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Senate Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees Consolidated reports on the examination of annual reports No. 1 of 2010


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Australian Senate

Senate Legislation Committees

Reports on the examination of annual reports No. 1 of 2010

March 2010

Australian Senate

Senate Legislation Committees

Reports on the examination of annual reports

No. 1 of 2010

March 2010

© Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia 2010

ISSN 1834-4054

This document was printed by the Printing Unit, Department of the Senate, Parliament House, Canberra.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Community Affairs Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010), dated March 2010.................................... 1

Economics Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010), dated February 2010..............................27

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010), dated March 2010.................................. 61

Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010), dated March 2010.................................. 89

Finance and Public Administration Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010), dated March 2010................................ 113

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010), dated March 2010................................ 149

Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010), dated March 2010................................ 191

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010), dated March 2010................................ 221

The Senate

Community Affairs Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010)

M a rc h 2 0 1 0

© Commonwealth of Australia 2010

ISBN 978-1-74229-246-5

Senate Community Affairs Committee Secretariat

Ms Naomi Bleeser - Secretary

Ms Leonie Peake - Research Officer

The Senate

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: 02 6277 3515

Fax: 02 6277 5829

E-mail: community.affairs.sen@aph.gov.au

Internet: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

This document was produced by the Senate Community Affairs Committee Secretariat and printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra

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MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMITTEE

Members

Senator Claire Moore, Chair

Senator Rachel Siewert, Deputy Chair

Senator Judith Adams

Senator Sue Boyce

Senator Carol Brown

Senator Mark Burner

ALP, Queensland

AG, Western Australia

LP, Western Australia

LP, Queensland

ALP, Tasmania

ALP, Queensland

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

MEMBERSHIP OF THE COM M ITTEE.................................................................... iii

REPORT ON ANNUAL REPORTS (No. 1 of 2010)

OVERVIEW......................................................................................................................... 1

DEPARTMENTS

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 2008-2009......................................................................................2

Department of Health and Ageing 2008-2009.................................................................. 4

STATUTORY AUTHORITIES AND AGENCIES

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2008-2009................................................... 6

Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority 2008-2009.... 6

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency 2008-2009..................... 7

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority 2008-2009...................................................... 7

Australian Sports Commission 2008-2009.........................................................................8

Cancer Australia 2008-2009................................................................................................8

Central Land Council 2008-2009........................................................................................9

Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency 2008-2009.......................... 9

Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2008-2009......................... ............................. 10

Indigenous Business Australia 2008-2009........................................................................10

Indigenous Land Corporation 2008-2009........................................................................10

National Blood Authority 2008-2009................................................................................11

National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre 2008-2009................................................11

National Health and Medical Research Council 2008-2009......................................... 12

Northern Land Council 2008-2009...................................................................................12

Private Health Insurance Administration Council 2008-2009.......................................13

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Private Health Insurance Ombudsman 2008-2009........................................................ 13

Professional Services Review 2008-2009.......................................................................... 14

Tiwi Land Council 2008-2009........................................................................................... 15

Torres Strait Regional Authority 2008-2009.................................................................. 15

Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council 2008-2009.................................................16

COMMONWEALTH COMPANIES

Aboriginal Hostels Limited 2008-2009.............................................................................17

General Practice Education and Training Limited 2008-2009......................................17

The Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency Ltd 2008-2009............. ........... 17

APPENDIX 1 - List of Annual Reports examined for report by the Committee........ 19

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REPORT ON ANNUAL REPORTS (No. 1 of 2010)

OVERVIEW

99.1 This report was prepared pursuant to Standing Order 25(20) relating to the consideration of annual reports by Committees. The Senate Order requires that the Committee examine the reports referred to it to determine whether they are timely and 'apparently satisfactory'. In forming its assessment the Committee has considered whether the reports comply with:

• the Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies approved by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit under subsections 63(2) and 70(2) of the Public Service Act 1999, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, June 2009

• for Commonwealth authorities and companies, the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act).

A list of reports examined for report by the Committee is at Appendix 1.

Timeliness of reports and other reporting requirements

99.2 Annual reports referred to the Committee were tabled within the specified period or shortly thereafter. Unless otherwise commented on in the review of the annual reports examined, all other reporting requirements were met.

General comments

99.3 The Committee is pleased to note that generally the annual reports examined adhere to the relevant reporting guidelines in a satisfactory manner. The reports continue to maintain high standards of presentation and provide a comprehensive range of information on their

functions and activities.

Comments made in the Senate

99.4 The Committee is obliged, under Senate Standing Order 25(20)(d) to consider any remarks made about these reports in the Senate. Where any comments have been made they are referred to in the section below on the evaluation of individual reports.

Bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate

99.5 The Committee is required to report to the Senate on whether there are any bodies which do not present annual reports to the Senate and which should present such reports. The Committee considers that there are no bodies within its portfolio areas that do not meet their reporting requirements to the Senate in this regard.

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DEPARTMENTS

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 2008-2009

99.6 The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) annual report provides a well-structured and comprehensive review of the Department's functions and operations, including detailed performance reporting.

99.7 FaHCSIA was congratulated in the Senate and Senate Estimates, on the timeliness of the tabling of the annual report so that it was available for scrutiny during the supplementary estimates hearing.1 The Department was also complimented for having the highest percentage of staff with a disability of all the Australian Public Service (APS) agencies, with

5.3 per cent of their workforce identifying as a person with a disability compared with the APS average of 3.1 per cent.1 2

99.8 Part 1 of the report contains the Secretary's review and executive summary outlining FaHCSIA's major achievements, activities, future challenges and key objectives. A portfolio and financial performance overview is also included (pp.2-44).

Performance reporting

99.9 Part 2 of the report provides performance information which shows the direct reporting relationship between the estimated results set out in the 2008-09 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) and 2008-09 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (PAES) with the

actual results achieved. Future performance reporting intentions have been outlined to indicate how FaHCSIA's performance reporting is being shaped for the following year and beyond (p.46).

99.10 The performance reporting in Part 2 of the report is comprehensive and clearly presented. FaHCSIA has outlined in detail performance against each of their Outcomes and Outputs, in a separate chapter for each of the four Outcomes. 'At a glance' chapter summaries have been included as well as key areas of focus, major achievements, strategies and

contributions to achievements, and challenges faced. Results for key performance indicators, outputs, evaluations and comprehensive summaries of performance are also included. Case studies have been included to further illustrate FaHCSIA's performance and impact on the community (pp.51-205).

99.11 Corporate governance and accountability matters, stakeholders, future planning, appendices containing a number of tables outlining statistical information, and the annual report for the Aboriginals Benefit Account are provided in Parts 3 and 4 of the report. Financial statements are included in Part 5 of the report (pp.207-522).

1 Senate Hansard, 19.11.09, p.8474; Committee Hansard, 22.10.09, pp.CA5, 7.

2 Senate Hansard, 19.11.09, p.8474; Committee Hansard, 11.02.09, p.CA6.

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External scrutiny

99.12 The report provides information on the external scrutiny of FaHCSIA's activities by a range of agencies, including the Commonwealth Ombudsman, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), and Office of Evaluation and Audit.

99.13 The report notes that the Ombudsman received 200 approaches about FaHCSIA in 2008-09, an increase from 165 approaches received in 2007-08. Of the 200 complaints received, 146 were in relation to the Emergency Response or other Indigenous programs in the Northern Territory (p.278). The Commonwealth Ombudsman's report outlines the work undertaken to improve their engagement with government agencies, as well as community

agencies and organisations, in relation to Indigenous complaints and other Indigenous issues.3 During 2008-09, 164 approaches were finalised. The Ombudsman investigated 88 of these and exercised discretion not to investigate 76. Of the 88 approaches investigated by the Ombudsman, there was only one finding of administrative deficiency (p.278).

99.14 In relation to ANAO audits conducted in 2008-09, FaHCSIA reports that five cross­ agency audit reports were relevant to departmental operations. A summary of these audit reports is provided in the annual report at pp.278-279.

99.15 The Office of Evaluation and Audit makes recommendations about how Indigenous- specific programs can be improved and how the Australian Government can deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. During 2008-09 the Office of Evaluation and Audit tabled four audit reports of which FaHCSIA was a key stakeholder. The objectives of the engagements are outlined in FaHCSIA's annual report (pp.279-280).

99.16 FaHCSIA gave evidence and/or provided submissions to 22 Parliamentary Committees, including the Senate Community Affairs Committee in relation to 12 inquiries. FaHCSIA also appeared before three Senate Estimates hearings (pp.270-277).

Consultancies

99.17 The report provides details of new consultancies of $10,000 or more, including the name of the consultant, description of the contract, price, selection process and justification for the purpose for which the contracts were let (pp.318-338).

99.18 FaHCSIA reports that during the 2008-09 financial year total expenditure on new and ongoing consultancy contracts amounted to $18.4 million, which is a large decrease compared with $28.9 million in the previous year (p.382).

99.19 During 2008-09 a total of 291 new consultancy contracts were agreed upon, involving total actual expenditure of $16.8 million. In addition, 52 ongoing contracts were active during the year, involving total actual expenditure of $1.6 million (p.382).

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3 Commonwealth Ombudsman Annual Report 2008-2009, pp.93-98.

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Department of Health and Ageing 2008-2009

99.20 The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) annual report provides a well structured and comprehensive review of the Department's functions and operations, including detailed performance reporting.

99.21 The Secretary's review provides detailed information on DoHA's progress, major achievements and highlights, as well as challenges during the 2008-09 financial year. Key objectives and priorities for the following reporting year were also outlined (pp.2-10).

99.22 The Chief Medical Officer's comprehensive report outlines, from a medical perspective, achievements and challenges faced and future direction and focus in health protection and delivery. Supporting graphs and tables show major disease groups, burden of disease and disease prevention (pp.l 1-20).

99.23 The Departmental Overview in Part One of the report provides information on the Department's role and management arrangements (pp.22-27). A summary of major achievements, with page references to more detailed information is outlined, as well as objectives for the following year (pp.i-ii).

Performance reporting

99.24 The report provides details of DoHA's activities during the 2008-09 financial year against the key strategic directions and performance indicators presented in the 2008-09 Portfolio Budget Statements and Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements.

99.25 Part 2 of the report discusses the Departmental Outcomes and Outputs framework and the main activities, including a comprehensive report of the major achievements, strategic directions and challenges of the 15 Outcomes. Financial reporting on budget estimates and actual expenses for 2008-09 is included. Financial summaries, performance indicators, measures and outcomes for administered programs, departmental outputs and regulatory activities are clearly set out in tabular format (pp.30-237).

99.26 Part 3 of the report provides a range of information relating to management arrangements, including corporate governance, and internal and external scrutiny activities and ministerial arrangements (pp.224-252).

99.27 Accountability reporting is detailed in Part 4 of the report, providing information relating to advertising and market research, consultancies, reports on DoHA's performance in meeting Commonwealth Disability Strategy and Ecologically Sustainable Development and Occupational Health and Safety objectives. Information on grants and Freedom of Information arrangements is also provided (pp.270-313).

99.28 Financial statements, including the financial statements relating to the Therapeutic Goods Administration are detailed in Part 5 (pp.316-461).

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External scrutiny

99.29 The report sets out information on the external scrutiny of its activities by several bodies including the ANAO and the Commonwealth Ombudsman. Departmental responses to issues raised in relation to audit reports and parliamentary scrutiny are also discussed in the report (pp.260-264).

99.30 In relation to ANAO audits conducted in 2008-09 DoHA reports that two audits were specific to the department and three cross-agency audit reports were relevant to departmental operations. A summary of these audit reports is provided in the annual report at pp.260-261.

99.31 During 2008-09 the Commonwealth Ombudsman investigated 63 complaints against DoHA's administrative practices, 15 of which had carried over from 2007-08. The Commonwealth Ombudsman advised of two findings of administrative deficiency relating to DoHA in 2008-09 (p.264). "

99.32 DoHA gave evidence and/or provided submissions to 20 Parliamentary Committees, including the Senate Community Affairs Committee in relation to 11 inquiries and three Senate Estimates hearings. In addition DoHA provided answers to 983 parliamentary questions on notice, including 824 relating to Senate estimates (pp.262-264).

Consultancies

99.33 The report provides detailed information on consultancy services let in 2008-09 of $10,000 or more. 451 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $20.75 million. In addition, 113 ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the year, costing $11.35 million. Total expenditure on consultancies for 2008-09 was

$32.10 million, compared with a similar figure of $32.97 million in 2007-08 (pp.280-297).

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STATUTORY AUTHORITIES AND AGENCIES

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2008-2009

99.34 The report provides a comprehensive overview of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's (AIHW) functions, activities and outcomes. The main functions of AIHW are to collect, analyse and disseminate health-related and welfare-related information and statistics.

99.35 AIHW reports that it has undertaken detailed preparation of the data development work that will be required to meet COAG's requirements across health, housing and homelessness, disability, and Indigenous reform (p. 11).

99.36 The report states that AIHW released 152 publications during the year. New projects undertaken include development of a data set specification for the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme; new analyses in Australian hospital statistics with a wider range of information on access to elective surgery; analytical contributions have been made to the work of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission; and work has been undertaken to scope a major redevelopment of the disability services data set and the homelessness data collection (p. 12).

99.37 Accountability matters are outlined in the AIHW's report at pp.22-25. AIHW's performance against outcome and output groups is underpinned by five key strategic directions. Six performance indicators are used to monitor the AIHW's performance. A detailed overview of major achievements against key strategic directions and performance

indicators and a summary of financial performance are included in the report (pp. 28-41).

99.38 Further chapters of AIHW's report provide a comprehensive account of their business management and work group reports (pp.43-121).

Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority 2008-2009

99.39 The Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority inaugural annual report covers the period from 1 January 2009, the date the Authority was established, to 30 June 2009 (p.ii).

99.40 The report states that the Authority was created to 'spearhead and be accountable for a new world's best practice national approach and system to achieve a significant and lasting increase in the number of life-saving and life-transforming transplants for Australians'. The Authority's vision is for Australia to lead the world in organ and tissue donation and transplantation outcomes, and plans to achieve this by developing, building, monitoring and

improving national networks and systems for clinical practice, education and data analysis. The Authority will also build community awareness to improve family consent rates for organ and tissue donation (p.i).

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99.41 The report is structured into six parts which provide a detailed overview of the Authority, performance reporting, corporate overview, management accountability, Advisory Council membership and committees, and financial statements. Case studies are also

included (pp.2-108).

99.42 Performance reporting against the nine measures of the national reform package is detailed in the report, together with progress and outcomes at pp.18-25.

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency 2008-2009

99.43 The annual report provides a detailed review of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARP ANSA) functions and activities. ARP ANSA also publishes quarterly reports (pp.6-16).

99.44 The report provides a comprehensive overview of ARPANSA's major achievements and principle outcomes achieved (pp.8-18).

99.45 A well set out review of performance is provided against ARP ANSA's three output groups. Tables are also included which list performance against PBS targets (pp.24-58).

99.46 ARP ANSA's report also includes an informative essay titled What contribution can national diagnostic reference levels make to Australian radiology practice and population dose burden? (pp.60-65).

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority 2008-2009

99.47 The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (AS AD A) reports that it was successful in delivering the required outcomes and in maintaining their position of leadership in the delivery of world-class anti-doping (p.2).

99.48 AS ADA's continual commitment to quality was highlighted by the continued certification of their management system against the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2008 requirements. AS ADA also collaborated with international

partners to promote shared learning and international best practice in anti-doping programs (p.2).

99.49 A key deterrence program, the new World Anti-Doping Code was implemented during the reporting year and is detailed in the report at p.3. Detection, enforcement and support programs are also discussed in detail (pp.4-5).

99.50 An overview of ASADA's activities and highlights for the year, as well as plans for the following financial year are included in the report (pp.7-15).

99.51 Also included in the report is a clearly set out detailed report on performance against output groups and programs. Supporting tables, graphs and case studies are included (pp.18­ 39).

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99.52 A section of the report contains information on external scrutiny. The Committee notes that details of action taken by ASADA to address the Privacy Commissioner's adverse findings have been included in the report (p.49).

99.53 The report also includes the functions, outputs and achievements of the Australian Sports Drug Medical Advisory Council (ASDMAC) (pp.107-111).

Australian Sports Commission 2008-2009

99.54 The report provides a comprehensive review of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) functions, activities and outcomes.

99.55 The ASC's report states that their overall performance was again strong, with most key performance indicators met (p.l). A review of the Commission's strategic position and direction was undertaken to enable the ASC to support Australian sport during the Expert Independent Sport Panel's review period, and to provide a clear and shared basis on which to move forward pending the Government's responses to the panel's recommendations. The ASC also commenced work on a number of initiatives to achieve a better alignment of effort

in Australia's high performance sports system (pp.2-3).

99.56 An organisational review was also undertaken by the ASC with the key objective to improve service delivery by ensuring that its direction and operations are aligned with the needs of national sporting organisations (p.3).

99.57 The report includes a comprehensive performance section outlining targets, achievements, developments, and best practice which are detailed across Outcomes (pp.12­ 67). Management and accountability matters, including external security are provided at pp.70-94.

Cancer Australia 2008-2009

99.58 Cancer Australia's report states that the agency's objectives are to:

• provide national leadership in cancer control;

• guide scientific improvements to cancer prevention, treatment and care;

• coordinate and liaise between the wide range of groups and health care providers with an interest in cancer care;

• provide advice and make recommendations to the Australian Government on cancer policy and priorities; and

• oversee a dedicated budget for research into cancer (p.5).

99.59 The report provides a detailed overview of Cancer Australia's highlights, initiatives, and achievements for the year in review. A useful table outlines the agency's functions, strategic directions and results, and provides a reference to where more detailed information on outcomes may be found in the report (pp.2-13). A review of the Advisory Council's role and activities is also provided in the report (pp. 16-19).

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99.60 The performance section of Cancer Australia's report provides a comprehensive account of the main activities of the agency, including major achievements and challenges covering consumer participation, cancer research, National Centre for Gynaecological Cancers, professional development, service improvement, increasing awareness and

stakeholder participation, and better understanding of the impact of cancer. Tables measuring performance indicators and outcomes are also included (pp.28-50).

