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The Report summarised major issues in relation to financial systems, controls and processes from examinations of major Commonwealth agencies arising from the interim phase of their financial statements for the financial year 1999-2000.
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 objective of this audit was to form an opinion on the adequacy of, and to identify best practice in, Commonwealth agencies' electricity procurement systems and procedures. In doing so, the ANAO also formed an opinion on the level and results of participation by Commonwealth agencies in the National Electricity Market. The audit concentrated on adherence by agencies to the principles of the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines: Core Policies and Principles (March 1998), emphasising the importance of Commonwealth agencies achieving value-for-money (VFM) in their purchasing. VFM is one of the six principles on which the Guidelines are based.
The audit reviewed the operations of the Bureau of Meteorology. The Bureau's functions include the taking and recording of meteorological observations and other observations required for the purposes of meteorology; the forecasting of weather and of the state of the atmosphere; the issue of warnings of weather conditions likely to endanger life or property; the supply, publication and promotion of meteorological information; and cooperation with international meteorological agencies in relation to the functions just listed. The objectives of the audit were to:
use national and international benchmarks to evaluate the Bureau's performance in terms of timeliness, cost and quality of weather services to meet the needs of clients; and
assess how well the Bureau is placed in measuring its outputs/outcomes within the context of the Accrual Budgeting Framework.
This Report brings together the results of the audits of the financial statements of all Commonwealth organisations (that is, agencies and statutory authorities), including the Commonwealth Government of Australia consolidated financial statements for the period ended 30 June 1999.
Special Benefit is a social security income support payment for people who are unable to support themselves or their dependents, and who are not otherwise entitled to any other income support payment. Its objective is to ensure that such people have adequate levels of income. The objective of the audit was to assess the extent to which new claims for Special Benefit had been determined in compliance with the Social Security Act, the Guide to the Act and other relevant guidelines, and whether Centrelink and FaCS had appropriate procedures to help ensure such compliance.
The audit reviewed the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement (CSHA). CSHA is a joint arrangement between the Commonwealth and the States under which both the Commonwealth and the States contribute funding in the form of grants, which are used by State Housing Authorities to provide a variety of housing assistance programs to households on low incomes and those with special needs. The overall objective of the audit was to assess and report to Parliament on how effectively the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS - formerly the Department of Social Security) administered the CSHA and to identify any areas where improvements could be made.
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.
This report summarises issues regarding financial systems, controls and processes from examinations of major Commonwealth organisations as part of the audits of their financial statements. It raises significant issues warranting attention to improve the quality of the underlying control structures that support public sector financial performance and accountability.