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In November 1998, the Minister for Communications wrote to the Auditor-General requesting an assessment of the actual costs of Phase 1 digital conversion for the ABC and SBS, the sources of funds applied and the efficiency with which the funds had been used before the government considered further funding. The purpose of this limited scope performance audit was to assess a range of financial issues associated with the ABC and SBS conversion to digital broadcasting.
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 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.
The objectives in auditing the sale were to assess the extent to which the Government's sale objectives were achieved; review the efficiency of the management of the sale process; assess whether the sale arrangements adequately protected the Commonwealth's interests, including minimising ongoing Commonwealth risk; and identify principles of sound administrative practice to facilitate improved arrangements for future trade sales, particularly the later phases of airport sales.
The audit objectives were to report on the efficiency and effectiveness of selected agencies' management of telecommunications services. The specific purpose was to:
identify the potential for more effective management of telecommunications services;
consider the appropriateness of Commonwealth agencies' management of telecommunications services to take advantage of technological opportunities; and
identify the elements of sound administration in the management of telecommunications services.
The audit criteria addressed agencies' performance against benchmarks of sound administrative practice in relation to procurement; planning; business process re-engineering; financial management; and performance management. The audit focussed primarily on telecommunications services, as distinct from capital items and equipment.
The objective of the audit was to review AUSTEL and the Spectrum Management Agency's approaches to service delivery against recognised good practice and to identify opportunities for the new Australian Communications Authority to adopt the relevant features of these approaches in its service delivery.
Following an initial selection through a process of inviting expressions of interest, OGIT issued a restricted Request for Proposal for Human Resource Management Systems and Financial Management Information Systems. OGIT sought the services of the ANAO to provide an opinion on the probity of the methodology and procedures applied in the process of evaluation of tenders for acceptance to the Shared Systems Suite. The ANAO also agreed to review the formal procedures developed by OGIT and to test their operation to enable the ANAO to form an opinion, with a reasonable degree of assurance, on whether the evaluation process accords with the Commonwealth Purchasing Guidelines for open and effective competition and consideration for the development of Australian and New Zealand industry.