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Although the audit examined broader aspects of the ATO's administration (such as, tobacco excise governance arrangements, intelligence capability and compliance and investigations activities), we placed particular emphasis on the strategies used by the ATO to address the proliferation of chop-chop (Australian grown tobacco sold illicitly in a chopped up form for $80 to $100 per kilogram. In comparison, 50 grams of legal roll-you-own tobacco costs around $16 i.e. $320 per kilogram) in the Australian markets, as it is an area of major risk to tobacco excise revenue.
The audit reviewed Commonwealth National Parks involving total assets of $105 million with net operating costs of $41.77 million. Nineteen Commonwealth reserves are declared comprising six terrestrial national parks, one botanic garden and twelve marine parks and reserves totalling some 23 million hectares across Australia, its external territories and Commonwealth marine areas. The objective of the audit was to examine and report on the adequacy of the planning, management and reporting systems which support the Director of National Parks in the achievement of required functions under relevant legislation and agreed outputs and outcomes.
The 30 per cent Private Health Insurance Rebate is a financial incentive for individuals to purchase health insurance cover. The rebate provides for a reimbursement or discount of 30 per cent of the cost of private health insurance. It is available to all Australians who are eligible for Medicare and have private health insurance. The objective of the audit was to determine the effectiveness of Commonwealth Government agencies administration of the rebate.
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 Australian Taxation Office (ATO) established a task force in 1996 to develop a greater understanding of the factors involved and to devise a coordinated approach in dealing with the cash economy. The objective of the performance audit was to report to Parliament on the ATO's progress in addressing the cash economy, including its monitoring and reporting of outcomes. The audit focused on the ATO's implementation of its Cash Economy Task Force recommendations in the light of the tax reform that has taken place over the last two years.
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.
The audit's objective was to assess, and report to Parliament on, the ATO's administration of petroleum excise collections. The audit examined whether the ATO had implemented effectively administrative arrangements for the collection of petroleum excise since the transfer of the function from Customs in 1999. Areas that were examined relating to administration of petroleum excise were:
The audit also reviewed the role of Customs in performing functions directly related to petroleum excise collections and key elements of the management relationship between the ATO and Customs in this area.
Taxation rulings are a key mechanism used by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to disseminate the Commissioner of Taxation's interpretative advice on Australian taxation law. The objective of the audit was to:
report to Parliament on the operation of the ATO's administration of taxation rulings (public, private and oral rulings); and where appropriate, make recommendations for improvements, having regard to considerations of: efficiency and effectiveness of the ATO's administration of the rulings system, particularly in relation to the achievement of the objectives set by Parliament for the rulings system; the ATO's systems' capacity to deliver consistency and fairness for taxpayers; and good corporate governance, including the control framework.
Allegations were made to the Senate Economics References Committee that the Australian Taxation Office and Australian Customs Service (Customs) had failed to pursue several cases of detected sales tax fraud. The Committee believed that this alleged failure may have stemmed from coordination problems between the two agencies. The Committee requested the Auditor-General to investigate this matter and report his findings to the Parliament.