Commonwealth Management of the Great Barrier Reef Follow-up Audit
The audit is a follow-up of ANAO Audit Report No.33 of 1997-98, which assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of the Commonwealth's management of the Great Barrier Reef and made seven recommendations for improvement. The objective of the follow-up audit was to assess the extent to which the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which is responsible for advising the Commonwealth on the care and developement of the Marine Park, has implemented the recommendations of the earlier audit.
ANAO Audit Report No.33 of 1997–98, Commonwealth Management of the Great Barrier Reef, assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of the Commonwealth's management of the Great Barrier Reef as carried out by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). The audit made seven recommendations for improvement, all of which were agreed by the GBRMPA. The objective of this follow-up audit was to assess the extent to which the GBRMPA has implemented the recommendations of the 1998 audit.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is an area of national and international significance, which was listed as a World Heritage Area in 1981. It stretches 2000 km along the Queensland coastline, covering an area of some 345 500 square kilometres. The Marine Park includes the world's largest (2900) and healthiest collection of coral reefs, and around 900 islands. The GBRMPA acts as the principal adviser to the Commonwealth Government on the care and development of the Marine Park.
The following table summarises the progress that the GBRMPA has made in implementing the recommendations from the previous audit report, with references to the paragraphs in this report that set out the ANAO's findings.
* See paragraph 5.
The ANAO concluded that the GBRMPA has implemented six of the seven recommendations made by the 1998 audit, and has made good progress towards implementing the other recommendation.
The GBRMPA will address, in its forthcoming annual report, the requirements for full implementation of Recommendation 4 by including performance information that provides a better indication of its overall effectiveness in managing the Marine Park.
The ANAO has made one further recommendation relating to the GBRMPA including an estimation of the total Commonwealth and State Government expenditure on managing the Great Barrier Reef in its reporting to Parliament. This reinforces Recommendation 4 of Audit Report No.33 of 1997–98.
The GBRMPA's response
The GBRMPA's response to this audit can be found in full at Appendix 2 of this report. The GBRMPA also provided the following summary:
At the time of the original audit the GBRMPA was undergoing fundamental changes. The ANAO report was used as a guide in implementing many of those changes.
The GBRMPA agrees with the findings of the follow-up audit. The GBRMPA also agrees with the new recommendation regarding reporting of an estimate of the total Commonwealth and State Government expenditure on managing the Great Barrier Reef. An estimate of such expenditure is included in the GBRMPA Annual Report 2002–03.
In relation to Recommendation 4 (of the previous audit), the GBRMPA was in the process of preparing its Annual Report for 2002–03 at the time of finalisation of the follow-up audit. The GBRMPA believes that the 2002–03 Annual Report will be considered to meet Parliamentary requirements for reporting on performance outlined in the Portfolio Budget Statements and that therefore it has fully implemented the recommendation of the ANAO.