The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of FaHCSIA‘s performance of its lead agency role in coordinating whole-of-government commitments to closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage.

Summary

Introduction

1. Addressing the deeply entrenched nature of disadvantage faced by Australia’s Indigenous people compared to Australia’s non-Indigenous people is a key priority of the Australian Government. Achieving sustainable improvements in the lives of Indigenous people has been slow; while some progress has been made in employment, educational attainment, child mortality and home ownership for Indigenous Australians, most measures of Indigenous disadvantage have shown limited improvements or have deteriorated since systematic measurements began in 2002.1 The Government has acknowledged that previous, business-as-usual approaches to addressing Indigenous disadvantage have not worked and new approaches that address the particular circumstances of Indigenous people are needed.2

2. Indigenous disadvantage occurs across a range of different policy areas, such as health, early childhood development and housing, and requires action to be taken, often in concert, by line agencies responsible for implementing government policy in different areas. It is also the case that governments at both the federal level and the state and territory level have Indigenous policy and program responsibilities. In practice, therefore, Indigenous service provision occurs through multiple layers of government, with services being delivered by a complex network of implementation partners that include Australian Government agencies, state and territory government agencies, local governments and non-government service provider organisations. Working effectively across organisational and jurisdictional boundaries is currently one the most significant issues in public administration, and is recognised in the overarching reform agenda of the Australian public service and also by the Commonwealth’s Financial Accountability Review.3

3. Because multiple agencies are involved in program policy and delivery in Indigenous affairs, a well-defined lead agency role is important to ensure information is shared across agencies, to coordinate service delivery on the ground, to provide consolidated advice to the Government and to address any systemic performance issues in a timely manner. In the Australian Government, a lead agency may have various roles, but a broad oversight role to assess whether implementation progress and results are meeting the Government’s objectives for Indigenous programs is central to informing both policies and delivery models. Being able to maintain a strategic focus and line of sight between individual programs and expected outcomes for Indigenous people is a key feature of such a role. Creating structured, workable arrangements, with sufficient authority and clarity of purpose for the lead agency to undertake its role without diluting the accountabilities of other agencies involved, is a challenging but important element of effectiveness.

Background

4. Prior to 2004, Indigenous program delivery occurred through line agencies, particularly health and education, and through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and its associated agencies. When ATSIC was abolished in 2004, responsibility for all Indigenous programs and services was given to line agencies. These agencies were required to deliver Indigenous-specific programs and ensure that their mainstream programs (programs available to all Australians) were accessible to Indigenous people through a collaborative approach between agencies. Coordination was recognised as a key element of the new approach and was to be driven by a lead agency through the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination (OIPC), originally established within the then Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs in 2004. OIPC’s functions included being the primary source of advice on Indigenous issues to the Government, coordinating and driving whole-of-government innovative policy development and service delivery across the Australian Government, and overseeing relations with state and territory governments on Indigenous issues.

5. In 2006, the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA, now FaHCSIA) became the lead agency for Indigenous affairs. The OIPC was transferred and its functions absorbed into the department’s organisational structure. In the 2012–13 Portfolio Budget Statement FaHCSIA is described as:

the lead agency in the Australian Government for Indigenous affairs, [which] coordinates the Australian Government’s contribution to the Closing the Gap strategy agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2008.4

In 2011 there were 210 Indigenous-specific programs and sub-programs identified by the Australian Government as making a contribution to closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage. These are administered by more than 40 different agencies across 17 portfolios.

6. Major reforms to financial relations between the Australian Government and the states and territories were introduced during 2008, aimed at improving the effectiveness and quality of government services by reducing Commonwealth prescriptions on service delivery by the states and territories and clarifying roles and responsibilities. As part of these reforms, COAG introduced six National Agreements to guide the Australian Government, states and territories in the delivery of services: one of these agreements was the National Indigenous Reform Agreement (Closing the Gap) (NIRA) which includes the National Integrated Strategy for achieving six national targets, known as the Closing the Gap targets. These are to:

  • close the life-expectancy gap within a generation;
  • halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade;
  • ensure access to early childhood education for all Indigenous four year olds in remote communities within five years;
  • halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievements for children within a decade;
  • halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 (or equivalent) attainment rates by 2020; and
  • halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians within a decade.