99.61 Management and accountability matters are detailed in the report at pp.52-58.

Central Land Council 2008-2009

99.62 The Central Land Council (CLC) is a representative organisation for the Aboriginal people covering nine regions across a wide area of country with 15 language groups (pp.5-9).

99.63 The report states that the CLC has responded to a rapidly changing and extremely complex external environment with flexibility and has restructured in areas where outcomes could be improved. The CLC is one of the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory in a range of jobs. Expansion has continued in land management and the CLC's success in community development work has been recognised as a model of best practice nationally (p.3).

99.64 A well-presented and comprehensive report of the CLC's operations, performance, challenges and achievements against the six output groups is provided in the report, enhanced by a number of photographs, tables and graphs (pp. 10-83). The output groups cover:

• Land and natural resource management

• Land claims and acquisition support services

« Economic development and commercial services

• Advocacy services

• Administration and support services

• Native Title.

99.65 The CLC reports that while the processes associated with acquiring Aboriginal freehold title have diminished over the past 30 years, land use agreements and land management operations had significantly escalated and economic and employment benefits to the traditional owners was increasing (p.l 1).

Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency 2008-2009

99.66 The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency's (EOWA) primary role is to administer the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999. The principal objectives of the Act and functions of EOWA are outlined in the report at p.l 1.

99.67 EOWA reports that indicators of progress in equal opportunities for women show that women's participation in the Australian workforce appear to have 'ground to a halt'. Data shows that the percentage of female CEOs remained fixed at 10.1 per cent, and the number of

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CEOs increased only slightly from 33.3 per cent to 33.5 per cent in 2007-08. However, on a more positive note EOWA's annual survey results show an increase in the provision of paid maternity leave among EOWA reporting organisations from 48.9 per cent to 50.8 per cent, representing an increase of 27.1 per cent since 2001. Another area of improvement within organisations was sex-based harassment (pp.7-8).

99.68 Performance and strategies to deliver outcomes are set out in table format, accompanied by more detailed information and supporting graphs (pp. 15-36).

Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2008-2009

99.69 The Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) report outlines the Agency's functions, responsibilities, developments and achievements. A summary of financial performance and table of performance targets and outcomes is provided, with references to more detailed information. A useful compliance index is also included (pp.3-20).

99.70 Separate sections of the report include detailed overviews, performance targets, outcomes, achievements and developments relating to regulatory measures and FSANZ stakeholders (pp.22-80). Accountability matters are reported in detail at pp.98-110, including a reference to issues raised with FSANZ during the Committee's estimates hearings during the year in review (p.104).

Indigenous Business Australia 2008-09 99.71 The annual report of Indigenous Business Australia (IB A) provides an account of the year in review, including activities, challenges, highlights, achievements, and future direction. The report states that IBA's investment assets performed well over the year, and was an outstanding result considering the downturn in sectors such as tourism (pp.8-12).

99.72 IBA's report includes a comprehensive performance section which is well presented with detailed summaries relating to outcomes and outputs, supported by graphs, tables, charts and photographs. Case studies are also included (pp. 18-89). A further section of the report summarises IBA's financial performance for the year (pp.89-91). Management and accountability matters are detailed at pp.92-127.

99.73 IBA commissioned an Indigenous artist to illustrate the cover of their annual report to depict the contribution that IBA makes to the Government's commitment to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

Indigenous Land Corporation 2008-09

99.74 The report provides a comprehensive overview of the Indigenous Land Corporation's (ILC) performance and achievement of social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits for Indigenous people. Priority was given to delivering training opportunities and employment outcomes through ILC's land acquisition and land management programs. This focus was also strongly reflected in economic development initiatives and projects (pp.2-5).

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99.75 Part 2 of the report provides a table of achievements against key performance indicators and targets. The report also provides a comprehensive account of the objectives and performance outcomes relating to land acquisition, management and land grants, supported by case studies, informative tables, graphs, and maps (pp.22-95). Management accountability is detailed in Part 3 of the report (pp.97-116).

99.76 A financial overview of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Account is also provided in the report at pp.l 8-21.

National Blood Authority 2008-2009

99.77 The National Blood Authority (NBA) report provides a summary of the NBA's key activities and major achievements as well as issues and challenges faced during the year in review. An overview of the Australian blood sector is also included (pp.2-23).

99.78 The NBA reports that its key focus for the year was to continue to undertake core business at an excellent standard to enable the community to access safe and effective blood and blood products. Their new structure will provide the basis for NBA's continuing efforts to better integrate the blood sector with wider health sector priorities for patients, and reforms in data evaluation and performance measurement (pp.2, 6).

99.79 The performance section of the report in Part Two provides a summary of performance against NBA's Operational Plan and includes performance indicators against the agency Outcome and output group. A comprehensive assessment against key strategic directions is also provided, including tables, graphs and case studies (pp.28-63).

99.80 Part Three of the report outlines external influences that could affect the way NBA does business in the future. Information is provided regarding changes to NBA's external environment, factors which may affect global supply, demand and pricing, and a range of international trends in regulatory and blood-related practice (pp.65-81).

99.81 Corporate responsibility and management accountability sections are also provided in the report at pp.84-115.

National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre 2008-2009

99.82 The National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre (NBOCC) became a CAC Act agency with effect from 1 January 2009. The report states that since its establishment NBOCC has 'earned a reputation as a trusted and authoritative source of evidence-based information for consumers, health professionals, policy makers and health service providers'

(pp.2-3).

99.83 NBOCC developed a number of clinical practice guidelines to support the delivery of best practice care, and expanded resources to support consumer decision-making in particular areas. The report also states that the Centre extended its impact at a strategic level, such as translating evidence into improved outcomes through informed policy, behaviour change and

service delivery redesign (p.3).

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99.84 Key project and communication achievements for 2008-09 are detailed in NBOCC's report at pp.5-7.

National Health and Medical Research Council 2008-2009

99.85 The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is the Australian Government's key agency for supporting health and medical research, developing health advice and guidelines for the Australian community, health professionals and governments and for providing advice on ethical behaviour in healthcare and the conduct of health and medical research. The NHMRC received an increase of 19.8 per cent over the previous year for research funding. Expenditure on research was almost $700m (p.vi).

99.86 The NHMRC reports that in the year in review their priority was knowledge creation and the translation of research outcomes. The NHMRC implemented recommendations from two international reviews which informed the Strategic Plan (pp.2-3).

99.87 The report includes a comprehensive overview of NHMRC's activities, outcomes and research funding expenditure and future commitments (pp.2-18). Performance is detailed in Part Two of the report covering excellence in health and medical research; health policy and practice; responsible conduct and governance of research; investment in health and medical research; developing an integrated data platform to improve accountability, information management and reporting on investment in health and medical research (pp.20-110).

99.88 Accountability, responsibility, and sustainability matters are discussed in Part Three of the report at pp.l 12-149.

99.89 A number of appendices are also provided, including details of Council membership, committees, publications, consultations, funding schemes and grants (pp.224-396).

Northern Land Council 2008-2009 99.90 The annual report of the Northern Land Council (NLC) states that the Council continued to grow as a strong and stable organisation with a professional workforce committed to representing Traditional Owners. Corporate governance structures were significantly improved, and a range of policies developed and implemented to ensure both the smooth operation of the NLC and for delivery of efficient work practices and processes for staff (p.9).

99.91 The Committee congratulates the NLC for winning the Gold Award in the General category of the annual Australasian Reporting Awards for their 2007-08 annual report.

99.92 NLC's report includes comprehensive performance reporting supported by graphs, tables, maps and photographs against their following five output groups (pp.20-83):

Output group 1 - Land, sea and natural resource management Output group 2 - Land claims and acquisitions support services Output group 3 - Economic development and commercial services Output group 4 - Advocacy services Output group 5 - Administration and support services

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99.93 A summary of performance against NLC's operational plan for Native Title services (Output group 6) is also provided (pp.85-98), as well as a section outlining NLC's governance(pp.100-118).

Private Health Insurance Administration Council 2008-2009

99.94 The report provides an overview of the operations and regulatory framework of the Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC) (pp.6-17).

99.95 PHIAC's core functions are to monitor and regulate the private health insurance industry, and to provide information to Government and other stakeholders on private health insurance membership and utilisation, risk equalisation and gap cover (p.6).

99.96 PHIAC's corporate plan and its reporting of performance are closely related to the outcomes in the portfolio budget statements. The work undertaken and activities carried out by PHIAC to meet these outcomes fall into the following three main categories:

• ensuring that the private health insurers in Australia are well-run and prudentially sound;

• managing the risk equalisation trust fund to ensure that the risks of providing universal access to private health insurance are equitably distributed among the funds;

• ensuring that information which can assist the private health insurance industry, consumers and government is collected and made available in a timely and reliable way (p.6).

99.97 PHIAC is proactive in monitoring information provided to it by the industry, and also reviews collected information rigorously to assess whether the information obtained serves to assist PHIAC to discharge its regulatory functions, and assist the industry, government and consumers to know more about the private health insurance industry (p.8).

Private Health Insurance Ombudsman 2008-2009

99.98 The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) report provides an informative overview detailing the key activities and challenges faced in the year in review (pp.5-9).

99.99 Details of PHIO's performance, including a summary of perfonnance outcomes against perfonnance indicators is provided in the report, supported by graphs, charts and tables (pp. 12-23).

99.100 PHIO reports that 117 more complaints, totalling 2502, were received during 2008-09 which was 5 per cent higher than the previous year. However, the more complex level 3 complaints received were 2 per cent less than the previous year (p.13). More detailed infonnation on complaint issues is provided in the report at pp.24-27. Informative case

studies have been included in PHIO's report (pp.28-33).

99.101 PHIO reports that this year's client survey has shown an improvement in client satisfaction compared to the previous year. Eighty-eight per cent of clients were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall handling of their complaint, which was an improvement on the

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78 per cent the previous year (p.35). The report further states that the challenge for the Ombudsman's office is to improve satisfaction levels for the 12 per cent of complainants who indicated they were not satisfied with the Ombudsman's office, as they considered they did not receive an outcome to their complaint that was satisfactory from their perspective (p.36).

99.102 PHIO made improvements and additions to their consumer website to provide more up-to-date, informative and independent information to consumers about health insurance, and to allow them to view standard information for their own health insurance policy and compare it with other policies (pp.37-38).

Professional Services Review 2008-2009

99.103 The report provides a comprehensive overview of the operations of the Professional Services Review (PSR) (pp.2-5).

99.104 The PSR report states that Medicare Australia had requested a review of the behaviour of 136 practitioners, which represented a 172 per cent increase in the number of requests received in 2007-08. This increase required a 20 per cent increase in staffing numbers, establishment of more PSR Committees, and considerable increase in travel for operational staff. Despite these challenges PSR reports that some of their timeframes for completion of cases had been further reduced. During the financial year PSR reviewed over

14,000 medical records from general practitioners, medical specialists and optometrists (pp.vi-vii).

99.105 Perfonnance indicators, measures and outcomes are discussed in the report in detail, including information relating to requests for review, referrals to committees and determinations (pp.8-14).

99.106 PSR implemented its first Communication, Education and Media Strategy. The main aims are to:

• ensure information about PSR's processes is easily available to those that need or want it

• reinforce Medicare Australia's efforts to promote appropriate use of Medicare and the PBS, and awareness of the PSR Scheme

• deter health care practitioners from inappropriate practice (p.9).

99.107 To further increase awareness and understanding PSR issued its fourth annual Report to the Professions which served the dual purposes of educating the professions about the PSR Scheme and PSR's activities, and acting as a deterrent to those who might see elements of their own practice reflected in the cases described (p.9).

99.108 A section of the report provides case descriptions, issues identified, decisions, and outcomes of legal cases (pp.16-41).

99.109 Details relating to management and accountability are also set out in a separate section of the report (pp.44-54).

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Tiwi Land Council 2008-2009 •

99.110 The Tiwi Land Council reports that it was presented with a number of challenges during the year, but is optimistic that opportunities will evolve from projects which will provide employment opportunities for young Tiwi to enable them to build a strong future | with access to excellent career opportunities (p.5).

99.111 The Council refers to the Senate inquiry into Forestry and Mining operations on the Tiwi Islands. The Council welcomed the different views and opinions on the future of the forestry industry on the Islands, but they were steadfast in their resolve to build and develop this industry in order for their people to escape the disastrous effect of passive welfare, and

also to create a sustainable industry that will serve the Tiwi in future years (p.5).

99.112 The report states that the Tiwi are working towards having greater involvement in education at all Tiwi Islands' schools. Other changes had occurred in communities, and Traditional Owners had negotiated with the Federal Government with the prospect of entering into township leases (p.6).

99.113 The report also includes a comprehensive overview relating to the Management Committee, including objectives and management performance outcomes, and land use proposals. Community development projects are also detailed. The Land Council reports that a number of self-governing Boards had been established through its own committee processes. There was a trend throughout Tiwi society to value performance and outcomes

from their established organisations (pp.7-19).

99.114 A comprehensive section of the report outlines the Council's performance reporting against outcomes and output groups, with key performance indicators included. Costs to achieve the outcomes are detailed as an aid to planning and transparency. The Council's

funding is reliant upon the outcomes achieved and the relative costs of achieving them (pp.36-39).

Torres Strait Regional Authority 2008-2009

99.115 The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) report provides a comprehensive account of the Authority's functions and operations. The structure of the report is outlined in the preface (p.vi). Challenges and achievements during the reporting period are discussed, particularly with regard to projects, partnerships and economic development (pp. 1 -5).

99.116 The corporate overview covers workforce development, review of programs and planning frameworks, and key operational areas that will be focussed on in the next financial year (pp.26-27).

99.117 A detailed well-structured account of performance, including objectives, projects, and achievements is provided against the six output groups which contributed to the planned outcome 'to achieve a better quality of life and to develop an economic base for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal persons living in the Torres Strait'. Tables are included which list

planned and actual achievements for each output. Case studies of projects are also included to further outline TSRA's achievements and provide details of forward planning for future projects (pp.36-119).

__________________________________________________________________________________________ 15_

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Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council 2008-2009

99.118 The comprehensive report provides an account of Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council's (WBACC) functions and operations. The Community's vision and the Council's goals to achieve this are outlined. The report's overview includes details of land ownership and management and the Council's functions. Information is also provided in relation to the Wreck Bay Village and the community (pp.1-11). WBACC's operations, including a summary of the outcomes/outputs that the community achieves using Government grant funds and its own resources, and land matters, community programs, and training opportunities are outlined in more detail at pp.21(a) to 21(e).

99.119 The WBACC reports that sub-committees have been established to determine direction and policy. Cultural heritage is considered to be a major consideration in community development and advancement, and the Cultural Heritage sub-committee has been established to further this aim. Health has also been highlighted as a .major concern, particularly with regard to the provision of improved medical services. Housing conditions

are also a concern to the community and the executive is confident of achieving positive outcomes (pp.12-13).

99.120 The Council's wholly owned subsidiary company Wreck Bay Enterprises Limited (WBEL) operational activities, outcomes and financial statements are also included in the report (pp.26-31, 71-98). Although a small financial loss was recorded each operational section recorded an operational profit, however accrued annual leave and depreciation reduced the overall operational profit to a paper loss. A new Plan of Management is being developed (pp. 18-19).

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COMMONWEALTH COMPANIES

Aboriginal Hostels Limited 2008-2009

99.121 Aboriginal Hostels Limited (AHL) comprehensive report provides details of its operations, including accommodation services and case studies, across the eight regions in which AHL provides accommodation and assistance.

99.122 AHL reports that their main purpose is to improve the quality of life of Indigenous people by providing affordable and culturally appropriate hostel accommodation to enable them to access education, employment, health and other services. Young Indigenous people

are assisted with the provision of secondary and tertiary education hostels, and Indigenous Youth Mobility Program (IYMP) houses to provide environments conducive to good learning outcomes. AHL also supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by being one of the largest providers of employment and training - 82 per cent of employees are Indigenous (pp.6, 13).

99.123 AHL's overall bed occupancy rate during 2008-09 was 73 per cent, which compared favourably with the benchmark of 70 per cent. The annual resident survey, in which 612 residents participated, recorded an excellent result with over 90 per cent of hostel residents expressing satisfaction with the standard of services provided (pp.7-8).

99.124 AHL's performance against outcomes and output groups, and financial summaries for the regions are detailed at pp. 17-74. A balanced scorecard performance summary outlining perspectives, goals, focus and strategies is also included in the report (pp.42-43).

General Practice Education and Training Limited 2008-2009

99.125 General Practice Education and Training (GPET) reports that the year was characterised by sound performance across a range of areas including recruitment, registrar distribution to meet workforce needs, and Indigenous health training. Recruitment and marketing activities were enhanced to further promote general practice as a career (p.ii).

99.126 GPET reports an all time high of 870 applicants for 2009 and the commencement of 684 new registrars, a record 476 of whom were Australian medical graduates (pp.iii).

99.127 GPET's strategic aims established through the annual strategic review process set the context of target setting and performance assessment, and are outlined in detail in the annual report at pp.2-11.

The Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency Ltd 2008-2009

99.128 The annual report of the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency includes an overview setting out the role and functions, structure and governance. Detailed information is provided relating to accreditation and the operations of residential aged care facilities (pp.6-14).

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99.129 Further parts of the report outline education to provide improvement in quality care, stakeholder relationship management, and quality assurance and improvement (pp. 16-23).

99.130 Agency performance with progress measured against targets is clearly set out in table format, including initiatives undertaken to achieve outcomes (pp.27-30).

99.131 The agency reports that the Australian Government's requirement that each aged care home receives at least one unannounced visit was met, with 3,538 visits included in this category. During the year a total of 7,595 visits to aged care facilities were made which was a significant increase on the previous year (p.5).

Senator Claire Moore Chair March 2010

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Date received out of session by President of the Senate

30.10.09

06.11.09

30.10.09

07.01.10

Date submitted to/ received by Minister

28.09.09/30.09.09

03.12.09/03.12.09

18.01.10/22.01.10

The Senate

Economics Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010)

February 2010

© Commonwealth of Australia 2010

ISBN 978-1-74229-242-7

Printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra.

