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Networking the Nation was established with effect from 1 July 1997 to support activities and projects designed to meet a range of telecommunications needs in regional, rural and remote Australia. Funding is provided by the Regional Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund. The program provides total support of $250 million, of which $50 million was to be allocated annually for the five year period from 1997-98. Funding decisions for grants are the responsibility of an independent Board appointed by the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. The objectives of the audit were to examine the administration of the program with a view to ascertaining the scope for improving administration and to provide assurance on the equity, efficiency and effectiveness of the management and administrative processes applied in the administration of grants under the program.
The audit evaluated the effectiveness of the accountability and oversight arrangements for statutory bodies within the former Primary Industries and Energy portfolio (most of which are now part of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio). The audit focused on accountability of the statutory bodies to the Minister and through the Minister to Parliament; it did not directly address accountability to industry stakeholders and levy papers.
The audit reviewed six budget-funded agencies (Australian Customs Service, Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink, Department of Defence, Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, and Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs) and two off-budget entities (Airservices Australia and Reserve Bank of Australia). The ANAO also examined the Office for Government Online's (OGO, formerly the Office of Government Information Technology, or OGIT) whole-of-government coordination of the Commonwealth's Year 2000 efforts.
The audit reviewed the accountability framework and performance information of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC). The objective of the audit was to form an opinion on the efficiency and effectiveness of the ASC: accountability arrangements, focussing on key stakeholders such as the Minister and the Parliament; and management information systems, focussing on performance information, in particular key performance indicators; and its use in resource allocation decision-making.
The audit reviewed collection management practices and management information systems of the National Library of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, National Museum of Australia and the Australian War Memorial. The objective of the audit was to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the management processes employed in safeguarding national collections.