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The audit reviewed management of the Commonwealth's role in preparing for, and managing, pest and disease emergencies requiring a rapid response. The audit focused on the role of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry -Australia (AFFA), which is the Commonwealth Department with primary portfolio responsibility for coordinating the national and international response to an emergency. The audit did not address preventative measures such as quarantine and border controls; controlled release of exotic diseases or pests; or emergencies associated with previously known endemic diseases, food safety or chemical residue issues.
The objective of the audit was to determine whether the Commonwealth's interests were adequately protected in terms of both the contractor selection process that led to Australian Construction Services being awarded the contract for the overall management of the project and the actual commercial arrangements between the Department of Primary Industries and Energy and ACS. As part of the audit, criteria were developed which considered whether the Commonwealth procurement guidelines were adhered to, as well as whether the commercial arrangements clearly detailed the goods and services to be provided, their cost and timing of delivery.