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Senate Economics Legislation Committee

Secretariat Mr John Hawkins, Secretary Mr Glenn Ryall, Senior Research Officer Ms Aleshia Bailey, Executive Assistant

Suite SG.64 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 3540

Fax: 02 6277 5719 E-mail: economics.sen@auh.gov.au Internet: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate economics/

Members Senator Annette Hurley, Chair Senator Alan Eggleston, Deputy Chair Senator Doug Cameron

Senator Bamaby Joyce Senator Louise Pratt Senator Nick Xenophon

Western Australia, ALP South Australia, IND

New South Wales, ALP Queensland, NATS

South Australia, ALP Western Australia, LP

iii

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iv

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Membership of Committee iii

Chapter 1 1

OVERVIEW OF 2008-09 ANNUAL REPORTS 1

Introduction 1

Purpose and requirements of annual reports 2

Reports referred to the committee 2

Timeliness 3

Remarks made in the Senate 5

Bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate 5

Other comments on reports 5

Chapter 2 7

INDIVIDUAL 2008-09 ANNUAL REPORTS 7

Reports under the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio 7

Reports under the Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio 9

Reports under the Treasury portfolio 10

Appendix 1 15

Abbreviations

Appendix 2 17

Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Portfolio

List of annual reports tabled in the Senate during the period 1 May 2009 to 31 October 2009

Appendix 3 19

Resources, Energy and Tourism Portfolio

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List of annual reports tabled in the Senate during the period 1 May 2009 to 31 October 2009

Appendix 4 21

Treasury Portfolio

List of annual reports tabled in the Senate during the period 1 May 2009 to 31 October 2009

Appendix 5 23

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Portfolio

Appendix 6 25

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Resources, Energy and Tourism Portfolio

Appendix 7 27

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Treasury portfolio

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Chapter 1

OVERVIEW OF 2008-09 ANNUAL REPORTS

Introduction

1.1 Annual reports of departments and agencies are referred to Senate Committees under Senate Standing Order 25(20). The Senate Economics Legislation Committee is responsible for the scrutiny of departments and agencies in the following portfolios:

• Innovation, Industry, Science and Research;

• Resources, Energy and Tourism; and

• Treasury.1

1.2 The structures and outcomes for each of these portfolios are summarised in Appendices 5, 6 and 7.

1.3 Standing order 25(20) requires the committee to:

• examine each annual report referred to it and report to the Senate whether the report is apparently satisfactory;

• consider in more detail, and report to the Senate on, each annual report which is not apparently satisfactory, and on the other annual reports which it selects for more detailed consideration;

• investigate and report to the Senate on any lateness in the presentation of annual reports;

• in considering an annual report, take into account any relevant remarks about the report made in debate in the Senate;

• if the committee so determines, consider annual reports of departments and budget-related agencies in conjunction with examination of estimates;

• report on annual reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year, and on annual reports tabled by 30 April each year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year;

• draw to the attention of the Senate any significant matters relating to the operations and performance of the bodies furnishing the annual reports; and

• report to the Senate each year whether there are any bodies which do not present annual reports to the Senate and which should present such reports." 1 2

1 Journals of the Senate, No. 2, 13 February 2008, pp 97-98.

2 Standing Order 25(20), Standing Orders and other orders o f the Senate, September 2006, p. 27.

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Purpose and requirements of annual reports

1.4 Annual reports provide information on the success (or otherwise) of departments and agencies in meeting their goals and so assist in ensuring the public accountability of government departments and agencies. Their tabling in the Parliament, and scrutiny by Senate committees, allows Parliament to make informed judgments on the executive's performance in administering government programmes.

1.5 Departments of State and Executive Agencies present their annual reports pursuant to sections 63(2) and 70(2) of the Public Service Act 1999, respectively.3 Commonwealth authorities and companies present their annual reports pursuant to their own enabling legislation and/or sections 9 and 36 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act), respectively.4 5

The Department of Finance and Deregulation publishes a chart on their website that shows which agencies are subject to various acts.3 The legislation governing the annual reports of various agencies is shown in Appendices 2, 3 and 4.

1.6 The enabling legislation of some agencies may require that agency to report on matters other than those included in the guidelines, or impose different reporting requirements. The Committee's view is that such agencies, while bound by their enabling legislation, should also comply with the requirements imposed under the

government's policy, to the extent that the requirements do not conflict.

Reports referred to the committee

1.7 Under Standing Order 25(20)(f), the committee is required to report on the annual reports of departments and agencies tabled in the Senate between 1 May and 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year. This year that date is 11 March 2010. The committee is also required to report on annual reports tabled in the Senate between 1 November and 30 April of the following year by the tenth sitting

day after 30 June of that year.6

P age 2_______________________________________________________________________________

3 They are required to comply with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Requirements for Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, approved by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit on 18 June 2008. See http://www.dpmc.gov.au/guidelines/docs/annual report reauirements.pdf. Section 3(1) of the

Requirements states that they also 'apply to prescribed agencies under section 5 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997'. The financial statements must be produced in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Orders (Financial Statements for reporting periods ending on or after 1 July 2007).

4 Reports of Commonwealth authorities subject to the CAC Act must be produced in accordance with the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report of Operations) Orders 2008 and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Orders (Financial Statements for reporting periods ending on or after 1 July 2007). Annual reports of Commonwealth companies are required to be based on the reporting requirements under the Corporations Act 2001.

5 http://www.fmance.gov.au/financial-framework/fma-legislation/fma-agencies.html; and http://www.fmance.gov.au/financial-framework/cac-legislation/cac-bodies.html.

6 On the current sitting plan that date will be 22 September 2010.

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1.8 This report examines the following annual reports for 2008-09, which were tabled in the Senate by 31 October 2009, within their required timeframe:

• Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

• Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)

• Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)

• Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)

• Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM)

• Australian Research Council (ARC)

• Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC)

• Australian Taxation Office (ATO) "

• Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC)

• Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

• Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR)

• Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (DRET)

• Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT)

• National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA)

• Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)

1.9 Comments on these individual reports are contained in Chapter 2.

Timeliness

1.10 Standing Order 25(20)(c) requires the committee to report to the Senate on the late presentation of annual reports.

1.11 The legislative requirements for the tabling of annual reports vary between different types of agencies.7 However, the Government's policy is 'that all annual reports should be tabled by 31 October'.8

7 The various requirements are set out in the Committee's report Annual reports (No. 1 o f2009), March 2009, p. 4.

8 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, 18 June 2008, p. 1; Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Tabling Circular No. 1/2008, Tabling o f 2007-08 Departmental and Agency Annual Reports, p. 1; and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet,

Guidelines for the Presentation of Government Documents to the Parliament (Including Government Responses to Committee Reports, Ministerial Statements, Annual Reports and Other Instruments), July 2008, paragraph 4.10.

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1.12 The Committee notes that there are a significant number of organisations whose annual reports, while prepared and sent to the minister by October, were not tabled until November. These are listed in Table 1. (The Productivity Commission's annual report was presented to the House of Representatives on 29 October 2009.) The Committee believes these reports should have been tabled more promptly.

Table 1: Reports tabled after 30 October

Transmitted Received by Senate Tabled

Anglo-Australian Observatory undated 25 Nov

Innovation Investment funds 29 Sep 25 Nov

Tourism Australia 15 Oct 18 Nov

Treasury 12 Oct 30 Oct 16 Nov

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority 19 Oct 20 Nov 23 Nov

Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation 22 Sep 5 Nov 16 Nov

Australian Securities and Investments Commission 9 Sep 5 Nov 16 Nov

Financial Reporting Council 14 Oct 13 Nov 16 Nov

Financial Reporting Panel 1 Oct 4 Nov 16 Nov

Auditing and Assurance Standards Board 2 Oct 4 Nov 16 Nov

Australian Accounting Standards Board 2 Oct 4 Nov 16 Nov

Companies Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board 1 Oct 30 Oct 16 Nov

Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee 18 Sep 4 Nov 16 Nov

Productivity Commission undated 17 Nov

Royal Australian Mint 10 Sep 30 Oct 16 Nov

Superannuation Complaints Tribunal 11 Sep 13 Nov 16 Nov

Takeovers Panel 15 Oct 30 Oct 16 Nov

1 .1 3 The Committee notes that the Foreign Investment Review Board only sent its

2007-08 annual report to the Treasurer on 20 July 2009 and it was tabled on 11 August 2009, over nine months late. As of end-November 2009, the 2008-09 annual report has not been tabled, so it is also overdue. A recent report by the Economics References Committee 'recommends that the Minister require FIRB to be

36

more assiduous in producing a timely annual report'.9 This Committee agrees with that recommendation.

1.14 The Innovation Australia annual report for 2007-08 was not published until

2009. The Committee has been advised by DIISR that the annual report for 2008-09 will probably be tabled in late February 2010. The report will discuss a range of programmes involving significant expenditures aimed at stimulating innovation and commercialisation by Australian industry. The Committee believes that it should have been prepared by 31 October 2009.

1.15 The Snowy Hydro annual report for 2008-09 is on their website, dated

26 August 2009. However it is yet to be tabled in parliament. Under the Snowy Corporatisation Act, Snowy Hydro is required to provide its report prior to its annual general meeting, and the meeting is not scheduled to occur until April 2010. The Committee believes that nonetheless it would be appropriate for the report to be tabled by end-October each year.

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Remarks made in the Senate

1.16 Senate Standing Order 25(20)(d) directs the committee to take into account

remarks made in the Senate when considering annual reports.

1.17 None of the annual reports considered in this report have been the subject of

debate in the Senate.

Bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate

1.18 The committee is required to report to the Senate each year under Standing

Order 25 (20)(h) on whether there are any bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate which should. The committee is satisfied that there are no bodies within the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research; Resources, Energy and Tourism; or Treasury portfolios that are avoiding their obligation.

1.19 The Committee notes that the office of the Chief Scientist is now a full-time

position. The Committee suggests that, regardless of any legal obligation, the Chief Scientist should consider releasing a public annual report to inform the community about her work.

Other comments on reports

1.20 Taking into account the reporting guidelines specified by the legislation under which departments and agencies present their annual reports, the Committee considers that the reports it has examined are generally 'apparently satisfactory'.

9 Senate Economics References Committee, Foreign Investment by State-owned Enterprises, September 2009, p. 16.

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Compliance indices

1.21 While no longer mandatory under the reporting requirements, the Committee

recommends the inclusion of a compliance index in the annual reports of the larger and more complex agencies. The index preferably should include a nil return entry where the agency has nothing to report under an item. A compliance index is a useful feature of reports and considerably assists the Committee's task of assessing reports. It also assists agencies by clearly showing that their compliance obligations have been met. It can be particularly useful for agencies with reporting requirements under

various Acts.

1 .2 2 The Committee commends a number of departments and agencies for their

inclusion of compliance indices in their 2008-09 annual reports.

External scrutiny and accountability

1.23 It is required that annual reports:

... must provide information on the most significant developments in external scrutiny of the department and the department's response, including particulars of:

(a) judicial decisions and decisions of administrative tribunals that have had, or may have, a significant impact on the operations of the department; and

(b) reports on the operations of the department by the Auditor-General (other than the report on financial statements), a Parliamentary committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman.10

l .2 4 Annual reports should be a primary reference document for parliamentarians

and others looking for information about external scrutiny of government agencies. As noted above, the primary purpose of annual reports is accountability to the Parliament — it is therefore important that details about external scrutiny are included in a clear

manner in annual reports. It is particularly important that details about parliamentary scrutiny are included in annual reports, including appearances at Senate estimates hearings (which are the subject of bi-annual reports to the Senate).

1 .2 5 The committee commends the Australian Taxation Office in particular for

providing comprehensive details relating to external scrutiny and accountability in its 2007-08 annual report.

10 Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies. Clause 11 of Schedule 1 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report of Operations) Orders 2008 states that the same requirements apply to Commonwealth authorities that present their annual reports in accordance with the provisions of section 9 of the CAC Act.

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Chapter 2

INDIVIDUAL 2008-09 ANNUAL REPORTS

Reports under the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio

Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (DIISR)

2.1 The Department's annual report emphasised the report of the 'Cutler Review', Venturous Australia: Building Strength in Innovation and the Government's response in Powering Ideas: an Innovation Agenda for the 21s' Century. Work has begun on initiatives arising from these reports, such as reforms to research funding for universities. DIISR also drew attention to the components of the stimulus package

involving longer-term investment in skills, innovation, education and infrastructure. Of particular interest to the Committee, given its 2008 report on space science, was the Department's work to advance Australia's bid to host the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope.

2.2 The annual report also described the work of IP Australia, which faced the challenge of reduced revenue but still managed to reduce its inventory of unprocessed patent applications.

2.3 The report includes compliance indices for both DIISR and IP Australia but no discussion of external scrutiny, despite DIISR appearing at Estimates in October 2008 and February 2009 and both DIISR and IP Australia in June 2009.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

2.4 CSIRO's annual report highlights the significant royalties from their wireless technologies and the commercialisation of their UltraBattery, as well as scientific progress in areas as diverse as solar cells, growth of prawns, sequencing the bovine genome and reducing emissions with a new aluminium production technology. During the year CSIRO published a report on water availability in the Murray-Darling basin, one of its largest ever research projects, and provided expertise in responding to the Victorian bushfires. CSIRO noted the increasing demand for their expertise in areas

such as energy, climate change and water management.

2.5 The annual report includes a compliance index and discusses CSIRO's accountability to the government but not to the parliament. CSIRO had appeared at Estimates in October 2008 and February and June 2009.

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)

2.6 AIATSIS is a statutory authority whose goal is to be the world's leading research, collecting and publishing institution in the field of Australian Indigenous studies. Its annual report highlights its research and the growing public interest evident in increased sales and hits to its website.

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2.7 The committee commends the Institute for including a compliance index in its report.

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)

2.8 ANSTO is a Commonwealth authority. It is a research and development agency and operates the OPAL reactor. The annual report highlights that the reactor recovered from the disruptions of the previous year and was able to resume production of radiopharmaceuticals, both for domestic use and export.

2 .9 The committee commends ANSTO for including a compliance index in its

report.

2.10 As in the previous year, the annual report states that 'there were no reports on the operations of ANSTO by a Parliamentary Committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman during the reporting year.'1 However, ANSTO appeared before the committee at Senate estimates hearings three times during 2008-09.

Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)

2 . 1 1 AIMS is a statutory authority established by the AIMS Act 1972. Its mission is

research to support the sustainable use and protection of the marine environment.

2.12 Its annual report highlights funding for the Australian Tropical Oceans Simulator, to be built at its Townsville headquarters, which will extend its understanding of climate change and ocean acidification. AIMS reports strong evidence that these factors are responsible for slower growth in coral reefs. In other

work, AIMS recently quantified the value of marine industries at $38 billion in 2006-07. Research led by AIMS discovered new species in the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef.

2.13 The committee commends AIMS for including a compliance index in its report.

Australian Research Council (ARC)

2.14 The ARC is an independent agency, established under the ARC Act 2001, responsible for managing the National Competitive Grants Program, implementing the Excellence in Research in Australia (ERA) initiative and advising the government on research matters.

2.15 Its annual report highlighted funding for over 1,000 research projects (from over 5,000 proposals) and the establishment of the Centre for Groundwater Research and Training. The ARC analysed submissions relating to more than 20,000 journals in preparation for inclusion in the ERA-ranked journal list. The ARC also released its

strategic plan for 2008-09 to 2010-11.

1 Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 90.

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2 .1 6 The Committee commends the ARC for noting in its annual report its

appearances at Estimates and its responses to questions taken on notice. The ARC also refers in its annual report to the ARC providing witnesses to the Committee's public hearing for its inquiry into space science and industry. The Committee also commends ARC for including a compliance index in its report.

Reports under the Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio

Department o f Resources, Energy and Tourism (DRET)

2.17 Highlights of DRET's year included the launch of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, the issue of new petroleum exploration permits, progress in development of new LNG projects, the release of the national Energy Security

Assessment, initiatives to develop the geothermal industry and development of a national Long-Term Tourism Strategy.

2.18 DRET's annual report also includes (as Chapter 4) the annual report of Geoscience Australia, a prescribed agency.2 Geoscience conducted its largest single marine geoscience survey, off Western Australia, and provided spatial information to assist in management of the Victorian bushfires and their aftermath.

2.19 The Committee commends the Department for the inclusion of a compliance index. It also commends it for noting the appearances before Senate estimates of both DRET and Geoscience.3

National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA)

2.20 NOPSA is a prescribed agency under the FMA Act. Its amiual report notes that in 2008-09 'the offshore petroleum industry went from a period of growth to one of consolidation and cost cutting' which posed challenges. NOPSA is concerned about 'the relatively high level of personal injuries' in the industry. It highlights one

response; the 'Stand Together for Safety' two-hour stand-down dedicated to health and safety issues. Improvements were also made to safety training during staff inductions in the industry.

2.21 Of particular interest to the Committee given its December 2008 report on the matter was NOPSA's contribution to investigations of the fire and explosion at the facilities on Varanus Island.

2.22 The committee commends NOPSA for including a compliance index in its report and referring to its appearance at the October 2008 estimates hearing.

2.23 The NOPSA Board also produced its own, very brief, annual report.

2 The 2007-08 DRET annual report had also included the annual report of the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority Board but this now reports separately.

3 The Committee had been critical of this omission in its corresponding report last year.

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Reports under the Treasury portfolio

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

2.24 The ABS refers in its annual report to its additional funding which facilitated the reinstatement of the full sample for the Labour Force Survey and the monthly Retail Survey and allows new projects such as an index of living costs for government benefit recipients, measures of progress in reforming human service delivery and improved information concerning indigenous people.

2.25 The annual report includes three special articles, on the role of a national statistical agency in a global financial crisis; climate change and official statistics; and the role of official statistics in COAG information-related initiatives for measuring outcomes.

2.26 The Committee commends the ABS on the inclusion of a compliance index, and notes that it is prominently placed at the front of the annual report. However the Committee suggests that in the discussion of external scrutiny the ABS could have

referred to its appearances at Senate estimates in October 2008 and February and June 2009.

Australian Statistics Advisory Council (ASAC)

2.27 ASAC advises both the Minister and the Statistician and met three times during 2008-09. In its annual report ASAC welcomed the increased funding for the ABS but expressed concern that the 2011 census will have no innovations.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

2.28 The ACCC is a prescribed agency. It reports jointly with the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). The ACCC described as the highlight of 2008-09 the introduction of criminal sanctions for cartel conduct. The ACCC conducted 412 reviews of mergers proposals in 2008-09 with substantial concerns identified in 16

cases. It also provided strategic advice to the Government on issues such as national consumer law, water trading, grocery pricing and the national broadband network. The AER completed its first review of electricity distribution network revenues and prices.