7. The Closing the Gap targets are underpinned by seven interlinked action areas or ‘building blocks’. The building blocks are early childhood, schooling, health, economic participation, healthy homes, safe communities and governance and leadership. The approach taken in the NIRA is to concentrate action within building blocks while recognising that improvements in one building block are heavily reliant on improvements in others and that efforts need to be taken forward in a coordinated manner. Importantly, the NIRA recognises the role of all levels of government in helping to achieve the Closing the Gap outcomes. Accordingly, the NIRA reinforces the coordination imperative for Indigenous programs, calling for ‘an unprecedented level of cooperation and coordination between the Commonwealth and the State and Territory Governments’.

8. This integrated approach agreed by governments is further explained in the NIRA’s integration principle5, which elaborates on the need for collaboration between and within governments and their agencies at all levels, and funded service providers, to effectively coordinate and integrate programs and services between governments and between services. In addition, governments acknowledged in the NIRA the need to undertake key system changes and a coordinated approach to mainstream service delivery to improve the take up of services by Indigenous people and the outcomes from these programs for Indigenous Australians. Without detracting from the responsibilities of line agencies to deliver Indigenous programs effectively, promoting the application of the integration principle across the different line agencies and leading a coordinated effort to improve accessibility and effectiveness of mainstream programs for Indigenous people would be central elements of coordination facilitated by the responsible lead agency.

9. Australian Government expenditure on Indigenous programs is administered by Australian Government agencies, and delivered either through funding agreements for particular activities with non-government organisations (including for profit and not-for-profit organisations) and local government, or through direct services to individuals. State and territory government agencies also deliver programs and services for Indigenous people, with funding sourced in part from the Australian Government. State and territory agencies typically deliver programs and services for Indigenous people through separate funding agreements with non-government organisations, directly to individuals or through local government. As a result, the overall funding arrangements are complex, especially when viewed from the perspective of the beneficiary.

10. Estimates of government expenditure on Indigenous programs and services have been compiled under two different approaches. Since 2005, each Australian Government agency has been required to report Indigenous expenditure, known as Australian Government Indigenous Expenditure (AGIE), in the Portfolio Budget Statements. Total AGIE was estimated at $4.2 billion in 2011–12, spread across 17 portfolios. AGIE, however, does not provide a full picture of Indigenous expenditure as it excludes most Australian Government mainstream expenditure and expenditure by the states and territories. In 2010, for the first time, an estimate of all Indigenous expenditure (both Indigenous-specific and mainstream expenditure by all governments) was published for COAG in the Indigenous Expenditure Report. The second Indigenous Expenditure Report was published in 2012. Total Indigenous expenditure (2010–11) was estimated to be $25.4 billion, of which $11.5 billion was delivered by Australian Government agencies.6 Of this $11.5 billion, 72 per cent ($8.3 billion) is mainstream expenditure and 28 per cent ($3.2 billion) is Indigenous-specific expenditure.
 

Audit objectives and criteria

11. The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of FaHCSIA‘s performance of its lead agency role in coordinating whole-of-government commitments to closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage. The ANAO considered:

  • the degree to which FaHCSIA’s lead agency role is clearly articulated and supported by structured arrangements;
  • the effectiveness of the coordination arrangements in facilitating better integration in the delivery of services on the ground; and
  • FaHCSIA’s role in monitoring and reporting overall performance and commitments.

12. The ANAO examined documentation, analysed financial information, and interviewed FaHCSIA staff and staff from other agencies involved in coordination, including the Departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Finance and Deregulation, Health and Ageing, Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Attorney-General’s and Human Services. The ANAO also observed several formal coordination meetings and interviewed state office and Indigenous Coordination Centre staff in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney

Overall conclusion

13. Indigenous disadvantage occurs across a range of social and economic dimensions and is recognised as having multiple determinants which cannot be fully addressed by any one area of government, or by a business-as-usual approach to policy and program delivery. Accordingly, the Australian Government seeks to address disadvantage through the collaborative or joined up efforts of a range of government agencies using both Indigenous-specific programs and mainstream programs. Services to address Indigenous disadvantage are delivered through a variety of means by different Australian Government agencies, state and territory agencies, local governments and non government service provider organisations. The large number of programs and delivery partners, and the several thousand associated funding agreements, highlight the importance of well-developed coordination arrangements to ensure the overall effort is most effectively targeted and efficiently delivered. In this respect, active coordination or collaboration helps to integrate services across the complex delivery arrangements and inform strategic decisions on government policy and funding priorities.

