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The audit reviewed Defence's management of the Test and Evaluation (T&E) aspects of its capital equipment acquisition program. The audit sought to identify, from Defence T&E practice, any barriers that might limit the efficiency and effectiveness of its T&E activities.
The audit was conducted in response to a November 2000 resolution of the Senate that the Auditor-General examine all expenditures and entitlements accruing to Parliamentarians in 1999-2000. The objectives of the audit were to:
provide assurance to the Parliament regarding the administration by Finance, the chamber departments and the portfolio departments of all expenditures and entitlements accruing to Parliamentarians, including Ministers, in 1999-2000;
assess the administrative and control structures governing expenditures and entitlements accruing to Parliamentarians and Ministers in 1999-2000; and
identify opportunities to improve the current framework.
The objective of the audit was to ascertain how efficiently and effectively the ATO administers sales tax collections. The audit excluded an examination of the Australian Customs Service's sales tax administration, although it did examine coordination and liaison arrangements between the ATO and ACS. The audit approach involved analysing the ATO's performance against the five elements of the ATO's established compliance improvement process, namely:
interpreting and clarifying sales tax law;
identifying and understanding clients and markets (enabling tax officers to identify and analyse risks of non-compliance);
providing education and information to clients regarding sales tax obligations, based on identified compliance risks;
implementing administrative arrangements which ensure and/or assist taxpayers to meet their obligations; and
detecting non-compliance and taking action to remedy instances of non-compliance.
The Commonwealth has significant foreign exchange risk exposures including $A8.4 billion of foreign currency transactions with the Reserve Bank of Australia in 1998-99. Under the Financial Management and Accountability Act and its associated Regulations, all agencies are required to assess and, where possible, manage, foreign exchange risk. The audit reviewed four agencies that have substantial foreign currency payment exposures namely:
the Department of Defence;
the Australian Agency for International Development;
the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and
the Department of Finance and Administration.
The objective of the audit was to identify and assess the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the management of foreign exchange risk across the selected agencies, also to identify opportunities to improve the management of foreign exchange risk, including any associated potential financial savings that could accrue to the Commonwealth.