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The objective of the audit was to assess the performance of the Department's management of the project in the light of accepted project management techniques, including risk management. An important part of the audit was to derive lessons to be learnt and recommendations that could be applied to the remainder of the project and to other large Defence projects.
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 audit examined how well performance information for programs administered by the (now) Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DEETYA) facilitates good decision-making and provides a suitable framework for control and accountability for performance.
The audit examined the role of Comcare, employers and other key stakeholders in effecting an early and permanent return to work for injured employees. Case management practices in Comcare and selected agencies were reviewed to form an opinion on the efficiency, economy and administrative effectiveness of those practices and management of the rehabilitation function. The audit did not examine the administration of injured workers' compensation claims nor the effectiveness of the policy which requires employers to comply with the Comcare Return to Work (RTW) model.
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 objective of the audit was to examine the efficiency and administrative effectiveness of the scheme in light of rapidly increasing expenditure and a history of administrative difficulties and deficiencies.
The management of Australia's overseas posts has not previously been scrutinised by the ANAO from a performance perspective. This audit is the first in a series planned to examine different aspects of the administration of Australian representation abroad, focusing particularly on DFAT and Austrade, as the agencies responsible for managing almost all overseas posts.
The diversity and complexity of issues at overseas missions of different sizes mean that posts generally cannot be treated as if they were all the same. This audit concentrated on small and medium-sized posts. The findings and conclusions should, therefore, not be regarded as automatically applicable to large posts.