14. The arrangements for the lead agency of Indigenous affairs were established in 2004 with the creation of the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination, which was to focus on coordinating and driving whole of government innovative policy development and service delivery across the Australian Government as well as to oversee relations with the states and territories on Indigenous matters. In this context, and following OIPC’s transfer to FaHCSIA in 2006, FaHCSIA has established structured arrangements for coordination between Australian Government agencies and is actively involved in arrangements with state and territory agencies.

15. These arrangements include a central structure of committees within the Australian Government to provide for overall governance of Australian Government commitments to the Closing the Gap targets. The committee structure extends across jurisdictions to help progress reforms and to coordinate between the Australian Government agencies and state and territory agencies. Also across jurisdictions, Overarching Bilateral Indigenous Plans have been established to guide the high-level coordination arrangements for policy and service delivery between Australian Government agencies and state and territory agencies. At the level of service delivery, FaHCSIA maintains 25 Indigenous Coordination Centres (ICCs) located in urban, regional and rural Australia as well as FaHCSIA offices in every state and territory. Additional coordination structures, which largely mirror these structures, are in place in some states and territories for implementing specific initiatives such as the National Partnership on Remote Service Delivery.7

16. FaHCSIA has built good working relations with other agencies and FaHCSIA’s lead agency status is well recognised within the Australian Government. However, overall, FaHCSIA has been quite measured in its approach and focused its formal role on sharing information and experience between agencies, and has not been strongly proactive in exercising its lead agency role. This is particularly the case when viewed against the expectations established in 2004 with the creation of the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination discussed in paragraph 14. A more active approach by the department is required to tangibly address some of the critical strategic issues in Indigenous affairs, such as: making agencies’ mainstream programs more accessible and effective for Indigenous people; strategic oversight of new and existing expenditure; prioritising and sequencing programs across sectors; and better integrating program delivery on the ground.

17. FaHCSIA has been the lead agency for Indigenous affairs since 2006. The lead agency role could usefully be refreshed to recognise the changed financial relations between the Australian Government and the states and territories resulting from the COAG reforms, the commitments made in the NIRA and ongoing reforms to service delivery in the Australian Government.8 To better drive towards the outcomes and timeframes sought by the Government, it is timely for FaHCSIA, as the agency best placed to oversee the whole picture of Indigenous programming, to consider, in consultation with other key agencies, options for a more strategic lead agency role that has a stronger performance orientation, with advice to government as appropriate.9

18. The audit has highlighted there is scope for improving the effectiveness of the coordination arrangements to get greater traction on longstanding issues in Indigenous affairs. In its response to the audit report (see paragraphs 35, 36 and Appendix 1), FaHCSIA has noted that it has already put in place strengthened arrangements to provide a greater focus on issues of strategic importance for Commonwealth agencies. The initial steps taken by FaHCSIA to increase the strategic focus of its coordination efforts are important and will need to be sustained and supported over time. In light of the audit findings, the ANAO has made three recommendations to strengthen the lead agency role. The first recommendation is aimed at updating FaHCSIA’s lead agency role and bringing a more strategic, results orientation to the governance committees, building on recent steps being taken in this area. The second focuses on facilitating improvements in integrated delivery of services and programs in remote and very remote areas. The final recommendation proposes ways to improve financial and performance reporting arrangements.

Key findings by chapter

Coordination arrangements (Chapter 2)

19. Implementing the National Indigenous Reform Agreement requires collaboration between Australian Government agencies and across jurisdictional boundaries. As lead agency, FaHCSIA chairs 14 of the 16 cross agency and cross-jurisdictional committees and working groups to coordinate policy and the implementation of Indigenous programs, and has put in place comprehensive arrangements to service these committees. One of the key committees is the Executive Coordination Forum on Indigenous Affairs (ECFIA), chaired by the FaHCSIA Secretary and which until recently had deputy secretary membership from 13 agencies. The committee and working group arrangements have been successful in sharing information across agencies and building working relationships between FaHCSIA and other agencies. FaHCSIA’s chairing and secretariat responsibilities for the committees, including five cross-jurisdictional working groups and the Commonwealth Indigenous Reform Group (CIRG) which supports the work of ECFIA, result in FaHCSIA being well positioned to influence the work of the committees and working groups.

