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The Agriculture and Water Resources portfolio supports the sustainability, productivity, international competitiveness and profitability of Australia’s agricultural, fisheries and forestry industries and the sustainable, efficient and productive management and use of rivers and water resources.
Read an overview of the Agriculture and Water Resources portfolio including details of key activities, expenses and staffing levels. The audit focus section outlines the influences on the ANAO’s allocation of financial audit resources and the selection of performance audit topics and other activities. Also included is a list of material and non-material entities within the portfolio with their corresponding risk profile and key risks. Any risks that are considered key audit matters (KAMs) by the ANAO are separately identified.
The audit would assess the effectiveness of the design and establishment of the Regional Investment Corporation. This assessment would include the advice provided by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Department of Finance on service delivery arrangements, as well as the corporation’s governance and management of risk.
The Regional Investment Corporation was established to streamline the administration of farm business loan arrangements to ensure they are delivered in a nationally consistent and efficient manner. From July 2018, the corporation will be responsible for delivering the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility and up to $2 billion in Commonwealth farm business concessional loans.
The audit would examine whether the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources have effectively administered the Farm Management Deposits Scheme.
The Farm Management Deposits Scheme commenced in 1999. The Scheme provides an income tax concession to eligible primary producers to help them manage fluctuations in their income so that they can be more financially self-reliant. At 30 April 2018, a total of $5.17 billion was held by primary producers in Farm Management Deposits accounts. Treasury has estimated that the revenue forgone through the Scheme will increase from $245 million in 2016–17 to $560 million in 2017–18. In 2016, the Scheme was amended to double the amount that producers could deposit; re-establish early-access provisions; and remove the restriction on the use of deposits as loan offsets.
The audit could focus on the risk identification and compliance strategies and activities that support the integrity of the Scheme. It could also examine the: latest changes to the Scheme to determine whether they were established on a sound basis; the Department of the Treasury’s and the Australian Taxation Office‘s estimation of the potential tax revenue forgone through the Scheme; and the extent to which the objectives of the Scheme are being achieved.
The audit would examine the management of probity by rural research and development corporations established by the Commonwealth.
The five corporate Commonwealth entities that enable the Australian Government to co-invest with industry in research and development are the:
Cotton Research and Development Corporation;
Fisheries Research and Development Corporation;
Grains Research and Development Corporation;
AgriFutures Australia; and
Total funding provided to rural research and development corporations by the Australian Government in 2016–17 was $126 million, which was supplemented by co-investment of $175 million from levies. Effective governance arrangements are critical to supporting the proper use of funds and providing the benefits of research and development investment. The audit would focus on the effectiveness of probity arrangements, including the management of conflicts of interest and fraud control.
This audit would examine the procurement of strategic water entitlements by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, including consideration of value for money and the application of the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.
Strategic water entitlement purchases are used to meet the water recovery requirements for the environment under the Murray–Darling Basin Plan. The department manages water purchases for environmental flows in the Murray–Darling Basin and, in limited circumstances, can consider proposals to sell water directly to the government.
This audit would assess the effectiveness of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ arrangements to manage biosecurity and food safety risk through third-party accreditation and certification processes.
The value of forest products and food imported into Australia was around $20 billion in 2016–17. Australia’s regulation of biological, plant and timber imports increasingly relies on pre-border testing and certification that imported goods conform to relevant Australian and international standards and trade requirements, as determined by recognised accreditation bodies and foreign governments.
The effective operation of third-party accreditation and certification facilitates efficient movement of goods into Australia with low burden on industry, while appropriately managing risks to domestic human, plant and animal health.
The objective of this audit is to examine whether selected regulatory entities effectively apply the cost recovery principles of the Australian Government’s cost recovery framework. The selected regulatory entities are the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, and the Department of Health (Therapeutic Goods Administration).
The objective of this audit is to assess the extent to which the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Agriculture) has addressed the recommendations from ANAO Audit Report No. 46 of 2011–12, Administration of the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (NAQS).