2.29 The Committee commends the two agencies for including a compliance index near the front of the annual report. It also notes that the annual report refers in a few places to submissions to parliamentary committees and appearances before them, although these are not all readily located from the index or the table of contents and

exclude the ACCC's appearances at Senate estimates hearings.

2.30 The report states that 'the ACCC/AER is accountable for its activities through the courts, tribunals, parliament and the Commonwealth Ombudsman. In 2008-09 the ACCC/AER was not the subject of a report by the Auditor-General, a parliamentary

42

P age 11

committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman.'4 The Committee notes that reports on the additional and budget estimates hearings are tabled in the Senate each year by all Senate committees, and therefore the ACCC is the subject (albeit not the sole subject)

of a report. Furthermore, other committee reports may reflect upon evidence from the ACCC or make recommendations concerning them. The Committee therefore believes the ACCC should provide a fuller discussion of their scrutiny by parliamentary

committees, preferably consolidated into one section of the report.

National Competition Council (NCC)

2.31 The NCC is a statutory authority which advises governments on third party access regulations. Among matters arising in 2008-09 were the NSW water infrastructure access regime, railway services for mines in WA and natural gas pipelines. -

2.32 The Committee commends the NCC for including a compliance index in its annual report.

Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM)

2.33 The AOFM is a prescribed agency responsible for the management of the government's debt, financial investments and cash balances. Their annual report opines that the global financial crisis confirms the wisdom of maintaining a bond market by issuing bonds even when borrowing was not needed for budget funding. In particular it allowed the government to increase the volume of issuance quickly in response to changed circumstances.

2.34 Also during 2008-09 the AOFM resumed issuance of treasury notes and followed a direction of the Treasurer to invest in residential mortgage-backed securities to support competition in lending for housing in Australia. The AOFM is

consulting with Treasury and the ABS on how to improve information about the owners, by country, of bonds while minimising any deterrent effect publishing such information could have on demand for the bonds which would increase borrowing costs.

2.35 The Committee commends the AOFM for including a compliance index in its report.

2.36 The AOFM appeared before the committee at Senate estimates hearings three times during 2008-09. The Committee suggests that references to such appearances before Senate committees should be included in future reports as these appearances are an important aspect of external scrutiny of government agencies.

4 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 103.

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P age 12

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

2.37 The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is the government's principle revenue collection agency. Its annual report describes 2008-09 as 'a year of empathy and vigilance' noting the impact of droughts, floods and bushfires as well as the economic downturn. The ATO was responsible for the tax bonus payments component of the

economic stimulus plan, the biggest single payment ever made through the tax system.

2.38 The Committee commends the ATO for the structure of its annual report, which provides both a simple 'at a glance’ summary at the start (including 'areas for improvement') and comprehensive details, including both a compliance index and a separate list covering its reporting requirements specified in 27 Acts and information

about interaction with parliamentary committees.5

Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT)

2.39 The IGT's annual report describes its completed reports on the causes and management of objections to Tax Office decisions, the administration of public binding advice and a review of non-lodgement. It also sets out the IGT's work programme for 2009-10.

2.40 The Committee commends the IGT for including a compliance index in its annual report.

Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC)

2.41 The CGC is a statutory authority with the goal of fiscal equalisation (i.e. providing state governments with the financial capacity to provide the same range and quality of services to their residents) through allocation of revenue from the Goods and Services Tax. Its annual report describes its major achievement for 2008-09 as preparation of the Report on State Revenue Sharing Relativities 2009

Update.

2.42 The annual report notes 'the Commission is subject to external scrutiny by bodies such as Parliamentary Committees.. Λ6 The Committee suggests that the CGC's annual report could be improved by including a specific compliance index.

Reserve Bank o f Australia (RBA)

2.43 The RBA's annual report discusses the impact of the global economic crisis, which led to the RBA reducing the cash rate six times, by a total of 425 basis points,

5 A minor point is that the ATO's appearance at Senate estimates hearings should appear under Economics Committee rather than Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit.

6 Commonwealth Grants Commission, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 12.

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Page 13

and adjusting its financial operations to help markets continue to function. There were intervention transactions in the foreign exchange market and the RBA responded to a surge in demand for banknotes. The government stimulus payments led to an increased volume of cheques. The RBA was also required to administer the Guarantee

Scheme for Large Deposits and Wholesale Funding. Valuation gains from the weaker Australian dollar led to an exceptionally large profit.

2.44 The RBA also produces separate annual reports on its equity and diversity programme and its payment systems board.

2.45 The Committee commends the RBA for consistently tabling its annual report well before the required deadline and for providing comprehensive details relating to parliamentary accountability. However, the Committee suggests that the RBA's report could be improved by including a compliance index.

Senator Annette Hurley Chair

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46

Appendix 1 Abbreviations

ABS

ACCC

ACT

AER

AIATSIS

AIMS

ANSTO

ARC

ASAC

ATO

CAC Act

CGC

COAG

CSIRO

DIISR

DRET

ERA

FIRB

FMA Act

IGT

IP

ENG

NCC

OPAL

RBA

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Australian Capital Territory

Australian Energy Regulator

Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Australian Institute of Marine Science

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

Australian Research Council

Australian Statistics Advisory Council

Australian Taxation Office

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997

Commonwealth Grants Commission

Council of Australian Governments

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism

Excellence in Research in Australia

Foreign Investment Review Board

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

Inspector-General of Taxation

Intellectual Property

Liquefied Natural Gas

National Competition Council

Open Pool Australian Lightwater

Reserve Bank of Australia

47

48

Appendix 2

Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Portfolio

List of annual reports tabled in the Senate during the period 1 May 2009 to 31 October 2009

Reporting Body Legislation Date of

transmittal letter

Date received Date tabled

Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (and IP Australia)

Public Service Act 1999 - sections 63(2) and 70(2) 1/10/09 28/10/09

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Science and Industry Research Act 1949

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 - section 9

10/09 13/10/09 26/10/09

Australian Institute Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Australian Institute o f Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Act 1989 - section 4

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 — section 9

7/9/09 28/10/09

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology· Organisation Act 1987 - section 29

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 — section 9

9/10/09 27/10/09

Australian Institute of Marine Science Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 -

section 9

11/9/09 27/10/09

Australian Research Council Australian Research Council Act 2001

Public Sei~vice Act 1999 subsection 63(2)

29/9/09 16/10/09 26/10/09

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50

Appendix 3

Resources, Energy and Tourism Portfolio

List of annual reports tabled in the Senate during the period 1 May 2009 to 31 October 2009

Reporting Body Legislation Date of

transmittal letter

Date received Date tabled

Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism

(including Geoscience Australia)

Public Sendee Act 1999 - section 63

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

15/10/09 27/10/09

National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority

Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 section 690

3/9/09 27/10/09

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 - section 49

Public Sendee Act 1999 - subsection 70

National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority Board

Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 section 690

13/10/09 27/10/09

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52

Appendix 4 Treasury Portfolio

List of annual reports tabled in the Senate during the period 1 May 2009 to 31 October 2009

Reporting Body Legislation Date of

transmittal letter

Date

received

Date tabled

Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Bureau o f Statistics Act 1975 -subsection 24(1)

Public Service Act 1999 — subsection 63(1)

2/8/09. 28/10/09

Australian Statistics Advisory Council Australian Bureau o f Statistics Act 1975 -subsection 24(2)

21/7/09 28/10/09

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission,

incorporating the Australian Energy Regulator

Trade Practices Act 1974 - sections 44AAJ and 171(1)

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

7/9/09 27/10/09

National Competition Council Trade Practices Act 1974 - section 290.

28/8/09 7/10/09 26/10/09

Australian Office of Financial Management

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 1/10/09 27/10/09

Australian Taxation Office Income Tax Assessment Act 1 9 3 6 -

section 14

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

Plus 25 other acts listed on pp 152-3 o f its annual report

8/10/09 28/10/09

Inspector-General of Taxation Inspector-General o f Taxation Act 2003 -

section 41 Financial Management and

18/9/09 27/10/09

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P age 22

Reporting Body Legislation Date of

transmittal letter

Date

received

Date tabled

Accountability Act 1997

Commonwealth Grants Commission Commonwealth Grants Commission Act 1973

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

1/9/09 27/10/09

Reserve Bank of Australia Resei've Bank Act 1959 — section 7

4/9/09 27/10/09

■ Payments System Board ■ Equity & Diversity annual

report

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 — section 9

No statutory requirement

Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987 - section 9

7/10/09

24/9/09

27/10/09

27/10/09

54

Appendix 5

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Portfolio1 Portfolio Minister Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

Senator the Hon Kim Carr

Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors and the Service Economy Minister Assisting the Finance Minister on Deregulation The Hon Dr Craig Emerson MP

Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation and Industry The Hon Richard Maries MP

Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Portfolio Secretary: Mr Mark I Paterson AO

Outcome 1: Enhanced opportunities for business innovation and growth through national leadership in converting knowledge and ideas into new processes, services, products and marketable devices; fostering business cooperation; delivering advice;

assistance; and business, measurement and online services.

Outcome 2: The generation, utilisation and awareness of science and research knowledge through investment in research, research training and infrastructure, science communication, skill development and collaboration with industry, universities and research institutes

domestically and internationally.

Agency - IP Australia Director General: Mr Philip Noonan

Outcome: Increased innovation, investment and trade in Australia, and by Australians overseas, through the administration of the registrable intellectual property rights system, promoting public awareness and

industry engagement, and advising government.

Agency - Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) Chief Executive Officer: Dr Adi Paterson

Outcome: Improved knowledge, innovative capacity and healthcare through nuclear-based facilities, research, training, products, services and advice to Government, industry, the education sector and the

Australian population.

Agency - Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Agency - Australian Research Council (ARC) Principal (CEO): Mr Russell Taylor Chief Executive Officer: Professor Margaret Sheil

Outcome: Further understanding of Australian Outcome: Growth of knowledge and innovation Indigenous cultures, past and present through · through managing research funding schemes, undertaking and publishing research, and providing measuring research excellence and providing access to print and audiovisual collections. advice.

Agency - Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Agency - Australian Institute of Marine Science Research Organisation (CSIRO) (AIMS)

Chief Executive Officer: Dr Megan Clark Chief Executive Officer: Dr Ian Poiner

Outcome: Innovative scientific and technology Outcome: Growth of knowledge to support protection solutions to national challenges and opportunities to and sustainable development of Australia’s marine benefit industry, the environment and the community, resources through innovative marine science and through scientific research and capability development, technology.

services and advice.

1 P ortfolio A dditional E stim ates Statem ents 2009-10, Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio, p. 4.

55

56

Appendix 6

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Resources, Energy and Tourism Portfolio'

Portfolio Minister

Minister for Resources and Energy

Minister for Tourism

The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

Outcome 1: Informed government, industry

and community decisions on the economic,

social and environmental management of

the nation's natural resources through

enabling access to geoscientific and spatial

information.

Geoscience Australia

Chief Executive Officer

Dr Neil Williams PSM

Outcome 1: Increase demand for Australia

as a destination, strengthen the travel

distribution system, and contribute to the

development of a sustainable tourism

industry through consumer marketing, trade

development and research activities.

Tourism Australia

Managing Director

Mr Andrew McEvoy

Outcome 1: To be reported in the 2010-11

Portfolio Budget Statements.

Australian Solar Institute

Executive Director

Mr Mark Twidell

Outcome T. An Australian oil and gas

industry that properly controls the health and

safety risks to the workforce and its offshore

petroleum operations.

National Offshore Petroleum Safety

Authority

Chief Executive Officer

Ms Jane Cutler

Outcome 1: The improved strength, competitiveness and

sustainability of the Resources, Energy and Tourism industries to

enhance Australia's prosperity through implementation of

government policy and programs.

Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism

Portfolio Secretary

Mr John Pierce

1 P ortfolio A dditional E stim ates Statem ents 2009-10, Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio, p. 6.

57

58

Appendix 7

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Treasury portfolio1

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Chairman: Dr John Laker

Enhanced public confidence in Australia's financial institutions through a framework of prudential regulation which balances financial safety and efficiency, competition, contestability and competitive neutrality

Australian Office of Financial Management Chief Executive Officer: Mr Neil Hyden

To enhance the Commonwealth’s capacity to manage its net debt portfolio, offering the prospect of savings in ________ debt servicing costs and an improvement in the net worth of the Commonwealth over time________

Australian Bureau of Statistics Statistician: Mr Brian Pink

Informed decisions, research and discussion within governments and the community by leading the collection, ___________ analysis and provision of high quality, objective and relevant statistical information___________

Commonwealth Grants Commission Secretary: Mr John Spasojevic

Informed Government decisions on fiscal equalisation between the States and Territories through advice and recommendations on the distribution of GST revenue and health care grants

Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee Convenor: Mr Richard St John

Informed decisions by Government on issues relating to corporations regulation and financial _________products, services and markets through independent and expert advice_________

Department of the Treasury Secretary: Dr Ken Henry AC

Informed decisions on the development and implementation of policies to improve the wellbeing of the Australian people, including by achieving strong, sustainable economic growth, through the provision of advice _______________ to government and the efficient administration of federal financial relations_______________

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman: Mr Graeme Samuel AO

Lawful competition, consumer protection, and regulated national infrastructure markets and services through regulation, including enforcement, education, price monitoring and determining ______________________ the terms of access to infrastructure services______________________

Australian Taxation Office Commissioner: Mr Michael D'Ascenzo

Confidence in the administration of aspects of Australia's taxation and superannuation systems through helping people understand their rights and obligations, improving ease of compliance and access ____________________to benefits, and managing non-compliance with the law___________________

Australian Securities and Investments Commission Chairman: Mr Tony D'Aloisio

Outcome 1: Improved confidence in financial market integrity and protection of investors and consumers through research, policy, education, compliance and deterrence that mitigates emerging risks Outcome 2: Streamlined and cost-effective interaction and access to information for business and the ________________public, through registry, licensing and business facilitation services_______________

Portfolio Minister - Treasurer The Hon Wayne Swan MR Assistant Treasurer Senator the Hon Nick Sherry

Minister for Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law The Hon Chris Bowen MR Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs _________________The Hon Dr Craig Emerson MR________________

1 P ortfolio B udget Statem ents 2009-10, Treasury portfolio, pp 4-5.

59

Inspector-General of Taxation Inspector-General: Mr All Noroozi

Improved tax administration through community consultation, review and independent advice to Government

Royal Australian Mint

Acting Chief Executive Officer: Mr Graham Smith

The coinage needs of the Australian economy, collectors and foreign countries are met through the manufacture and sale of circulating coins, collector coins and other minted like products

Office of the Australian Accounting Standards Board Chairman: Mr Kevin Stevenson

The formulation and making of accounting standards that are used by Australian entities to prepare ________ financial reports and enable users of these reports to make informed decisions________

National Competition Council President: Mr David Crawford

Competition in markets that are dependent on access to nationally significant monopoly infrastructure, through recommendations and decisions promoting the efficient operation of. use of and investment in infrastructure

Productivity Commission Chairman: Mr Gary Banks AO

Well-informed policy decision-making and public understanding on matters relating to Australia's productivity and living standards, based on independent and transparent analysis from a community-wide perspective

Office of the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board Chairman: Ms Merran Kelsall

The formulation and making of auditing and assurance standards that are used by auditors of Australian

_____________ entity financial reports or for other auditing and assurance engagements____________

60

The Senate

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010)

March 2010

© Commonwealth of Australia 2010

ISBN 978-1-74229-247-2

Printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra.

62

Senate Standing Committee on Education, Employment & Workplace Relations

Members

Senator Gavin Marshall, Chair Senator Michaelia Cash, Deputy Chair Senator Chris Back Senator Catryna Bilyk

Senator Jacinta Collins Senator Sarah Hanson-Young

Victoria, ALP

Western Australia, LP Western Australia, LP Tasmania, ALP Victoria, ALP

South Australia, AG

Secretariat

Dr Shona Batge, Secretary Ms. Katie Meyers, Research Officer Ms Kate Middleton, Executive Assistant

PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 3521 Fax: 02 6277 5706

E-mail: eewr.sen@aph.gov.au Internet: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/eet ctte/index.htm

iii 63

iv 64

Table of Contents

M em bership of the C o m m ittee.............................................................................. iii

C h ap ter 1 .................................................................................... 1

Introduction...............................................................................................................1

Terms of reference...................................................................................................1

Role of annual reports............................................................................................ 2

Annual reports referred........................................................................................... 2

Method of assessment............................................................................................. 3

Timeliness in tabling annual reports...................................................................... 3

General comments on reports................................................................................. 4

C hapter 2 ..................................................................................................................... 5

Review of annual reports......................................................................................... 5

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.......................5

Comcare.................................................................................................................11

Australian Industrial Relations Commission & Australian Industrial Registry... 12

Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority (Seacare)............ 14

Comments made in the Senate................................................ 15

Bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate.............................................. 15

A ppendix 1 ................................................................................................................. 17

Allocation of annual reports to the committee.................................................... 17

A ppendix 2 ................................................................................................................. 19

Compliance table of annual reports referred...................................................... 19

Appendix 3 21

Administrative Arrangements Order for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations............................................................... 21

66

Chapter 1

Introduction

1.1 This is the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee's (the committee) first report on annual reports for 2010. It provides an overview of the committee's examination of annual reports for the 2008-09 financial year.

Terms of reference

1.2 This report was prepared pursuant to Standing Order 25(20) relating to the consideration of annual reports by committees. The Standing Order states:

Annual reports of departments and agencies shall stand referred to the committees in accordance with an allocation of departments and agencies in a resolution of the Senate. Each committee shall:

(a) Examine each annual report referred to it and report to the Senate whether the report is apparently satisfactoiy.

(b) Consider in more detail, and report to the Senate on, each annual report which is not apparently satisfactory, and on the other annual reports which it selects for more detailed consideration.

(c) Investigate and report to the Senate on any lateness in the presentation of annual reports.

(d) In considering an annual report, take into account any relevant remarks about the report made in debate in the Senate.

(e) If the committee so determines, consider annual reports of departments and budget-related agencies in conjunction with examination of estimates.

