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The Department of Defence is responsible for administering the Defence export facilitation program which is aimed at promoting Australian defence-relevant exports. The Department administers the program in cooperation with AUSTRADE. Defence is also responsible for administering export controls on defence and related goods and dual-use goods. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for controls on chemical and biological weapons precursors. The Department of Primary Industries and Energy is responsible for controls on nuclear-specific technology and source/fissionable material. The Australian Customs Service implements barrier controls at ports and airports. In September 1993 the then Minister for Trade referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT) an inquiry into the implications of Australian defence exports. The JSCFADT's Report on the Implications of Australian Defence Exports (September 1994) recommended, inter alia, that the Auditor-General conduct a performance audit of the operations of the guidelines concerning the controls on the export of defence and related goods, the export control process, and all export facilitation activities. The Auditor-General agreed to undertake an audit, which commenced in May 1995 as a preliminary study and was designated as a performance audit on 30 August 1995.
The ANAO selected the Fututech project for audit as it is one of the largest R&D projects conducted by any of the rural R&D corporations to date. The ANAO planned to identify possible improvements in management practices which would assist not only MRC but also other R&D corporations.
The primary objectives of the ANAO preliminary study were to gain an understanding of the concepts and associated processes used in the management of preparedness. This included the methodology for translating the Government's strategic guidance into military capability; the processes by which the Services translate preparedness directives into operational requirements; and how Headquarters ADF (HQADF) and the three Service Offices assure themselves that units can satisfy the requirements of preparedness directives.
Within the scope of this preliminary study the ANAO did not attempt to form a conclusion regarding the current ability of the ADF to satisfy the roles set by Government in strategic guidance; that is, its actual state of preparedness. It was important first to obtain a good understanding of the concepts and associated methodology used by Defence in managing preparedness.
The objectives of this audit were to assess planning, management, conduct and staffing of internal audit in the Department of Defence, with a view to providing assurance as to the standard of its work. Opportunities were taken to identify specific policies and practices that would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of MAB audit. Fieldwork for the ANAO audit was performed between May and August 1995.
Audit Report No.5 1993-94, Explosive Ordnance, Department of Defence, was tabled in the Parliament in September 1993. The report was structured in three parts. The first part covered explosive ordnance (EO) issues common to all three Services; the second part focused on the management of explosive ordnance by the Navy; and the third part was a follow-up of the 1987 audit report on Air Force explosive ordnance. The report made 39 recommendations. Defence agreed to implement most of them.
It was considered timely to undertake a follow-up audit into key issues of the recommendations contained in the audit report, given the elapsed time since the report was tabled and the issues associated with public safety.
The purpose of the audit was to ascertain the extent to which financial management arrangements helped the department to achieve its objectives and the way that these could be improved in the light of the department's management reforms generally.
Elements of the Financial Management Improvement Program, and the accrual reporting framework, were at an evolutionary stage in the department. The audit therefore focused on quite fundamental financial management issues, including:
the ability of financial management systems to provide information that was timely, accurate and relevant to the needs of management and other users; and
the extent of coordination and control of financial management across departmental programs and between National and State Offices.