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Thursday, 30 October 2003
Page: 17346

Senator FERRIS (3:28 PM) —On behalf of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Crime Commission, I present the report of the committee on the examination of the annual report for 2001-02 of the National Crime Authority, together with the Hansard record of proceedings and documents presented to the committee.

Ordered that the report be printed.

Senator FERRIS —I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

I seek leave to incorporate a tabling statement in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows

Honourable Senators will be aware that at the beginning of this year, the National Crime Authority became the Australian Crime Commission. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on the National Crime Authority became the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Crime Commission, with continued statutory obligations to examine Annual Reports, including those from the former NCA.

Under section 55(1)c of both the National Crime Authority Act 1984 and the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 the PJC is required to examine the Annual Report of the Authority—now the Commission—and report to the Parliament on any matter appearing in, or arising out of the annual report.

This report examines the National Crime Authority's annual report for the financial year 2001-2002. This is the final full financial year report for the National Crime Authority. The annual report, together with a letter from the Minister for Justice and Customs dated 24 April 2003 was tabled in the House of Representatives on 27 May 2003 and in the Senate on 16 June 2003.

The PJC has previously commented on the delays in tabling NCA Annual Reports and the Committee report tabled today comments more fully on this. It is sufficient to say that part of the reporting process includes having each member state of the Inter Governmental Committee sign off on the annual report before it is transmitted to the Minister. From evidence provided to the PJC's public hearing on the 2001-2002 annual report of the NCA, it appears that this consultation process contributed significantly to the delays in transmission and tabling. The PJC emphasises to the ACC that the management of the annual reporting process and in particular the consultation with the IGC must result in the presentation of the annual report in a timely manner.

Mr President, I shall outline briefly some of the issues which have arisen in the course of the Committee's perusal of the Authority's annual report.


The Authority has satisfied the reporting requirements issued by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in June 2002. The performance measures used by the Authority have been the subject of previous comment, and the PJC has been assured that the ACC has reviewed them. The Committee expects these concerns to be addressed in the first annual report for the ACC.

Financial Statements and expenditure.

The PJC notes the Authority had a net operating surplus of $4.7m which compared well with the $3m deficit in 2000-1. However this surplus was due to underspending resulting from a number of factors associated with the transition to the ACC, during which time the NCA was unable to carry out all of its scheduled work.

Of some concern to the PJC was a loan of $3m from the Australian Federal Police which incurred an interest payment of $90,480. Whilst the loan was repaid the PJC was concerned about its statutory basis. Arguably the strategic alliance between the AFP and the NCA provides this, although the cost to the NCA is of come concern to the PJC.


The PJC was concerned that it appeared that the SES staff of the Authority did not participate in any formal performance assessment scheme in accordance with the Public Service Commissioner's Directions 1999. The PJC intends to monitor compliance with this matter with the ACC.

General Comments

The PJC notes that there are no serious omissions or errors in the report, and that the report reflects in part, a time of transition from the NCA to the ACC. The PJC also acknowledges that there are difficulties for developing effective performance indicators for agencies such as the NCA and the ACC. The principal problem for such agencies is the extent to which detailed information has the potential to prejudice the continuing work of the agency or current or possible future court proceedings. The PJC considers that the Australian Crime Commission is well placed to develop a comprehensive business plan which will address this, as well as the other matters noted in the report.

The PJC noted that the National Crime Authority Annual Report covers the required reporting areas, and complies with the legislative and other formal requirements concerning the provision of Annual Reports.

Question agreed to.