(f) Report on annual reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year, and on annual reports tabled by 30 April each year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year.

(g) Draw to the attention of the Senate any significant matters relating to the operations and performance of the bodies furnishing the annual reports.

(h) Report to the Senate each year whether there are any bodies which do not present annual reports to the Senate and which should present such reports.1 *

Amended 24 August 1994, 13 February 1997, 11 November 1998, 3 December 1998, 13 Februaiy 2002, 19 November 2002, 14 August 2006: with effect from 11 September 2006, 13 May 2009: with effect on 14 May 2009.

67

2

Role of annual reports

1.3 Annual reports place a great deal of information about government departments and agencies on the public record. Accordingly, the tabling of annual reports is an important element of accountability to Parliament, assisting in the effective examination of the performance of departments and agencies, and the administration of government programs.

Annual reports referred

1.4 In accordance with Senate Standing Order 25(20)(f) this report examines those annual reports tabled between 1 May 2009 and 31 October 2009. The committee examined the reports of the:

Departmental reports

• Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

Departmental bodies

• Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission

Prescribed agencies (under FMA Act)

• Australian Industrial Relations Commission and Australian Industrial Registry

• Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority (Seacare)

Commonwealth authorities (under the CAC Act)

• Australian National University

• Comcare

Commonwealth companies under the CAC Act

• Australian Learning and Teaching Council (formerly known as The Carrick Institute)

• Teaching Australia-Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership Limited

Reports on legislation

• Report to the Commonwealth, made under Section 24 of the Air Passenger Ticket Levy (Collection) Act 2001, for the period 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009.

1.5 The tabling dates of these reports are listed at Appendix 2. Details of all annual reports falling within the purview of the committee are set out at Appendix 1.

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3

Method of assessment

1.6 Senate Standing Orders require the committee to examine the annual reports referred to it to determine whether they are timely and ‘apparently satisfactory’. In making this assessment, the committee considers whether the reports comply with the relevant requirements for the preparation of annual reports of departments and

authorities.

1.7 The requirements are set down in the following instruments:

• for portfolio departments: the Public Service Act 1999, sections 63(2) and 70(2), and the Requirements for Departmental Annual Report, for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, revised June 2008;

• for Commonwealth authorities and companies: the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, in particular sections 9, 36 and 48; and

• for non-statutory bodies: the guidelines are contained in the Government response to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration Report on Non-Statutory bodies, Senate Hansard, 8 December 1987, pp 2643-45.

Timeliness in tabling annual reports

1.8 Standing Order 25(20)(c) requires the committee to report to the Senate on the late presentation of annual reports.

1.9 Annual reports must be tabled in Parliament by 31 October each year, except where an agency's own legislation specifies a timeframe for its annual report.2 Those agencies reporting under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 are required to provide their annual reports to the minister by the 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the financial year. Where the financial year ends on 30 June,

this deadline translates to 15 October.3

1.10 The committee recognises that some agencies are required to comply with other timeframes stipulated in their enabling legislation, such as 'as soon as practicable after 30 June'. Nonetheless, the committee reminds all agencies that the government considers it best practice for annual reports to be tabled by 31 October each year.

1.11 The committee notes that the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) was granted an extension for the tabling of its annual report for 2008-09 by the Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. In accordance with Subsection 34C(6) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901,

Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, p. 1.

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, section 9.

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4

the Minister tabled notification of a delayed presentation of the ACARA Annual Report 2008-09 on 26 October 2009. ACARA was established under the ACARA Act 2008 on 8 December 2008, but was not operational until the appointment of its board members in May 2009. Despite being operational only from May 2009, the

Australian Government Solicitor informed ACARA that it would have to report for the 2008-09 financial year, with the key trigger for the reporting obligation being the establishment of ACARA in December 2008. ACARA determined that its annual report would not be finalised in time for tabling, after receiving advice from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) explaining that an audit of its financial

statements would not be able to occur within the needed timeframe. The committee will examine the ACARA Annual Report 2008-09 in its second report for 2010.

1.12 The committee notes that a number of annual reports under its purview were not received by the 31 October deadline in order to be reported on in the committee's Report on Annul Reports (1 o f 2010). The reports of the following bodies will be examined in the committee's Report on Annual Reports (2 o f 2010):

• Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

• Australian Fair Pay Commission

• Australian Fair Pay Commission Secretariat

• Australian Vocational Education and Training System-Report for 2008

• Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation

• Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal

• Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

• Remuneration Tribunal

• Schools Assistance (Learning Together-Achievement Through Choice and Opportunity) Act 2004-Report on financial assistance granted to each state in respect of 2008

• Skills Australia

• Workplace Authority

• Workplace Ombudsman.

General comments on reports

1.13 The committee has found, under the terms of standing order 25(20), that all reports described here are apparently satisfactory. In making this assessment, the committee considers aspects such as the timeliness of presentation and compliance with relevant reporting requirements.

70

Chapter 2

Review of annual reports

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

2.1 The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) Annual Report for 2008-09 was presented to the President, pursuant to Standing Order 166, and was tabled on 27 October 2009.

2.2 As required under the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's annual reporting guidelines, DEEWR's annual report provides information on corporate governance, internal and external scrutiny, management of human resources, purchasing, assets management, consultancies, advertising and market research activities, discretionary grants, freedom of information, occupational health and

safety, the Commonwealth Disability Strategy and ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance.

Departmental overview

2.3 The effect of the global recession on the work of the department was discussed in the Secretary's overview. The Secretary noted:

The year commenced with policies and strategies designed to grapple with a skills shortage but by September the uncertainty caused by the collapse of international financial markets demanded swift action from the government to respond to a crisis threatening Australian jobs. DEEWR had a central role in implementing government responses to keep Australia working

throughout the downturn.1

2.4 As part of the government's $42 billion Nation Building - Economic Stimulus Plan, it was announced on 3 February 2009 that DEEWR would implement the Building the Education Revolution program. The committee notes that by the end of the financial year a total of 20 696 infrastructure projects valued at $11.27 billion had been approved, with the Secretary commenting that the roll-out of the program was

'an excellent demonstration of the department's responsiveness'.1 2 Although the Building the Education Revolution program formed a large part of the Stimulus Plan, DEEWR also implemented other aspects of the stimulus package. The Jobs and

Training Compact was introduced with the aim of responding to the economic downturn by investing in skills in order to meet long-term needs.

2.5 In August 2008, the department was restructured to align the organisational structure with the government's participation, productivity and social inclusion

1 DEEWR, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 2.

2 DEEWR, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 2.

71

6

agenda, and to enhance its strategic policy capability. As a result of the restructure, DEEWR now reports against five outcomes. However, as the Annual Report 2008-09 is based on the 2008-09 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS), the department's performance is reported against the nine outcomes that existed prior to this change.

2.6 The overview of the annual report also provides information on a number of achievements made in different policy areas by the department. Some developments for the 2008-09 financial year are listed below:

Workplace Relations:

• The passage of the Fair Work Act (2009) through Parliament on

19 March 2009 represented a major milestone for DEEWR, with the department assisting the government's consultation process.

• The passing of the legislation also resulted in the creation of Fair Work Australia, comprising two bodies: a tribunal, Fair Work Australia, and the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman.

• DEEWR continued to take steps towards a national approach to occupational health and safety, work which will continue into 2009-10.

Higher Education:

• The department provided secretariat support for the review of the Australian higher education sector, led by Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley AC.

Education Revolution:

• For the reporting period, DEEWR continued to progress aspects of the government's Education Revolution, including the Digital Education Revolution. As at June 2009, 1864 schools were assisted with the purchase of over 176 000 computers.

• According to the annual report, new Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreements created significant workload for the department. During the financial year, DEEWR worked with states and territories on a range of COAG initiatives in the areas of education, early childhood development,

skills and workforce development.

• DEEWR also worked with state and territory governments in order to establish Trade Training Centres. The aim of the centres is to increase the proportion of students achieving Year 12 or equivalent qualifications and to help address skill shortages in traditional trades and emerging industries. In 2008-09, a total of 432 schools were funded to build new or refurbish existing trade or vocational education training facilities.

• The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) was established during the reporting period. ACARA absorbed the functions of the National Curriculum Board and undertook consultation with the education sector to develop a national curriculum in the key learning areas of English, mathematics, science and history.

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7

Early Childhood:

• During the financial year, DEEWR worked with state and territory governments to develop the National Early Childhood Development Strategy. In addition, the department continued to work on the Early Years Learning Framework and a National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education

and Care.

• DEEWR also established a Child Care Industry Taskforce that assisted in the management of the administration process of ABC Learning centres.

'Closing the Gap

• During the reporting period, DEEWR undertook a review of its organisational capacity to deliver objectives relating to closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage. Indigenous policy branches were placed in each of the department's main business clusters, and a small group was established with the purpose of acting in a whole-of-portfolio leadership capacity to deliver the

objectives.

Social inclusion and participation:

• DEEWR commenced the first stage of the Family-centred Employment Project, a community engagement exercise that began in early 2009 in three locations. Findings from the first stage assisted the second part of the exercise—the development of different approaches to service delivery for

disadvantaged families.

Report on performance

2.7 The DEEWR Annual Report 2008-09 analyses the performance of the department by outcome. Key achievements of each section are listed, as well as the key priorities of the financial year and an outlook for the year ahead.

2.8 A major challenge for the department during the reporting period was the collapse of the ABC Learning centres. ABC Learning went into voluntary administration and receivership on 6 November 2008. DEEWR assisted government in responding to the insolvency 'in such a way as to minimise the impact on parents, children and employees at the ABC centres'.3

2.9 During the reporting period, changes were made to the schools funding framework. Since 1 January 2009, Commonwealth contribution to government school funding has been allocated through the National Education Association (NEA), with

the aim of 'giving state and territory governments the flexibility to allocate Commonwealth funding to areas which they believe will produce the best outcomes

3 DEEWR, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 25.

8

for their students'.4 5 Previously, Commonwealth funding was provided to states and territories and non-government schools and systems under the Schools Assistance (Learning Together— Achievement through Choice and Opportunity) Act 2004. Funding for non-government schools is now provided under the Schools Assistance Act 2008 which came into effect on 1 January 2009.

2.10 The National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP) commenced on 1 January 2009 in support of the government goal of ensuring at least 12 per cent of Year 12 students will graduate with a fluency in Mandarin, Japanese,

Indonesian or Korean by 2020. According to the Annual Report 2008-09, community support for the program is strong, with more than 680 schools submitting applications for grants under Round One of Becoming Asia Literate: Grants to Schools. Furthermore, 117 expressions of interest were received for Round One of the Strategic

Collaboration and Partnership Fund.3

2.11 A number of effectiveness indicators for Outcome 4 relate to student participation in VET, apprenticeships and employment outcomes. From 2006 to 2008, the number of VET students undertaking higher level qualifications (Certificate IV,

diploma or advanced diploma) increased by 4 per cent, although the 2008 participation levels are 8 per cent lower than what they were in 2002. However, the number of VET students obtaining Certificate III qualifications increased by 36 per

cent between 2002 and 2008. The committee notes that the number of Indigenous students successfully completing apprenticeships has increased consistently since 2002. According to the Annual Report 2008-09, the number of apprenticeships

completed in 2008 was 69 per cent above the 2002 levels. Moreover, the gap between Indigenous and other apprentices completing Certificate III qualifications has halved since 2002-2004, from 21-22 percentage points to 11 percentage points.6 The committee also notes that the number of apprenticeship commencements during the

financial year was 11 902 more than what was estimated.7

2.12 In determining the effectiveness of the government's international education agenda, DEEWR examines trends in areas such as the level of national income and employment generated by the international education sector. The Annual Report 2008-09 quotes a 2009 Access Economics report which estimated that the international education sector generated over 122 000 full-time employment positions in Australia in 2007-08. This figure is significantly higher than previous estimates; Curtin University estimated that international education generated more than 46 000 jobs in 2003. The committee notes that, for the 2008 calendar year, international

4 DEEWR, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 51.

5 DEEWR, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 58.

6 DEEWR, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 101-103.

7 DEEWR, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 104.

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student enrolments in Australia stood at 543 898—a 20.7 per cent increase on enrolments in 2007.8

2.13 During the reporting period, a number of reforms were made to the employment services industry. A new national employment service, Job Services Australia, commenced on 1 July 2009 after DEEWR conducted a consultation process in 2008. According to DEEWR, a key feature of Job Services Australia is the

provision of services in line with the job seeker's assessed level of disadvantage. DEEWR established a Transition Reference Group to assist with the transition to Job Services Australia. Another reform was the creation of the Jobs Fund, a government initiative aimed at creating jobs and promoting skill development through projects

'that build community infrastructure and social capital in local communities'. The fund is a discretionary grants program that began on 1 July 2009, and will include three streams: Local Jobs, Get Communities Working and Infrastructure Employment Projects. The Jobs Fund will be complete on 30 June 2011.9

Management and accountability

2.14 The committee notes that, compared with 2007-08, DEEWR experienced significant increases in parliamentary workflow during the reporting period. The number of Senate Estimates questions on notice responded to by DEEWR increased by 194 per cent and the number of answers to parliamentary questions on notice tabled

by the department increased by 1125 per cent. Although the 2007 federal election would have impacted on the workflow of DEEWR during 2007-08, such an increase is still noteworthy.10 1 1

2.15 The committee commends DEEWR for the comprehensive environmental analysis in its Annual Report 2008-09. The report lists the contribution made by each departmental outcome to ecologically sustainable development, and explores the measures taken to minimise the department's impact on the environment. DEEWR has developed a range of targets and action plans to reduce its impact in areas such as energy, water, air travel, paper usage, vehicle fleet and waste management.11

Human resources

2.16 DEEWR conducted its first staff survey in early 2009, with 76 per cent of staff responding to the electronic survey. Results of the survey indicated that employee engagement is high, with the department ranking above the benchmark average in all question categories.12

8 DEEWR, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 127.

9 DEEWR, Annual Report 2008-09. pp 198-199.

10 DEEWR, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 252.

11 DEEWR, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 286.

12 DEEWR, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 260.

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External scrutiny and reports by the Auditor-General

2.17 During 2008-09, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) tabled five reports relating to the operations of DEEWR.13 One report— The Business Partnership Agreement between the Department o f Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and Centre link—examined the purchaser-provider arrangements

DEEWR has with Centrelink. DEEWR administers employment services in accordance with the Social Security Act 1991 and government policy through a business partnership agreement (BPA) with Centrelink. The report found that the partnership between DEEWR and Centrelink could be strengthened, and that DEEWR

and Centrelink could make improvements to key administrative areas under the BPA. In response, DEEWR stated:

For the most part, DEEWR agrees with the ANAO and in collaboration with Centrelink has already made progress in implementing its recommendations. DEEWR notes that while the service delivery under the BPA was occurring effectively before this performance audit, the

Department is always ready to address potential improvements to business practices to ensure that services continue to be delivered to the highest possible standards.14 1 5

2.18 DEEWR also commented on the timeliness of the report, stating that its recommendations would inform the development of a new BPA between DEEWR and Centrelink, which was scheduled to occur on 1 July 2009.'"

Conclusion

2.19 The committee considers DEEWR's 2008-09 annual report to be well presented and in compliance with the reporting requirements of a Commonwealth department. In Annual Reports (No 1. O f2009), the committee recommended the use of a compliance index in departmental annual reports in order to assist in demonstrating compliance with reporting requirements. The committee commends DEEWR for its use of a compliance index in the Annual Report 2008-09.

13 Audit Report No.4 2008-09, The Business Partnership Agreement between the Department o f Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and Centrelink; Audit Report No.7 2008-09. Centrelink's Tip-off System; Audit Report No. 11 2008-09, Disability Employment Services; Audit Report No. 17 2008-09, Administration o f Job Network Outcome Payments; and Audit Report No.45 2008-09, Funding for Non-government Schools.

14 ANAO Report No. 4, 2008-09, The Business Partnership Agreement between the Department o f Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and Centrelink, p. 28.

15 ANAO Report No. 4, 2008-09, The Business Partnership Agreement between the Department o f Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and Centrelink, p. 28.

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Comcare

2.20 The Director's review that opens the annual report commented on the success of the Comcare scheme in achieving a low rate of injury during the previous five years. The committee notes that the number of claims received and accepted has reduced by 23 per cent since 2002-2003, a reduction that according to the Director's review places Comcare in good stead to meet the National Occupational Health and

Safety (OHS) Strategy target of a 40 per cent reduction in serious injury and disease claims by 30 June 2012. The committee notes that the expansion of the Comcare scheme has resulted in the number of Comcare investigators trebling since 2004-05.16

2.21 Although Comcare's approach to safety regulation emphasises prevention, Comcare has a wide range of enforcement powers under federal law to deal with OHS breaches. Enforcement actions are listed in the annual report, and in the reporting period Comcare pursued a number of civil court proceedings. A focus for Comcare during the reporting period was OHS issues in remote workplaces. Compliance assistance teams who visited these workplaces reported workplace culture to be an

area of interest. According to the annual report, participants in the program reported that the increasing number of unskilled workers in remote workplaces presented challenges in promoting a safe working culture. Further concern was voiced over the

existence of 'unsafe work practices and poor behaviours, such as drug and alcohol misuse'.17 Several key learning outcomes were developed from the site visits, with Comcare indicating that future workplace presentations may target the workplace safety culture framework.18

2.22 Comcare's Annual Report 2008-09 includes a number of changes to the way in which performance for the reporting period is scrutinised. Rather than reporting against performance indicators, the Annual Report 2008-09 utilises output level indicators from the Portfolio Budget Statements. Comcare explained that this style of reporting 'ensures increased transparency and allows the reader to see clear links between the performance targets set out in the PBS and Comcare's performance

outcomes and achievements'.19 2 0 The Comcare Annual Report 2008-09 clearly reports against outputs as listed in the PBS in an easier to read table style, as suggested by the annual reporting guidelines issued by the Department of the Prime Minister Cabinet.'0 Furthermore, where variances exist between the performance targets and actual performance results, an explanation is given as to why this has occurred. Such an

16 Comcare, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 5.

17 Comcare, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 45.

18 Comcare, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 41 & pp 44-45.

19 Comcare, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 30.

20 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports-for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, updated 17 June 2009, p. 5. Available at: www.dpmc.gov.au/guidelines/index.cfm

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addition assists the reader with interpreting agency performance, while also increasing the overall readability of the report.

