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The objective of the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio is to make Australia stronger, safer and more prosperous by promoting and protecting its interests internationally and contributing to global stability and economic growth, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.
Read an overview of the Foreign Affairs and Trade 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.
This audit would review the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT’s) processes for the management of contracts with four aid delivery providers, with a particular focus on how DFAT is working to maximise the efficiency of these contracts from an ‘aid dollar versus costs’ perspective.
Since 2014, Australia has reduced its overall aid spend, aligned aid with trade and diplomacy under a single department through the merger of AusAID with DFAT, and consolidated the number of providers for the delivery of this aid.
Australia’s official development assistance budget for 2017–18 is $3.9 billion. In 2016–17, 20 per cent of Australia’s aid was delivered by 10 private sector providers. The four most frequently used providers — Cardno Emerging Markets, Palladium International, Coffey International Development and Abt Associates — received $461.8 million.
The audit would look to measure the aid-dollar-to-cost ratio for each of the four providers, and benchmark this against international standards and norms.
This audit would evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the Passport Redevelopment Program against its objectives, particularly in relation to promised efficiencies.
In 2017, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) concluded the Passport Redevelopment Program, a $100 million program to replace the department’s ageing passport application and issuance system.
DFAT stated that the program delivered:
a purpose-built passport production centre and back-up site in Victoria capable of printing over 9000 passports per day;
a data warehouse hosting historical applicant data, with the capability to support passport assessment processing and broader business, risk and fraud analysis;
an online application platform for adults applying domestically for Australian passports, with potential to expand to all applications; and
the capability for a more efficient and secure assessment and processing system.