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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 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 Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA), administers the Commonwealth's settlement programs, which seek to assist migrants and refugees to participate in Australian society. Provision of English language training to newly arrived migrants and refugees has been a long standing and significant part of this settlement support, with some 1.5 million new arrivals assisted in this way since 1948. The objective of the audit was to examine DIMA's management of the Adult Migrant English Program Contracts, focusing on performance outcomes; strategic contract management and coordination; program expenditure, with emphasis on contract funding arrangements; and whether contract monitoring and performance information adequately support effective program management. The ANAO made six audit recommendations aimed at improving program performance management and reporting; strategic management and coordination; management of financial risks; and monitoring of contractor performance, which were all accepted by DIMA.
In late 1996, the Government announced its commitment to establish new facilities for the National Museum of Australia and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies on Acton Peninsula in Canberra. The objectives of the audit were to examine the project's compliance with the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines for the procurement of public works and effectiveness of the project's management.
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.
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.
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 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.