2.23 A cross-agency AN AO audit report on green office procurement and sustainable office management found that Comcare had taken a number of actions to improve environmental performance. The audit found that Comcare had significantly improved it reporting of environmental performance in its annual reports, an improvement also noted by the committee in its Annual Reports (No. 1 o f 2009)." Environmental analysis in Comcare's Annual Report 2008-09 was comprehensive, and also incorporated ANAO suggestions as to how environmental and sustainability performance could be strengthened.

2.24 Overall the committee finds the Comcare report to be apparently satisfactory in meeting the reporting requirements under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997. Furthermore, the committee commends Comcare for including a compliance index in the annual report—an addition the committee encouraged in previous Animal Reports.

Australian Industrial Relations Commission & Australian Industrial Registry

2.25 The 2008-09 annual reports of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) and the Australian Industrial Registry (AIR) will be the last full-year annual reports from these agencies. The transfer of functions of the AIRC and AIR to Fair Work Australia will mean that the annual reports for 2009-10 will be the final annual reports, covering the period between 1 July 2009 and 31 December

2009.

2.26 The AIRC Annual Report 2008-09 reported that the level of industrial action for 2008-09 remained relatively low, consistent with recent years. Issues relating to termination of employment constituted a significant portion of the AIRC workload for the reporting period. The number of applications for a remedy in relation to termination of employment increased by more than 30 per cent, with the total number

of applications the highest since 2000-01. The AIRC suggested that, due to the global economic crisis, it is likely that employers have responded to market conditions by reducing labour costs. Moreover, the AIRC commented that 'it is likely that the rising unemployment rate is providing an additional incentive to challenge a termination of employment which is perceived to be unfair'. 2 1 22 Of all applications lodged, 41 per cent allege the termination was harsh, unjust or unfair; 21 per cent argue the termination of employment was unlawful; and 33 per cent allege the termination was

21 ANAO Report No. 28, 2008-09, Green Office Procurement and Sustainable Office Management, p. 130; Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee, Annual Reports (No 1. O f2009), p. 11.

22 Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC), Annual Report 2008-09, p. 7.

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both unfair and unlawful. The committee notes that the majority of termination applications were filed in Victoria.23

2.27 The AIRC continued the award modernisation process during the reporting period, which was to be completed by December 2009 when the AIRC would cease operation. The modernisation process was divided into four stages, each allocated a specific number of industries and occupations. During 2008-09, the AIRC completed the first two stages of the process. The first stage, known as the Priority Stage,

consisted of 11 industries and occupations including mining, manufacturing, retail and hospitality. A full bench of the commission assigned to the award modernisation process decided to make 17 priority modem awards in this category. Stage 2 of the process comprised 11 industry groups including health and welfare services, building and private transport. Of this category, the full bench made 27 modem awards and varied two of the modem awards.24 2 5 _

2.28 The AIRC Information Line played a significant role in the client service function of the AIR. During the reporting period, the quantity and complexity of inquiries to the AIRC Information Line increased significantly. According to the AIR Annual Report 2008-09, calls to the hotline came from clients seeking more

specialised assistance, information, advice and referral options. As a result, AIR staff were required to have a greater understanding of the Workplace Relations Act, as well as the roles and functions of external agencies. A total of 42 400 inquiries were made through the infomiation line, 90 per cent of which were from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. More than 80 per cent of inquiries related to temiination of

employment claims.23

2.29 At the end of the 2008-09 financial year, staffing levels were 27 per cent higher than at the same time in 2007-08. According to the Annual Report 2008-09, 25 staff were brought onboard as unfair dismissal conciliators and support staff in preparation for Fair Work Australia functions.26 Expenditure on consultancies more

than doubled in 2008-09, with the AIR spending a total of $616 020 during the reporting period, compared with $241 792 for the previous financial year. A contract for website design and development for Fair Work Australia constituted more than half of the total expenditure.27

2.30 The committee finds the annual reports of the AIRC and the AIR to be apparently satisfactory in meeting reporting requirements. The reports are well presented and informative, including detailed accounts of significant cases that took place during the reporting period.

23 Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC), Annual Report 2008-09, pp 8-9.

24 Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC), Annual Report 2008-09, p. 13.

25 Australian Industrial Registry (AIR), Annual Report 2008-09, p. 72.

26 Australian Industrial Registry (AIR), Annual Report 2008-09, p. 86.

27 Australian Industrial Registry (AIR), Annual Report 2008-09, p. 95.

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Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority (Seacare)

2.31 The Seacare Authority is a statutory body established under the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992. The Seacare Authority oversees the operation of the Seafarers Act and the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993. Both these acts provide workers' compensation, rehabilitation and

occupational health and safety regimes for certain seafarers involved in the maritime industry. Comcare provides Seacare with secretariat support and other assistance, as Seacare does not have its own staff. The Seacare function is separately listed an output in Comcare's Portfolio Budget Statements. In 2008-09, the Seacare output was output 5 — Provides support to the Seafarers Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority. A number of annual reporting requirements relating to the Seacare function,

such as corporate governance and management of human resources, are detailed in the Comcare annual report.

2.32 The Seafarers Act establishes a compensation and rehabilitation scheme for seafarers injured in the course of their employment on ships engaged in interstate, intra-territorial and international trade or commerce. During the 2008-09 financial

year, there were three work-related fatalities in the scheme, despite the Seacare scheme recording no work-related fatalities for the previous fourteen years. Two of the fatalities are under the jurisdiction of the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993 and are subject to investigation by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), while the third is under the Offshore Petroleum

and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006 and is subject to investigation by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA). The Seacare Chairperson remarked that any fatality in the scheme is unacceptable, and that Seacare 'will be looking at the findings from the respective investigations to see if there are any lessons that can be

disseminated to the jurisdiction'.28 An increase in injury incidence rates was also recorded for the 2008-09 financial year. The Seacare scheme reported an injury incidence rate of 30.9 compared to 28.9 in 2007-08. This is the first increase in three years. As a result, the Chairperson indicated that the scheme is now outside the rate needed to meet the National OHS Strategy 2002-12 target of a 40 per cent reduction

in injury incidence over ten years.29

2.33 The committee notes that the reporting of consultancy contracts could be improved by adopting a template recommended in the annual reporting guidelines issued by the Department of the Prime Minister Cabinet. Although Seacare provide a description of each consultancy contract issued during the reporting period, the

readability of this could be improved. While the cost of each consultancy is listed, the total expenditure for the year is not immediately clear. Furthermore, it is unclear how many (if any) consultancy contracts are continuations from the previous financial

28 Seacare, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 5.

29 Seacare, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 5.

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year. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet recommend that in order to maintain consistency amongst annual reports, all agencies should include a statement similar to:

During 2008-09, XX new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual expenditure of $A million. In addition, YY ongoing consultancy contacts were active during the 2008-09 year, involving total actual expenditure of $B million.30

2.34 Including such information in future reports will ensure that consultancy reporting adheres to reporting requirements. The committee suggests that future consultancy reporting be similar to that of Comcare, in order to maintain consistency. Overall, the committee considers the Seacare Annual Report 2008-09 to be well presented, informative, and apparently satisfactory in meeting the reporting requirements of a statutory agency under the FMA Act.

Comments made in the Senate

2.35 The committee is obliged, under Senate Standing Order 25(20)(d), to consider any remarks made about these reports in the Senate. The committee is satisfied that there were no comments to consider for these reports.

Bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate

2.36 The committee is required to report to the Senate each year on whether there are any bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate which should. The committee is satisfied that there are no such bodies.

Senator Gavin Marshall

Chair

30 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports-for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, updated 17 June 2009, p. 11. Available at: www.dpmc.gov.au/guidelines/index.cfm

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Allocation of annual reports to the committee Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

« Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

Education

• Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

• Australian Vocational and Further Education and Training System

• Indigenous education and training—National report to Parliament

• Australian National University

• Australian Learning and Teaching Council [formerly the Carrick Institute]

• Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

• Higher Education Report [calendar year]

• Schools Assistance (Learning Together—Achievement Through Choice and Opportunity) Act 2004—Report on financial assistance granted to each state in respect of .

• States Grants (Primary and Secondary Education Assistance) Act 2000— Financial assistance granted to States in respect of

• Teaching Australia: Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership Limited

Employment and Workplace Relations

• Air Passenger Ticket Levy (Collection) Act 2001

• Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

• Australian Fair Pay Commission and Australian Fair Pay Commission Secretariat

• Australian Industrial Relations Commission and Australian Industrial Registry

• Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation

• Comcare Australia

• Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal1

• Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations— Agreement making under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 *

Appendix 1

Forwarded to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee also.

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• Remuneration Tribunal

• Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission

• Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority (Seacare)

• Skills Australia

• Workplace Authority

• Workplace Ombudsman

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Compliance table of annual reports referred

List of annual reports referred by the Senate to the committee during the period 1 May 2009 to 31 October 2009

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio

Appendix 2

Body/Report Enabling legislation and timeliness Letter of

Transmittal Date

Tabled

Australian Industrial Relations Commission and °° Australian Industrial Registry-Reports for 2008­ 2009

Workplace Relations Act 1996 25/09/2009 27/10/2009

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership Limited(Teaching Australia)-Report for 2008-2009

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997

Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)

01/10/2009 27/10/2009

Australian Learning and Teaching Council Limited-Report for 2008-2009 Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997

14/09/2008 27/10/2009

Comcare—Report for 2008-2009 Commonwealth A uthorities and Companies Act 1997 22/09/2009 27/10/2009

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations- Report for 2008-2009 Public Service Act 1999 2/10/2009 27/10/2009

Administrative Arrangements Order for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations [Extract from the Administrative Arrangements Order, made on 25 January 2008]

Appendix 3

PART 6 THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS

Matters dealt with by the Department

• Education policy and programs including schools, vocational, higher education and Indigenous education, but excluding migrant adult education

• Education and training transitions policy and programs

• Science awareness programs in schools

• Training, including apprenticeships and training services

• Policy, co-ordination and support for education exports and services

• Income support policies and programs for students and apprentices

• Employment policy, including employment services

• Job Network

• Labour market and income support policies and programs for people of working age

• Workplace relations policy development, advocacy and implementation

• Promotion of flexible workplace relations policies and practices

• Co-ordination of labour market research

• Australian government employment workplace relations policy, including administration of the framework for agreement making and remuneration and conditions

• Occupational health and safety, rehabilitation and compensation

• Equal employment opportunity

• Work and family programs

• Services to help people with disabilities obtain employment, other than supported employment

• Youth affairs and programs

• Early childhood and childcare policy and programs

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The Senate

Environment, Communications and the Arts Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010)

March 2010

89

© Commonwealth of Australia 2010

ISBN 978-1-74229-248-9

This document was printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra

90

Membership of the Committee

Members Senator Anne McEwen (ALP, SA) (Chair) Senator Mary Jo Fisher (LP, SA) (Deputy Chair) Senator Scott Ludlam (AG, WA)

Senator Kate Lundy (ALP, ACT) Senator the Hon Judith Troeth (LP, VIC) Senator Dana Wortley (ALP, SA)

Committee Secretariat Mr Stephen Palethorpe, Secretary Ms Jacquie Hawkins, Research Officer

Committee Address Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

Tel·. 02 6277 3526

Fax'. 02 6277 5818

Email· eca.sen@aph.gov.au

Internet', www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/eca_ctte/index.htm

iii

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Contents

Membership of the Committee iii

Report to the Senate

Introduction 1

Annual reporting requirements 1

Apparently satisfactory 2

Purpose of annual reports 3

Reports referred to the committee 3

Departments and executive and prescribed agencies 3

Statutory authorities 3

Non-statutory body 4

Government business enterprises 4

Commonwealth companies 4

Reports on the operation of Acts 4

Other 5

Timeliness 5

Remarks made in the Senate 6

Comments on certain annual reports 6

Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 6

Australian Broadcasting Corporation 8

Special Broadcasting Service 9

Australian Communications and Media Authority 9

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 10

Bureau of Meteorology 11

National Water Commission 12

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National Film and Sound Archive 12

Screen Australia 12

General comments 13

Summary 13

Appendix 1 - Annual reports referred to the committee 15

vi 94

Report to the Senate

Introduction

1.1 By virtue of the operations of standing order 25(20) and a Senate order of 12 February 2008,1 the Senate refers to this committee for examination and report the annual reports of departments and agencies of the following two portfolios:

• Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy; and

• Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.

1.2 Standing order 25(20) requires that the committee shall:

(a) Examine each annual report referred to it and report to the Senate whether the report is apparently satisfactory.

(b) Consider in more detail, and report to the Senate on, each annual report which is not apparently satisfactory, and on the other annual reports which it selects for more detailed consideration.

(c) Investigate and report to the Senate on any lateness in the presentation of annual reports.

(d) In considering an annual report, take into account any relevant remarks about the report made in debate in the Senate.

(e) If the committee so determines, consider annual reports of departments and budget-related agencies in conjunction with examination of estimates.

(f) Report on annual reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year, and on annual reports tabled by 30 April each year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year.

(g) Draw to the attention of the Senate any significant matters relating to the operations and performance of the bodies furnishing the annual reports.

(h) Report to the Senate each year whether there are any bodies which do not present annual reports to the Senate and which should present such reports.

1.3 This report deals with annual reports tabled in the Senate or presented to the President between 1 May and 31 October 2009 as required by standing order 25(20)(f).

Annual reporting requirements

1.4 On 17 June 2009 the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) agreed to revised Requirements for Departmental Annual Reports put forward by the

1 Journals o f the Senate, No. 1, 12 February 2008, pp 10-11.

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Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (the Requirements).2 3 The Requirements are prepared pursuant to subsections 63(2) and 70(2) of the Public Service Act 1999.

1.5 Under the Requirements, annual reports of departments and executive and prescribed agencies are to be tabled by 31 October. If a department is unable to meet this deadline, an extension of time to report can be sought under the provisions of subsections 34C(4)-(7) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 ? These provisions provide

for the departmental secretary to advise the responsible minister of the reasons for the slippage. The responsible minister is to table this explanation in the Parliament on the next available sitting day.

1.6 Under section 48 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act), the Minister for Finance and Deregulation outlines the annual reporting requirements for Commonwealth authorities and companies in the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders. Section 9 of the CAC Act

applies to Commonwealth authorities and specifies the deadline for the presentation of an annual report to the responsible Minister. Section 36 of the CAC Act outlines the reporting obligations of Commonwealth companies.

1.7 Some statutory authorities are required to follow the departmental guidelines if their head has the powers of a secretary as defined under the Public Sendee Act 1999.

1.8 Requirements for the annual reports of non-statutory bodies are set out in the Government Response to recommendations of the then Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations in its report entitled, Reporting Requirements for the Annual Reports o f Non-Statutory Bodies. The response was incorporated into the

Senate Hansard of 8 December 1987.4

Apparently satisfactory

1.9 The terms of standing order 25(20)(a) require the committee to report to the Senate on whether annual reports are apparently satisfactory. In making this assessment, the committee considers such aspects as timeliness of presentation and compliance with relevant reporting requirements.

2 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, Canberra, 17 June 2009 accessed at: www.dpmc.gov.au/guidelines/index.cfm.

3 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, Canberra, 17 June 2009, p. 2.

4 Official Senate Hansard, 8 December 1987, pp 2643M5.

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Purpose of annual reports

1.10 As stated in the Requirements, the primary purpose of annual reports of departments is accountability, in particular to the Parliament.3 They inform the Parliament, other stakeholders, education and research institutions, the media and the general public about departments' performance in providing services. They are a key reference as well as an internal management document and form part of the historical record.

Reports referred to the committee

1.11 The following annual reports have been referred to the committee:

Departments and executive and prescribed agencies

Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - Annual Report 2008-09

Department of the Enviromnent, Water, Heritage and the Arts - Annual Report 2008-09 and Legislation Annual Reports 2008-09 including reports on the operation of the:

. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999; • Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000; • Hazardous Waste (Regulation o f Exports and Imports) Act 1989; • Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989;

• Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000; • Protection o f Moveable Cultural Heritage Act 1986; • Water Act 2007; and . Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts - Annual Report 2007-08 - Corrigendum, Volume 2

Bureau of Meteorology - Annual Report 2008-09

National Water Commission - Annual Report 2008-09

Statutory authorities

Australia Council - Annual Report 2008-09

Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Annual Report 2008-09

Australian Communications and Media Authority - Annual Report 2008-09

Australian Film Television and Radio School - Annual Report 2008-09

Australian National Maritime Museum - Annual Report 2008-09 5

5 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, 17 June 2009, p. 3.

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Director of National Parks - Annual Report 2008-09

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Annual Report 2008-09

National Film & Sound Archive - Annual Report 2008-09

National Gallery of Australia - Annual Report 2008-09

National Library of Australia - Annual Report 2008-09

National Museum of Australia - Annual Report 2008-09

Natural Heritage Trust - Annual Report 2006-07

Screen Australia - Annual Report 2008-09

Special Broadcasting Service - Annual Report 2008-09

Supervising Scientist - Annual Report 2008-09

Sydney Harbour Federation Trust - Annual Report 2008-09

Wet Tropics Management Authority - Annual Report 2008-09

Non-statutory body

Public Lending Right Committee - Annual Report 2008-09

Government business enterprises

Australian Postal Corporation (Australia Post) - Annual Report 2008-09

Australian Postal Corporation (Australia Post) Statement of Corporate Intent 2009/10-2011/12

NBN Co Limited - Annual Report for the period 9 April to 30 June 2009

Commonwealth companies

Australia Business Arts Foundation - Financial Statements For Year Ended 30 June 2009

Bundanon Trust-Annual Report 2008-09

Reports on the operation o f Acts

Australian Communications and Media Authority:

National Relay Service Performance Report 2007-08

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Telecommunications reports for 2007-08: Report 1: Telecommunications competitive safeguards Report 2: Changes in the prices paid for telecommunications services in Australia

98

5

Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy:

Digital television transmission and reception - Report, May 2009

Digital television transmission and reception - Report, August 2009

Digital television transmission and reception - Report, October 2009

Other

Australian National Maritime Museum - Strategic Plan 2009-2012

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts PricewaterhouseCoopers, Second independent review of the Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000 Final report

1.12 Appendix 1 provides an alphabetical record, by portfolio, of:

• the basis under which the organisation operates, eg department or statutory authority;

• dates indicating the progressive stages in presentation of the annual reports, where available; and

• the date each report was tabled in, or deemed to be presented to, the Senate.

