by the Department in assessment of applicants for PIIP funding. The objectives of the audit were to assist the Department, at its request, in the timely identification of deficiencies in assessing responses from applicants and options for addressing any such deficiencies.
Consistent with the ANAO's practices, and in response to a request from AusAID, a follow-up audit was conducted in the period May to November 1998 to assess the extent of implementation of the recommendations of a 1996 audit into the Management of Funding to Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)and whether the implementation of recommendations has effectively improved the management of funding to NGOs. The ANAO examined AusAID's key funding accountability documentation, tested the revised accountability arrangements and consulted a number of key stakeholders, including NGO representatives.
The primary objective of the audit was to assess the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of DoTRD's implementation of Annex 17 in the Australian aviation environment. The ANAO concluded that DoTRD has established a regulatory regime which ensures Australia's compliance with the standards embodied in Annex 17. However, there are areas where Australia's aviation security regime can be strengthened even further including; developing a more robust approach to risk management, developing a longer-term perspective to DoTRD's planning structure, development of proactive alliances with aviation regulators in neighbouring countries in the Asia-Pacific region, further improvement of the airport audit process, development and implementation of an evaluation strategy, development of a formal transparent approach to enforcement.