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Committee recommends stronger powers for the Auditor-General

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Telephone: 02 6277 4615 Parliament House

Facsimile: 02 6277 2220 PO Box 6021

E-mail: CANBERRA ACT 2600



Issued: 23 December 2010

Chair: Rob Oakeshott MP Deputy Chair: Yvette D’Ath MP

Committee recommends stronger powers for the Auditor-General

The Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has released a report examining the Auditor-General Act 1997, which sets out the functions and powers of the Commonwealth Auditor-General.

Committee Chair Rob Oakeshott MP (Member for Lyne) said: “the Committee, as the audit Committee of Parliament, has been conducting this inquiry to assess whether the powers of the Auditor-General and the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) remain adequate in the modern public sector environment. It has been nine years since the last such review by the Committee.

“The Committee has made 13 recommendations which, if enacted, will enhance the power of the Auditor-General in useful ways, including:

Ñ giving the Auditor-General greater authority to “follow the dollar” where

non-Commonwealth bodies, including contractors and agencies in other levels of government, are in receipt of Commonwealth funding to deliver agreed outcomes;

Ñ removing antiquated restrictions on the Auditor-General’s capacity to initiate

audits of Commonwealth-controlled Government Business Enterprises (currently such audits must be requested by either the Committee or a Minister);

Ñ ensuring that the Auditor-General’s full information-gathering powers for

traditional performance audits also apply to “assurance” reviews the Parliament might wish him to carry out (for example, the ANAO’s work on the annual Defence Major Projects Report); and

Ñ enhancing the Auditor-General’s role in reviewing the adequacy of agencies’

performance information”.

Mr Oakeshott said “the changes proposed by the Committee will help ensure that Commonwealth funding is fully accounted for and that the taxpayer is receiving value for money. I thank those who gave evidence to the inquiry, and also the members of the Committee in the previous Parliament (Chair Sharon Grierson MP, Deputy Chair

Petro Georgiou MP) who undertook the work for this inquiry”.

For more information: please contact the Committee chair, Rob Oakeshott MP, on telephone 02 6584 2911 or the Secretary on telephone (02) 6277 4615 or visit the inquiry’s website at