Timeliness

1.13 All 2008-09 annual reports examined in this report were timely in their presentation to the Parliament.

1.14 Four reports covering different reporting periods were tabled in the reporting cycle period:

• Australian Postal Corporation (Australia Post): Statement of Corporate Intent 2009/10-2011/12 (tabled 27 October 2009)

• Australian Communications and Media Authority: National Relay Service Performance Report 2007-08 (tabled 16 June 2009)

• Australian Competition and Consumer Commission: Telecommunications reports for 2007-08: Report 1: Telecommunications competitive safeguards Report 2: Changes in the prices paid for telecommunications services in

Australia (tabled 18 June 2009)

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6

• Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts: Natural Heritage Trust Annual Report 2006-076 (tabled 12 August 2009)

1.15 The committee notes that the Murray-Darling Basin Authority Annual Report was not tabled by the due date, 31 October. While the report was delivered to and received by the relevant Minister on 22 October 2009, it was not tabled in the Senate until 24 November 2009. This report will be dealt with in the committee's next Report

on annual reports.

Remarks made in the Senate

1.16 Under Senate standing order 25(20)(d), the committee notes that at the time of _ reporting one report, the NBN Co Limited annual report, dealt with in this report was the subject of comment in the Senate by Senator Macdonald.7

1.17 However, the committee also notes debate on the following annual reports was adjourned on 25 February 2010 and these reports remain on the Notice Paper under Orders of the Day relating to Government Documents:

• Australian Broadcasting Corporation

• Bureau of Meteorology

• Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

• NBN Co Limited8

Comment on certain annual reports

1.18 The committee makes comment on the annual reports of the two portfolio departments referred to it for examination and several reports from agencies within each portfolio.

Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Portfolio

Department o f Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE)

1.19 According to the Annual Report, the purpose of the department is to develop a vibrant, sustainable and internationally competitive broadband and communications sector which promotes the digital economy, achieved through policy development, advice and program delivery activities that:

• support efficient and strategic management of public resources;

6 The committee notes that this report was tabled over 12 months late (tabled 12 August 2009).

7 Senate Hansard, 19 November 2009, p. 8472.

8 Notice Paper, No. 112, 9 March 2010, p. 9, at www.aph.gov.au/Senate/work/notice/snpf_l 12.pdf.

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• facilitate the competitive provision of services;

• enable access to reliable and reasonably priced basic and essential services; and

• provide effective protection for the interests of consumers.9

1.20 The digital economy is the global network of economic and social activities enabled by platforms such as the internet, mobile and sensor networks which are accessed through devices such as computers, phones and game consoles.10 1 1 1 2

1.21 To develop the digital economy across Australia, the department has managed a number of initiatives including:

• the National Broadband Network;

• regional telecommunications services for people in regional, rural and remote Australia;

• switchover from analog to digital television;

• the Clever Networks program and the Digital innovation and the Digital Regions Initiative; and

• e-security initiatives to promote smart online behaviours and the Cyber-Safety Plan to address cyber-safety risks.11

1.22 The report notes reforms arising from Operation Sunlight which have enabled the department to implement an outcome and program reporting framework and to review its organisation and program structure and resource allocation.u

1.23 The secretary's review flags as a key future challenge the convergence of communication and broadcasting systems and its impact on existing regulatory frameworks.13

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

1.24 The report notes a number of significant events that have occurred during the reporting year, including:

• the launch of iView, a high-resolution, full-screen online video service;

• ABC Local Radio broadcast of the Games of the 29th Olympiad and the Paralympic Games from Beijing;

9 DBCDE, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 9.

10 DBCDE, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 23.

11 DBCDE, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 3-7,

12 DBCDE, Annual Report 2008— 09, p. 7.

13 DBCDE Annual Report 2008-09, p. 8.

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8

• launch of Sydney Sidetracks, a cross-platform project combining Google Maps with archival content from the ABC and other cultural institutions;

• award of nine Walkley Awards to journalists and crews for Excellence in Journalism; and

• provision of rolling emergency broadcasts in Victoria during the "Black Saturday" bushfires, accompanied by extensive news coverage across radio, television and online.14 1 5

1.25 The ABC has continued to make its content more accessible through vodcasts and podcasts and through internet streaming, ABC websites and specialised mobile phone content. The report notes that 'the ABC is one of the largest creators of podcasting and vodcasting material in the world, with a wide variety of television, radio and news programs available for download'.1"

1.26 The report flags future activities including the delivery of new programs and services for which it received additional funding, such as the:

• launch of ABC3, a dedicated digital channel and website for older children;

• commission of new and diverse drama to ensure increased hours of first-release Australian drama on ABC1; and

• introduction of a Continuous News Centre providing a dedicated, 24-hour video news capability for online and broadcast delivery.16

1.27 As foreshadowed in the annual report 2008, the previous process of publishing quarterly reports of upheld complaints has been replaced during the current reporting period with the publication of summaries of upheld complaints and Complaints Review Executive reviews as individual complaints, providing more timely access to complaint decisions.17

Special Broadcasting Service (SBS)

1.28 SBS provides national multilingual and multicultural radio, television and online services.

1.29 The report notes that during the reporting year SBS increased its share of audience to 6.2 per cent, representing 'a total increase of almost 25 per cent in its television audience share over the past decade'.18

14 ABC, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 22-23.

15 ABC, Annual Report 2008— 09, p. 39.

16 ABC, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 24.

17 ABC, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 73.

18 SBS, Annual Report 2008— 2009, p. 4.

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1.30 The report also notes that revenue raised through advertising and sales of goods and services increased 13 per cent over the previous financial year, although this figure was less than originally projected.19

Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

1.31 The ACMA annual report highlights a wide range of activities, programs and investigations undertaken during the year in review, including:

• a package of regulatory measures for mobile premium services (MPS);

• an MPS Code, which came into force on 1 July 2009, sets out detailed rules including procedures to be followed for subscribing to premium SMS services, the banning of advertisements targeted at children under 15, strict rules about how advertisements (and charges) are displayed, and improved complaints-handling obligations on companies supplying premium SMS services;

• continued oversight of the Do Not Call Register on which a total of 3.54 million telephone numbers were registered by the end of this reporting year. The annual report foreshadows government plans to expand the register to allows all types of numbers, including business

and fax numbers, to be listed;

• the record number of spam complaints for SMS and email spam, with approximately 25 on-going mid-level and major investigations related to alleged breaches of the Spam Act;

• cybersafety awareness activities and the development of education programs and infonnation material for schools, parents and libraries and a new website replacing the NetAlert and Cybersmart Kids websites, launched in July 2009; and

• reviews of the Children's Television Standards and the commercial radio standards.20

General

1.32 The committee notes that the Australia Post annual report celebrates 200 years since postal services began in Australia. It also notes the tabling of the first report of the NBN Co Limited which was established in April 2009.

19 SBS, Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 4.

20 SBS, Annual Report 2008-2009, pp 5-7.

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10

Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Portfolio

Department o f the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA)

1.33 The department's responsibilities are covered by four Outcome groups: Environment, Antarctica, Water Resources, and Arts and Culture. The report provides a summary of significant issues and developments under each outcome.

Environment

• a review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) was undertaken with an interim report released mid year and the final report presented late in 2009;

• programs to help households and businesses to become more energy efficient were rolled out;

• Caring for our Country program commenced with funding over five years of over $2 billion;

• six Indigenous Protected Areas were declared during the period under review;

• under Jobs Fund, $6 million, of a total $60 million, was committed for heritage projects, focused on protecting, conserving and promoting Australia's natural, Indigenous and historic heritage;

• the nomination of Ningaloo Coast, WA, to the World Heritage list was finalised; and

• a review of the Protection o f Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 was announced and undertaken.21 2 2 The review is due to be completed in early 2010.

Water

• continuing work under the Water for the Future initiative;

• progress on developing the Murray Darling Basin plan wdiich will set new limits on diversions for every Basin catchment and aquifer;

• development of rural infrastructure projects to achieve long-term sustainability;

• continuation of the water purchase entitlements scheme; and

• first use of water by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder at ten high priority environmental sites in the Murray Darling Basin. 2“

21 DEWHA, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 4— 5.

22 DEWHA, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 6.

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Arts and Culture

• inaugural Prime Minister's Literary Awards presentation held in December 2008;

• opening of the new National Portrait Gallery in December 2008;

• expanded support for the Indigenous arts, languages, culture and broadcasting sectors, through the Indigenous Contemporary Music Action Plan, the Maintenance of Indigenous Languages and Records program, the Indigenous Culture Support program, the National Arts and Crafts Industry Support program and the Indigenous Broadcasting program;

• development of a national arts and disability strategy due to be finalised during 2009-10; and

• establishment of Screen Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive.23

1.34 The report flags that the department has undergone a significant reorganisation which was due to come into effect in the new reporting year, with the implementation of the new Outcome / Program structure.24 2 5

Bureau o f Meteorology (BoM)

1.35 The report notes a number of issues being addressed:

• preparations for issuing new reporting requirements as part of the Bureau's role as water information provider within the 'Water for the Future' strategy;

• continued upgrading of the weather radar network;

• finalisation of the Australian Tsunami Warning System Project; and

• recasting the Bureau's activities and financial operations in line with the government's framework based on outcomes and programs.23

1.36 The report forecasts future work on programs such as:

• the national implementation of the Next Generation Forecast and Warning System;

• new radars installed in the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania; and

• the continuing development and implementation of water reporting and information system to contribute to water security.26

23 DEWHA, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 7.

24 DEWHA, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 10.

25 BoM, Annual Report 2008-09. p. 3.

26 BoM, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 3— 4.

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12

National Water Commission (NWC)

1.37 The report notes that during the reporting year the Commission was given a new and ongoing function to audit the effectiveness of the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and associated water resource plans.27

1.38 The Commission released a number of reports as part of the national water reform process, including:

• the inaugural Australian water markets report 2007-08;

• two reports on the performance of Australia's urban water utilities and rural water service providers;

• prepared its second biennial assessment of water reform progress under the National Water Initiative; and -

• published a further ten reports in its Waterlines series of report."8 2 9

National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA)

1.39 This is the first annual report of the NFSA since it became a statutory authority on 1 July 2008.

1.40 Activities undertaken during the year included:

• ongoing preservation of Australia's moving images and sound recordings;

• archival film screening programs both in Australia and abroad;

• collaboration with overseas organisations through workshops, training programs and conference participation.-9

Screen Australia

1.41 This is the first annual report of Screen Australia which was established on 1 July 2008 when three agencies, the Australian Film Commission, the Film Finance Corporation Australia and Film Australia Limited, merged to form the new body.

1.42 The report states that the reporting year has been 'challenging, with staff restructuring, corporate planning and developing program guidelines, Terms of Trade and budgets' resulting in a more streamlined organisation with fewer but more targeted programs and a mix of new staff and staff from the former agencies.30

27 BoM, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 2-3.

28 BoM, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 3.

29 NFSA, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 25-26.

30 Screen Australia, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 4.

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13

1.43 The report notes that guidelines for new development programs came into effect from 1 January 2009 'with a focus on supporting quality projects and attracting credited practitioners to increase the chances of successful outcomes'.31

General comments

1.44 The Auditor-General has not qualified any of the financial statements contained in the annual reports under review.

1.45 The committee again commends those agencies that have continued to include both a general index and a compliance index in their annual reports this year, although the inclusion of a compliance index is no longer a requirement. It considers the inclusion of a compliance index to be a very useful tool for accountability puiposes.

1.46 The committee reiterates the concerns expressed during the Supplementary Budget Estimates hearings in October 2008 and 2009, that the majority of annual reports of departments and agencies were not available to senators prior to those hearings, due to the scheduled dates for supplementary estimates.

1.47 The committee is aware that annual reports should be tabled by 31 October each year.32 It notes that Supplementary Budget Estimates are scheduled for the week 18-22 October 2010 and it is concerned that annual reports will again not be available to senators.

Summary

1.48 The committee finds that the annual reports referred to it have provided an appropriately comprehensive description of the activities of the reporting bodies and were of a high standard of presentation. They generally met the requirements of the various guidelines that apply to them and were timely in their presentation to the Parliament.

1.49 Accordingly, the committee is pleased to report its finding that the annual reports referred to it for examination and tabled in the period under examination were apparently satisfactory.

Senator Anne McEwen Chair

31 Screen Australia, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 22.

32 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, Canberra, 17 June 2009, p. 3.

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APPENDIX 1

Annual reports referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts between 1 May and 31 October 2009

Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio

Name Type33 Dates34 Tabled35

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Annual Report 2008— 09 Commonwealth authority

A. 05/10/09 B. 16/10/09 C. 16/10/09

27/10/09

Australian Communications and Media Authority Annual Report 2008-09

Prescribed agency

A. 22/09/09 B. 29/09/09 C. 29/09/09

27/10/09

Australian Communications and Media Authority National Relay Service Performance Report 2007-08

Report on the operation of an Act

A. 03/04/09 B. 03/04/09 C. 22/05/09

16/06/09

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Telecommunications reports for 2007-08: Report 1: Telecommunications competitive

safeguards; Report 2: Changes in the process paid for telecommunications services in Australia

Report on the operation of an Act

A. 12/05/09 B. 12/06/09 C. 12/06/09

18/06/09

Australian Postal Corporation Government A. 28/09/09 26/10/09 (Australia Post) Business B. - [Received

Annual Report 2008-09 Enterprise C. - 15/10/09]

Australian Postal Corporation (Australia Post) Statement of Corporate Intent 2009/10—2011/12

GBE A. undated

B. 07/08/09 C. 10/08/09

27/10/09

33 Commonwealth Authority includes statutory office-holders. 34 Dates shown are: A The date shown on a letter of transmittal printed with the annual report (if any) represents no letter of transmittal, 'undated' indicates no date on letter of transmittal]

B Date submitted to the Minister, as recorded in the Senate's Order of Business (if any) C Date received by the Minister, as recorded in the Senate's Order of Business (if any). 35 The date in parenthesis shows the date that the report was received out of session by the President / Deputy President / Temporary Chairman of Committees or was tabled in the House

of Representatives.

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16

Name Type33 Dates34 Tabled33

Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Annual Report 2008-09

Department of State A. 01/10/09 B. 09/10/09

C. 13/10/09

26/10/09 [Received 15/10/09]

Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Report on Digital Television Transmission and Reception, May 2009

Reports on the operation of an Act A.

B. 04/05/09 C. 07/05/09

12/05/09

Report on Digital Television Transmission and Reception, August 2009

A. -

B. 22/07/09 C. 22/07/09

11/08/09

Report on Digital Television Transmission and Reception, October 2009

A. B. 12/1009 C. 14/10/09

27/10/09

NBN Co Limited Report for the period 9 April to 30 June 2009 GBE A. 21/09/09

B. -

C. -

26/10/09 [Received 16/10/091

Special Broadcasting Service Annual Report 2008-09

Commonwealth authority A. -/09/09 B. 19/10/09

C. 19/10/09

27/10/09

Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts portfolio Name Type Dates Tabled

Australia Business Arts Foundation Ltd For the Year Ended 30 June 2009 Commonwealth company

A. undated B. 02/10/09 C. 02/10/09

27/10/09

Australia Council Annual Report 2008-09

Commonwealth authority A. 01/09/09 B. 02/10/09

C. 02/10/09

27/10/09

Australian Film Television and Radio School Annual Report 2008-09 Commonwealth authority

A. 31/07/09 B. 17/09/09 C. 17/09/09

27/10/09

Australian National Maritime Museum Commonwealth A. - 16/11/09 Annual Report 2008-09 authority B. -

C. -

[Received 30/10/091

Australian National Maritime Museum Commonwealth A. - 12/05/09 Strategic Plan 2009-2012 authority B. -

C. -

[Received 06/05/09]

Bundanon Trust Annual Report 2008-09

Commonwealth company A. -/09/09 B. 13/10/09

C. 13/10/09

27/10/09

Bureau of Meteorology Annual Report 2008-09

Prescribed agency

A. 30/09/09 B. 16/09/09 C. 16/09/09

28/10/09

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17

Name Type Dates Tabled

Department of the Environment, Water, Department of A. 01/10/09 16/11/09 Heritage and the Arts Annual Report 2008-09 State B. - [Received

Legislation Annual Reports 2008-09 including reports on the: Environment Protection and Biodiversity Consen’ation Act 1999; Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000; Hazardous Waste (Regulation o f Exports and Imports) Act 1989;

Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989; Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000; Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act

1986; Water Act 2007; and Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005. "

C. - 30/10/09]

Department of the Environment, Water, Operation of the A. - 15/06/09 Heritage and the Arts Annual Report 2007-08 EPBC Act B. - [Received Corrigendum, Volume 2 C. - 15/05/09]

Director of National Parks Commonwealth A. 13/10/09 27/10/09

Annual Report 2008-09 authority B. 14/10/09

C. 14/10/09

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Prescribed A. 12/10/09 28/10/09 Ar ual Report 2008-09 agency B. 02/10/09

C. 02/10/09

National Film & Sound Archive Commonwealth A. undated 17/11/09 Annual Report 2008-09 authority B. 02/10/09

C. 02/10/09 [Tabled House of Representa

lives

29/10/09]

National Gallery of Australia Commonwealth A. Sept 2008 16/11/09 Annual Report 2008-09 authority B. -

C. -

[Received 30/10/09]

National Library of Australia Commonwealth A. undated 17/11/09 Annual Report 2008-09 authority B. 21/09/10

C. 21/09/10 [Tabled House of Representa

lives

29/10/09]

National Museum of Australia Commonwealth A. Aug 2009 28/10/09 Annual Report 2008-09 authority B. 29/10/09

C. 29/10/09-

National Water Commission Prescribed A. 28/08/09 27/10/09

Annual Report 2008-09 agency B. 24/09/09

C. 24/09/09

Natural Heritage Trust Report on the A. undated 12/08/09

Annual Report 2006-07 operation of the

Act

B. 18/06/09 C. 18/06/09

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18

Name Type Dates Tabled

Public Lending Right Committee Annual Report 2008-09 Non-statutory body

A. 01/09/09 B. 16/09/09 C. 16/09/09

27/10/09

Screen Australia Annual Report 2008-09

Commonwealth authority A. undated B. 22/09/09

C. 22/09/09

27/10/09

Supervising Scientist Annual Report 2008— 2009

Report on the operation of an Act

A. 15/10/09 B. 25/09/10 C. 25/09/10

17/11/09 [Tabled House of Representa

tives

29/10/091

Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Annual Report 2008-09 Commonwealth authority

A. 17/09/09 B. 16/09/09 C. 16/09/09

27/10/09

Wet Tropics Management Authority Annual Report and State of the Wet Tropics Report 2008-09

Report on the operation of an Act

A. 20/09/09 B. 14/10/09 C. 14/10/09

27/10/09

112

The Senate

Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010)

March 2010

113

© Commonwealth of Australia 2010

ISBN 978-1-74229-249-6

PO Box 6100

Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

Ph: 02 6277 3530

Fax: 02 6277 5809

E-mail: fpa.sen@aph.gov.au Internet: www.aph.gov.au/senate fpa

Printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra.