20. In general FaHCSIA has not sought to assign specific results to the work of particular Australian Government cross-agency committees and uses them primarily to share information among agencies. While information sharing is a useful role, there are opportunities to address more tangibly some of the critical performance issues in Indigenous affairs, such as: making agencies’ mainstream programs more accessible and effective for Indigenous people; strategic oversight of new and existing expenditure; prioritising and sequencing programs across sectors; or integrating program delivery on the ground.

21. ECFIA and CIRG agendas have tended to be full and wide-ranging and focused on information items rather than on addressing strategic level issues. Consequently, there is limited time during meetings for strategic discussion of proposals for resolving priority issues of whole-of-government concern. ECFIA and CIRG meeting papers have often been distributed to participating agencies with short lead times for the participating agencies to develop considered positions before attending meetings. Deputy secretaries have frequently been substituted by less senior staff at ECFIA meetings, and the ability of the meetings to make strategic decisions has been lessened.

22. In 2012, FaHCSIA is seeking to make ECFIA a more strategically focused forum. It has consolidated the membership with fewer agencies represented only by senior levels and proposed a forward work program that focuses on priority policy issues for proactive consideration by ECFIA. With the committee arrangements well established and relationships built, the coordination arrangements among other committees could now be more focused on achieving specific results.

23. The arrangements for the lead agency of Indigenous affairs were established in 2004 with the creation of the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination which was to focus on coordinating and driving whole of government innovative policy development and service delivery across the Australian Government as well as overseeing relations with the states and territories on Indigenous matters. In this context, and following OIPC’s transfer to FaHCSIA in 2006, FaHCSIA has established structured arrangements for coordination between Australian Government agencies and is actively involved in arrangements with state and territory agencies. Overall, FaHCSIA has been quite measured in its approach and focused its formal role on sharing information and experience between agencies and has not been strongly proactive in exercising its lead agency role. This is particularly the case when viewed against the expectations established in 2004 with the creation of the Office of Indigenous Policy Coordination. After six years of FaHCSIA as lead agency, the role itself is also in need of refreshing to recognise the COAG reform agenda has progressed relations between the Australian Government and the states and territories and the commitments made in the NIRA. It is timely for FaHCSIA to consider, in consultation with other key agencies, options for a more strategic lead agency role that has a stronger performance orientation, with advice to government as appropriate.

Service delivery (Chapter 3)

24. Indigenous people generally experience greater disadvantage than non Indigenous people and a range of complex issues have an impact on their wellbeing. Typically, an individual service cannot respond directly to the multiple issues experienced. This situation is exacerbated in remote and very remote areas, which are physically isolated from major service centres. Linking services, for example through referrals or informal interagency networks, can help consumers to navigate fragmented and complex service systems, but gaps and duplication in services are still likely and there is potential for competition for resources between providers. More integrated service delivery is needed to manage such gaps, duplication and inconsistencies in service provision and to allow for programs and services to be connected across the building blocks, where relevant.

25. The National Indigenous Reform Agreement emphasises the need to move towards more collaborative and integrated program delivery of Indigenous programs. The large numbers of Australian Government programs mean that coordinated service delivery on the ground is both necessary and a challenge. In 2011 there were 210 Indigenous-specific programs and sub programs across 17 Australian Government portfolios. Programs are usually implemented using funding agreements with different delivery partners which results in very high numbers of activities being implemented by multiple government agencies and non-government providers. Besides making the coordination of activities difficult, the large number of funding agreements also places a heavy compliance burden on service provider organisations. The administrative work generated by multiple funding agreements takes service provider staff time away from implementing activities, including linking activities with those of other service providers. This problem is especially relevant for small organisations including the many Indigenous organisations that play a critical role, particularly in remote areas.10

26. In recognition of the need to coordinate the delivery of programs and services on the ground, the Indigenous Coordination Centre (ICC) model was developed in 2004 and 2005. This model aimed to collocate Australian Government agency staff in 30 ICCs in remote, regional and urban areas to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for whole-of-government delivery of mainstream and Indigenous-specific services to Indigenous communities. Other local coordination structures have also been developed in some areas, such as the Government Business Managers, who operate in a small selection of remote communities and Regional Operation Centres that were developed for the National Partnership on Remote Service Delivery.11

27. ICCs are now staffed mostly by FaHCSIA staff. FaHCSIA has undertaken several reviews of the ICC model since 2007, which have indicated uncertainty over the role of ICCs. In March 2012, FaHCSIA considered a revised role for its network of staff in the states and territories, including the ICCs. The proposed changes are likely to begin a process of useful reform towards improving engagement with Indigenous people and more responsive planning, especially in remote areas. However, work is still required to clarify how services and programs will actually be provided in a more integrated and collaborative manner between the levels of governments and between services.

