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The Employment Portfolio is responsible for assisting the Australian Government to achieve its objectives for employment by providing advice and support, and delivering programs and services to the Australian Government and the wider community. The portfolio is required to work with other Australian Government entities, state and territory governments and a range of service providers to deliver services to the community, safer workplaces and assist businesses with productivity.
The Employment portfolio is responsible for assisting the Australian Government to achieve its objectives for employment by providing advice and support, and delivering programs and services to the Australian Government and wider community. The portfolio works with other Australian Government entities, state and territory governments and a range of service providers to connect people with jobs, support workplace safety and assist businesses with productivity.
This review would examine the Department of Employment’s reporting of the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Recovery program’s performance.
Under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee Recovery program, the department provides funding to liquidators to pursue recovery efforts (including court proceedings) against insolvent companies. The program commenced, as a pilot, on 1 July 2015. The Government subsequently announced that, from 1 January 2017, the program would continue and be expanded. In 2017–18, the program has a budget of $47 million over four years. The Government has estimated that the recovery program will achieve additional Fair Entitlements Guarantee recoveries of $165.7 million over four years.
This audit would examine the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC’s) and the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO’s) regulation of illegal phoenix activity.
Phoenix activity refers to the evasion of tax and other liabilities, such as employee entitlements, through the deliberate, systematic and sometimes cyclical liquidation of related corporate trading entities. This generally occurs through an indebted company transferring its assets into a new company to avoid paying creditors, tax or employee entitlements. Those assets are then used by the new company to continue the business activities of the indebted company. In 2012, a Fair Work Ombudsman report noted that there is a significant lack of data collection in relation to phoenix activity, and estimated the total impact of phoenix activity to be between $1.78 billion and $3.19 billion each year.
ASIC and the ATO collaborate with other entities (including the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Fair Work Ombudsman) through the Inter-Agency Phoenix Forum to share intelligence and identify, design and implement cross-entity strategies to reduce and deter phoenix activity.
This audit would examine the effectiveness of Comcare’s administration, with a focus on its education and insurance functions and the monitoring and reporting of outcomes.
Comcare’s objective is to support participation and productivity through healthy and safe workplaces that minimise the impact of harm in workplaces covered by the entity. As at 30 June 2016, an estimated 410 000 full-time equivalent employees were covered by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, which is regulated by Comcare. Total net resourcing for Comcare in 2017–18 is estimated at $1.38 billion.
This audit would examine the Department of Human Services’ management and delivery of programs, services and payments on behalf of other Australian Government entities, as well as the department’s performance against its respective obligations and service standards.
Human Services provides a range of programs, services and payments for, and on behalf of, a number of Australian Government entities, such as income support payments for the Department of Social Services, and aged care payments and the maintenance of various health-related registers for the Department of Health. Arrangements for these services and payments are outlined in various memorandums of understanding and business partnership agreements. In the 2017–18 Budget, Human Services estimated that it would process around $175 billion in payments on behalf of other government entities.
The proposed audit would provide assurance that business agreements support Human Services in meeting the expectations of entities on behalf of whom it delivers payments; and that roles, responsibilities and performance reporting arrangements are clearly defined.
The objective of the audit is to examine the implementation of the annual performance statements requirements under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule) by selected entities in 2016–17.