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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 objective of the performance audit was to assess the administrative effectiveness of DIMA's business entry program against the background of the Business and Temporary Entry program objective, with particular regard to whether:
the existing performance management mechanisms and compliance monitoring strategies support the achievement of program outcomes and outputs;
the quality of decision-making;
business processes facilitate prompt visa decision-making consistent with program objectives; and
decision-making support mechanisms promote robust and timely decision-making.
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.
All persons, other than Australian nationals, are required to hold a visa to enter and stay in Australia. This audit's focus is on the entry component of the visa process and specifically the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). The ETA is an electronically-stored authority for travel, which facilitates the entry of tourists and short-term business travellers from countries where the risk of non-compliance with visa conditions is low, that is, in countries classified as ‘low risk'. The objective of the performance audit was to assess the administrative effectiveness of the ETA.