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Monday, 15 June 2020
Page: 4310


Mrs WICKS (Robertson) (10:21): On behalf of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit I present the committee's report entitled Report 481: efficiency and effectiveness—inquiry into Auditor-General's reports 25, 29, 38, 42, 44, 45 and 51 (2018-19).

Report made a parliamentary paper in accordance with standing order 39(e).

Mrs WICKS: One of the key functions of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit is to ensure the transparency and accountability of public administration and expenditure in the Commonwealth. Accordingly, examining the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of government programs ties directly into the statutory responsibilities and interests of the committee. This report is presented to the parliament pursuant to section 8(1) of the Commonwealth Public Accounts and Audit Act 1951 and details the committee's findings from the inquiry into the Auditor-General's reports of 2018-19 as referred to in the motion.

The purpose of this inquiry was to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of a range of government programs across a variety of subject matters and Commonwealth agencies. The committee identified several common themes across the seven Auditor-General's reports which were examined, including the importance of strong governance structures, the effective measurement and management of program performance and appropriate stakeholder engagement. These elements are critical to the success of all government programs, and the committee's findings are relevant to all government agencies undertaking program management on behalf of the Commonwealth.

In examining the operations of these programs, the committee has made 11 recommendations to agencies, including to the Department of Home Affairs, relating to externally reported key performance indicators and an electronic tracking system for applicants seeking citizenship by conferral; to the Department of Finance in reference to cost-recovery guidelines and benchmarking activities by cost-recovery entities; to the Australian Taxation Office regarding improvements to data analysis and systems designed to report on debt arising from compliance activities; to the Department of Social Services, relating to risk management and public reporting for the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022; and to the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the Australian Taxation Office in relation to policy objectives, key performance indicators and risk assessments for the Farm Management Deposits scheme.

In presenting this report I would really like to acknowledge the work of the committee secretariat in this inquiry. I'd like to thank all members of the committee for their cooperation and their assistance—and also the deputy chair—and indicate that this is a bipartisan report. I commend the report to the House.