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The audit examined the design, management and reporting of performance information for the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) which is administered by the Commonwealth Departments of Environment and Heritage, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The objective of the audit was to examine and report on the performance information used to support the administration of $1.5 billion in Commonwealth financial assistance; and compliance with legislative requirements for performance monitoring and reporting.
The audit was conducted as a joint financial statement and performance audit of Centrelink's Information and Technology (I&T) systems. The objective of the financial statement component of the audit was to express an opinion on whether Centrelink could rely on its I&T systems to support production of a reliable set of financial information for the financial statements. The objective of the performance audit component was to determine whether Centrelink's I&T systems outputs adequately met quality and service delivery targets.
The Age Pension is a social security income support payment available to Australian residents and eligible Australians residing overseas who have reached Age Pension age and whose income and assets are under certain limits. In 1999-2000, approximately $14 billion was paid to approximately 1.7 million Age Pension recipients. Payment of Age Pension is made under the Social Security Law and in accordance with the Guide to the Social Security Law prepared by the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS). FaCS has contracted Centrelink under a Business Partnership Agreement (BPA) to administer the payment of Age Pension to eligible customers. The objective of the audit was to assess the extent to which new claims for Age Pension had been assessed in compliance with the legislation and other relevant guidelines developed by Centrelink, and whether Centrelink employed appropriate mechanisms to help ensure such compliance. In particular, the ANAO sought evidence with respect to: payment at the right rate, from the right date, to the right person with the right product, for new claims assessed during the audit sample period (that is, in accordance with the working definition of accuracy within Centrelink); the accuracy of Centrelink?s own reporting on compliance, as reported to FaCS under the BPA; and the application of appropriate mechanisms to help ensure such compliance.