28. While there are a number of efforts by FaHCSIA staff to better integrate service delivery on the ground, and the design of major initiatives like the National Partnership on Remote Service Delivery and reforms to remote employment services12 is intended to better integrate services, overall, coordination efforts are not generally resulting in more integrated delivery of services to Indigenous people, as envisaged in the NIRA, and fragmentation of activities on the ground remains an issue. There would be merit in FaHCSIA renewing the focus on steps that can be taken to better integrate services on the ground.

29. Achieving the Closing the Gap targets is dependent on improvements in the quality of the mainstream services for the 75 per cent of Indigenous Australians who live in urban and regional areas—a point noted also by the Strategic Review of Indigenous Expenditure.13 Progress in advancing reforms to mainstream programs to make them more accessible and effective for Indigenous people has been slow. ECFIA’s forward work program for 2012–13 includes a focus on the design and delivery of mainstream programs with respect to their contribution to Closing the Gap in Indigenous disadvantage. Recognising that there is a broader suite of reforms across the public service in relation to service delivery, FaHCSIA will need to fully engage as these reforms evolve to bring Indigenous program experience to bear and ensure that the issues of accessibility and effectiveness for Indigenous people are adequately addressed. In remote and very remote areas where Indigenous people form a higher proportion of the population than in regional and urban areas and rely heavily on Indigenous-specific services and programs, FaHCSIA should actively lead collaboration across Australian Government agencies to change agencies’ practices and, where necessary, reform the service delivery arrangements to better integrate the delivery of services and programs for Indigenous people. As a key body in the coordination arrangements, it would be expected that ECFIA would be closely involved in this process.

Oversight of expenditure and performance (Chapter 4)

30. An important role of the lead agency in Indigenous affairs is oversight of Australian Government contributions, including oversight of financial commitments, as well as ensuring that Australian Government efforts are contributing to outcomes that will, in turn, contribute to the Closing the Gap targets. Being able to maintain a strategic focus and line of sight between individual activities and intermediate outcomes within the action areas or building blocks is a key feature of such a role.

31. FaHCSIA monitors expenditure through the preparation of the Indigenous Budget Statement and by collating Australian Government Indigenous Expenditure (AGIE) figures, reported by individual agencies in Portfolio Budget Statements. These two processes report on different items of expenditure and neither process gives a complete picture of Australian Government Indigenous expenditure. As a result, FaHCSIA is not tracking, monitoring and reporting on the full picture of Indigenous expenditure through either of these means. There is considerable scope for the department to enhance its financial reporting and take a more strategic oversight role in monitoring expenditure, for example in making more use of analysis of the Indigenous Expenditure Report14 to inform decisions on funding priorities. Although not without data quality and methodological challenges, the Indigenous Expenditure Report is the only one of the current financial reports that will be possible over time to reconcile with published government financial statistics.

32. In terms of overseeing performance, the COAG Reform Council has the task of assessing and publicly reporting on the performance of governments against the Closing the Gap targets and the National Partnerships directly associated with the NIRA. To this end, three reports have been prepared since 2010. The high-level Closing the Gap outcomes are difficult to track annually, partly because of data difficulties and partly because significant changes at this level are unlikely to show over short time frames. While COAG is responsible for public reporting under the NIRA, under the federal financial relations arrangements FaHCSIA is expected to keep their minister informed of outcomes and policy developments under the NIRA.15

33. Since 2010, FaHCSIA has coordinated the preparation of regular reports to the Government on the implementation of the Australian Government’s Indigenous programs. These reports cover a set of activities that is not easily reconciled with the AGIE, the Indigenous Budget Statement or the Indigenous Expenditure Report. More value from performance reporting could be realised if the rationale for selecting programs to report was more clearly aligned with financial monitoring and reporting.

34. FaHCSIA’s reporting provides advice to government on the extent to which the nominated programs are being implemented as planned and milestones are being met. The last two reports have indicated that most commitments are ‘on track’ for implementation within agreed time frames. FaHCSIA’s reporting seeks to provide government with information on risks to timely implementation and the action ECFIA is taking to address these risks. However, the reporting is not designed to assess the impacts, consequences or intermediate outcomes of implementation or progress towards the Closing the Gap targets. In its current form the reporting does not provide an accessible summary of progress and report preparation is a time consuming, resource intensive process. The reports could adopt a more strategic role to identify and report on intermediate outcomes of a more limited set of priority initiatives likely to have the biggest impact in achieving the Closing the Gap targets, and draw out the key issues and related remedial action.

Summary of agency response

35. FaHCSIA welcomes the ANAO audit report on Australian Government Coordination Arrangements for Indigenous Programs. As the report makes clear, working effectively across organisational and jurisdictional boundaries is currently one of the most significant issues in public administration. FaHCSIA remains strongly committed to working with other Commonwealth agencies and state and territory governments to help close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage for Indigenous Australians

36. The Department has already put in place strengthened arrangements to provide a greater focus on issues of strategic importance for Commonwealth agencies. FaHCSIA also notes the critical role that the major policy and program delivery agencies and the central agencies play in collaborating and supporting FaHCSIA’s lead agency role

Footnotes

1 Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: key indicators 2011, Productivity Commission, Canberra, 2011, p. iii and COAG Reform Council, Indigenous reform 2010–11: Comparing performance across Australia, COAG Reform Council, Sydney, 2012, p. 4. 
2 See for example Hansard, Rudd K, Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples, 13 February 2008, p. 170, and Closing the Gap: Prime Minister’s Report 2012, p. 3.
3 The reform agenda for the Australian public service recognises the need to deliver services in closer partnership with states, territories and local governments (Advisory Group on the Reform of Government Administration, Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for Reform of Australian Government Administration, March 2010, p. 36). See also Department of Finance and Deregulation, Is Less More? Towards Better Commonwealth Performance, discussion paper, Commonwealth of Australia, March 2012, pp. 27–41. 
4 Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Portfolio Budget Statement 2012, FaHCSIA, Canberra, p. 121. FaHCSIA’s website also notes that FaHCSIA is the lead Australian Government agency on Closing the Gap. <www.fahcsia.gov.au/our-responsibilities/indigenous-australians/overview> [accessed 20 August 2012.] 
5 The integration principle is one of the NIRA’s six Service Delivery Principles for programs and services for Indigenous Australians, which are intended to guide the design and delivery of both Indigenous specific and mainstream government programs and services.
6 Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2012, 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report, Productivity Commission, Canberra, p. 2. This report emphasises that the estimates of mainstream expenditure are subject to many data quality and methodological challenges.
7 This national partnership was the subject of ANAO Audit Report No. 43 2011–12 National Partnership Agreement on Remote Service Delivery. Key coordination structures in New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory include cross-jurisdictional Boards of Management, bilateral implementation plans, Regional Operations Centres and the establishment of Government Business Managers in communities. 
8 FaHCSIA’s internal audit report Closing the Gap Agenda, completed in May 2010, advised among its recommendations that FaHCSIA formalise its lead agency roles and responsibilities. 
9 A major government report in 2010 also called for a renewed commitment to ‘a coordinated, whole of government approach to the delivery of programs and services to Indigenous people’, Department of Finance and Deregulation, Strategic Review of Indigenous Expenditure, DoFD, Canberra, 2010, p. 289.
10 This issue is examined in ANAO Audit Report No. 26 2011–12 Capacity Development for Indigenous Service Delivery, pp. 19–22. 
11 See footnote 7. 
12 On 26 April 2012, the Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development announced the merger of Job Services Australia, the Disability Employment Services, the Community Development Employment Projects and the Indigenous Employment Program into a single integrated service for 65 communities. 
13 Department of Finance and Deregulation, op. cit., p. 11. 
14 Two Indigenous Expenditure Reports have been produced for COAG, in 2012 and 2010, providing an estimate of all Indigenous expenditure (both Indigenous-specific and mainstream expenditure by all governments). See for example, Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2012, 2012 Indigenous Expenditure Report, Productivity Commission, Canberra. 
15 The Treasury, Federal Finances Circular No. 2009/03, 3 April 2009, p. 5.