114

Membership of the Committee

Members

Senator Helen Polley (Chair)

Senator Scott Ryan (Deputy Chair)

ALP, TAS

LP, VIC

ALP, NSW

ALP, VIC

LP, VIC

WA, AG

Senator Doug Cameron

Senator Jacinta Collins

Senator Helen Kroger

Senator Rachel Siewert

Participating members

Senators Abetz, Adams, Arbib, Barnett, Bemardi, Birmingham, Bishop, Bilyk, Boswell, Boyce, Brandis, B. Brown, C. Brown, Bushby, Cash, Colbeck, Coonan, Cormann, Crossin, Eggleston, Farrell, Feeney, Fielding, Fisher, Forshaw, Fumer, Hanson-Young, Heffeman, Humphries, Hurley, Hutchins,

Johnston, Joyce, Ludlum, Lundy, Macdonald, Marshall, Mason, McEwen, McGauran, McLucas, Milne, Minchin, Nash, O'Brien, Parry, Payne, Pratt, Ronaldson, Scullion, Siewert, Stephens, Sterle, Troeth, Trood, Williams, Wortley, Xenophon.

Secretariat

Ms Christine McDonald Committee Secretary

Ms Nina Boughey Senior Research Officer

Ms Maria Sarelas Research Officer

Ms Tegan Gaha Executive Assistant 1 1 1

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116

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Membership of the Com m ittee.............................................................................. iii

Chapter 1.......................................................................................................................1

Introduction.............................................................................................................. 1

Terms of reference..................................................................................................1

Method of assessment............................................................................................. 2

Reports examined................................................................................................... 3

Non-reporting bodies.............................................................................................. 5

Timeliness............................................................................................................... 6

Assessment of reports............................................................................................. 6

Senate debate.......................................................................................................... 7

Chapter 2...................................................................................................................... 9

Selected agencies and reports...................... 9

Appendix 1 ................................................................................................................. 17

Administrative Arrangements Order for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.................................................. 17

Appendix 2 ................................................................................................................. 19

Administrative Arrangements Order for the Department of Finance and Deregulation.............................................................................................................19

Appendix 3 ................................................................................................................. 23

Administrative Arrangements Order for the Department of Human Services23

Appendix 4 ................................................................................................................. 25

Administrative Arrangements Order for the Department of Climate Change 25

Appendix 5 ................................................................................................................. 27

Dates relating to the timeliness of presentation in the Senate............................ 27

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Chapter 1

Introduction

1.1 This is the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee's (the committee) first report on annual reports for 2010. It provides an overview of the committee's examination of annual reports for the 2008-09 financial year tabled in the Senate between 1 May 2009 and 31 October 2009. Copies of this and other committee reports can be obtained from the Senate Table Office, the committee secretariat or online at: www.aph.gov.au/senate fpa.

Terms of reference

1.2 Under Senate Standing Order 25(20) the annual reports of certain departments and agencies stand referred to committees for examination and assessment. Each committee is required to:

(a) examine each annual report referred to it and report to the Senate whether the report is apparently satisfactory;

(b) consider in more detail, and report to the Senate on each annual report which is not apparently satisfactory, and on the other annual reports which it selects for more detailed consideration;

(c) investigate and report to the Senate on any lateness in the presentation of annual reports;

(d) in considering an annual report take into account any relevant remarks about the report made in debate in the Senate;

(e) if the committee so determines, consider annual reports of departments and budget-related agencies in conjunction with examination of estimates;

(f) report on annual reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year, and on annual reports tabled by 30 April each year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year;

(g) draw to the attention of the Senate any significant matters relating to the operations and performance of the bodies furnishing the annual reports; and

(h) report to the Senate each year whether there are any bodies which do not present annual reports to the Senate and which should present such reports.

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2

I

Method of assessment

1.3 Senate Standing Order 25(20) requires that the committee examine reports referred to it to determine whether they are timely and 'apparently satisfactory'. In forming its assessment, the committee considers whether the reports comply with the relevant legislation and guidelines for the preparation of annual reports. The principal Acts which apply to departments, statutory agencies and authorities, and

Commonwealth companies are:

• Public Service Act 1999;

• Parliamentary Service Act 1999;

• Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act); and

• Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act).

1.4 Statutory authorities report under their respective enabling legislation. For example, the Australian Electoral Commission reports under section 17 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

1.5 The committee also assessed whether reports comply with the Requirements for Annual Reports: for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies (the PM&C Guidelines), issued by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) with the approval of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit. This

is the authoritative source outlining the requirements for preparing and presenting annual reports for bodies prescribed under the FMA Act.1

1.6 Commonwealth authorities and companies report under the CAC Act and thus have different reporting requirements.

1.7 The annual report of a Commonwealth authority must include a report of operations as set out in the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report of Operations) Orders 2008,2 financial statements and the Auditor-General's report on those financial statements.

1.8 Commonwealth companies must include in their annual report a copy of the company's financial report, director's report and auditor's report as required by the Corporations Act 20017 Commonwealth companies that are wholly-owned by the Commonwealth must also supply any additional information or report required by the Finance Minister's Orders.

1 These guidelines may be found at: www.Dmc.gov.au/guidelines/docs/annual report reauirements.pdf.

2 These orders may be found at: www.finance.gov.au/financial-framework/cac-legislation/cac- fmance-ministers-orders.html.

3 Where the auditor's report supplied is not by the Auditor-General, the company must also include a report by the Auditor-General.

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Reports examined

1.9 During the period between 1 May 2009 and 31 October 2009, 23 annual reports that were tabled in the Senate, or presented 'out of session' to the President of the Senate were referred to the committee for examination.

1.10 Twelve annual reports and papers were received shortly thereafter, many including the Office of the Privacy Commissioner which is examined in the next chapter, tabled in the House of Representatives at an earlier date.

1.11 The reports tabled are categorised as follows, and the tabling dates outlined in Appendix 5.

Departments of State

• Department of Finance and Administration annual report 2008-09—pursuant to section 63 of the Public Services Act 1999;

• Department of Human Services annual report 2008-09—pursuant to subsection 63 of the Public Service Act 1999;

• Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet annual report 2008-09— pursuant to subsection 63 of the Public Service Act 1999; and

• Department of Climate Change annual report 2008-09—pursuant to subsection 63 of the Public Service Act 1999.

Departments of Parliament

• Department of Parliamentary Services—annual report and Financial Statements 2008-09—pursuant to paragraph 65(1 )(c) of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 and subsection 65(3) of the Parliamentary Services Act 1999; and

• Department of the Senate— annual report for 2008-09—pursuant to section 65 of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999.

Statutory agencies or authorities

• Australian Electoral Commission—annual report 2008-09—pursuant to section 17 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918;

• Australian National Audit Office—annual report 2008-09—pursuant to section 28 of the Auditor-General Act 1997;

• Australian Reward Investment Alliance—annual report 2008-09— Section 162 of the Superannuation Act 1976, section 28 of the Superannuation Act 1990 and section 26 of the Superannuation Act 2005;

• Centrelink—annual report 2008-09—pursuant to subsection 40(1) of the Commonwealth Services Delivery Agency Act 1997;

____________________________________________________________________________________ 3_

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4

• Commissioner for Superannuation—annual report 2008-09—pursuant to section 162 of the Superannuation Act 1976 and section 21 of the Papua New Guinea (Staffing Assistance) Act 1973;

• Commonwealth Ombudsman—annual report 2008-09—pursuant to sections 19(1) and 19F(3) of the Ombudsman Act 1976;

• Future Fund—annual report 2008-09—pursuant to section 81 of the Future Fund Act 2006;

• Medicare Australia—annual report 2008-09—pursuant to section 70(1) of the Public Service Act 1999;

• National Archives of Australia and National Archives of Australia Advisory Council—annual report 2008-09—pursuant to section 70 of the Public Service Act 1999; -

• Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General—annual report 2008-09—pursuant to section 19(1) of the Governor-General Act 1974;

• Office of the Privacy Commissioner 4—annual report 2008-09— pursuant to section 97 of the Privacy Act 1988;

• Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator—annual report 2008-09— pursuant to section 63 of the Public Service Act 1999;

• Australian Institute of Family Studies—annual report 2008-09—pursuant to section 114LC of the Family Law Act 1975;

• Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security—annual report 2008-09—pursuant to subsection 35 of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1986;

• Old Parliament House—annual report 2008— 09— pursuant to section 70 of the Public Service Act 1999; and

• Australian Public Service Commissioner—Annual report 2008-09— Incorporating the annual report of the Merit Protection Commissioner— pursuant to section 44 of the Public Service Act 1999.

Commonwealth companies

• ASC Pty Ltd Annual report 2008-09—pursuant to section 9 of the

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997;

• Australian Hearing Services—annual report 2008-09—pursuant to section 9 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997;

• National Australia Day Council—annual report 2008-08—pursuant to subsection 36(4) of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997; and

4 Report tabled in the House of Representative on 29 October 2009 and in the Senate on 17 November 2009.

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• Medibank Private Limited—annual report 2008-09—pursuant to Sections 9 and 36 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.

Reports not examined

1.12 The committee is not obliged to report on Acts, statements of corporate intent, surveys, corporate plans or errata. The following documents were referred to the committee but not examined:

• Members o f Parliament (Staff) Act 1984—Report for 2008-09 on consultants engaged;

• Australian Parliamentary Service Commissioner—Report for 2008-09— pursuant to subsection 42(1) of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999;

• Auditor-General—Audit report no. 7 of 2008-09—Performance audit— Centrelines tip-off system;

• ASC Pty Ltd Statement of Corporate Intent 2009-2012—Section 9 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997; and

• Electoral Reform Green Paper, Strengthening Australia's Democracy— September 2009.

Commonwealth authorities

• Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation—Annual Report 2008-09— pursuant to section 32 of the Albury-Wodonga Development Act 1973; and

• Australian Industry Development Corporation—Annual Report 2008—09— pursuant to section 9 of the CAC Act.

Other

• Department of Finance and Deregulation—Campaign advertising by Australian government departments and agencies;

• Department of Finance and Deregulation—Issues from the Advances Under the Annual Appropriations Act; and

• Department of Finance and Deregulation— including Office of Evaluation and Audit (Indigenous Programs) report.

Non-reporting bodies

1.13 Standing Order 25(20)(h) requires that the committee inquire into, and report on, any bodies which do not present annual reports to the Senate but should present such reports. The committee continues to approach this by examining the Administrative Arrangements Order for the list of legislation administered by

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portfolio ministers and consequently, departments and agencies; and consulting the Department of Finance's listing of Australian Government Bodies.5

Timeliness

1.14 Most reports are required to be tabled in Parliament by 31 October each year unless another date is specified, for example, in an agency's legislation, charter and/or terms of reference. Commonwealth companies reporting under the CAC Act are required to provide an annual report to the responsible Minister four months after the

end of the company's financial year.6 It appears all annual reports submitted by Commonwealth companies in the committee's portfolio areas fulfilled this requirement.

1.15 The committee does note however, that even where companies submitted reports to the relevant Minister within the time limit, there is often a delay before the report is tabled in the Parliament.

1.16 Where a department or agency cannot meet its deadline for reporting, it must apply to the relevant minister for an extension.7 Where an extension is granted, the minister must table in Parliament a copy of the application together with a statement specifying the length of the extension and the reasons for granting the extension. The committee is not aware of any extensions granted for this period.

1.17 For each report referred to it, the committee recorded the following dates:

• submitted to minister;

• received by the minister;

• tabled in the Senate or presented to the President or a temporary chair of committees; and

• tabling date in the House of Representatives, where applicable.

1.18 Commonwealth authorities are required to report by the 15tn day of the fourth month after the end of the financial year, which for authorities reporting on a standard financial year basis would be October 15.8

Assessment of reports

1.19 In determining whether a report was satisfactory, the committee applied the PM&C Requirements for Annual Reports. In particular, to assess whether the reports

5 This list may be found at: www.finance.gov.au/publications/fliachart/index.litml.

6 Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1999, s. 36.

7 Acts Interpretation Act 1901, s. 34(c).

8 Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1999, s. 9.

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adequately met reporting requirements, they were assessed against the checklist at Attachment F in the guidelines.

1.20 Where applicable, the committee paid particular attention to agencies reporting against outcomes as set down in their respective Portfolio Budget Statements and Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements. The committee notes that the majority of agencies report performance against outcome structures as set out in these documents.

1.21 The committee has found that all reports are 'apparently satisfactory'. However, certain aspects of the reports the committee scrutinised could be improved. These matters are discussed under the heading 'Selected Agencies' in the next chapter. The committee notes that all financial statements included in the reports received an

unqualified report from the Auditor-General.

Senate debate

1.22 Few annual reports are debated in the Senate, but many remain on the Senate Notice Paper for future consideration. The committee is not aware of any Senate debates relating to the reports examined.

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Chapter 2

Selected agencies and reports

2.1 The committee has selected the following department and agencies for assessment:

• Department of Finance and Deregulation;

• Office of the Privacy Commissioner (The Operation of the Privacy Act); and

• Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator.

Department of Finance and Deregulation

2.2 The 2008-2009 annual report produced by the Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance) provides a thorough insight into the operations and functions of the department.

2.3 Noted within the annual report is the contribution made by the department to the three stimulus packages introduced by the government in response to the global financial crisis: the Economic Security Strategy; the Nation Building Package; and the Nation Building and Jobs Plan.

Portfolio structure

2.4 Two changes to the portfolio structure occurred during the period between 1 May 2009 and 31 October 2009:

• the Telstra Sale Company was deregistered; and

• the Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation became a Commonwealth authority under the CAC Act.

Transparency and scrutiny

2.5 The performance information and resources for each outcome provided in the annual report is comprehensive and provides detailed information on results including when performance targets have not been achieved. The committee notes that some agencies provided neither the same level of infonnation nor in such an easily

accessible form.

2.6 The annual report also provides a comprehensive section on external scrutiny of the department. The notes on parliamentary committee inquiries and reports provide useful information on the progress on responses to recommendations made by the committee which are still outstanding.

2.7 Other information provided in this section includes Finance's involvement in Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) matters. Between 23 September 2008 and 30 June 2009, the (ANAO) produced 14 reports where Finance had either a significant involvement or included recommendations specific to Finance. The report provides an

outline of the objective of each ANAO report, and how Finance seeks to address the

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recommendations made. The committee commends the department for the level of detail provided on these matters.

2.8 During the 2008-2009 year, the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman investigated 13 matters concerning Finance. The annual report states that the 'majority of these issues related to concerns about the Act of Grace payments raised by members of the public'. The Ombudsman took no action on nine of the cases and as at 30 June 2009, four matters were still under investigation.1

2.9 Finance's annual report includes appropriate indices, however the referencing being that of chapter numbers rather than page numbers is not ideal. Some mandatory criteria span over several chapters, making it very difficult for the reader to locate specific information. The Finance annual report for 2006-2007 included page numbers which was much more user friendly.

Grants

2.10 The department is to be commended for the inclusion of grant funding amounts within the report. The addition of the amounts provides one convenient reference for all information relating to grants, rather than supplying a link to the website as is common practice.

2.11 Although this level of grant reporting detail is not mandatory under the PM&C Requirements, the new policy framework for grants following the December 2008 Review o f Operation Sunlight: Overhauling Budget Transparency requires

agencies to publish information on the administration of grants, including details of grants on their websites. In June 2009, Finance issued the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines to support the Operation Sunlight framework.1 2

Office of the Privacy Commissioner

2.12 The Office of the Privacy Commissioner is a statutory authority that carries out specific functions relating to privacy information and activity under the Privacy Act 1988.

2.13 The agency's 2008-2009 annual report provides an overview of a range of new events and services launched during the year including the youth privacy video and portal, private i; the Australian Privacy Awards; and the Australian Privacy Medal.

Accessibility

2.14 The report begins with a User's Guide, briefly summarising each section. This is a useful resource for readers. The report also uses plain language, large font for easy readability, and provides contact details for the Translating and Interpreting Service for non-English speakers who wish to access the report.

2.15 The Office of the Privacy Commissioner report does not however, meet some of the requirements contained in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's

1 Department of Finance and Deregulation, Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 100.

2 Department of Finance and Deregulation, Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 3.

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Requirements for Annual Reports: for departments, executive agencies and FMA Act bodies. For example, a compliance index was absent and this made searching for requirements under subsections 63(2) and 70(2) of the Public Service Act 1999 fairly cumbersome.

2.16 Comprehensive information on purchasing was not provided. The requirement is for an assessment of purchases against core principles, but the report notes the following without any detail as to whether there are purchases or purchasers to report on:

The Office's purchasing procedures comply with the Australian Government Procurement Guidelines issued by the Department of Finance and Deregulation. They address a wide range of purchasing situations, allowing managers flexibility when making purchasing decisions provided

arrangements comply with the Australian Government's core procurement principle of value for money.3

2.17 The report also did not include whether grants for performance payments to staff are made.

The Office o f the Renewable Energy Regulator

2.18 As a statutory authority under the FMA Act, the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER) is a government agency in the Department of Climate Change, within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio.

2.19 The ORER's 2008-2009 annual report provides an insight into the purpose of the agency, which is to administer the Australian Government's Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000, Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Charge) Act 2000 and associated Regulations; and to establish the framework for the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET).4 5

2.20 The committee notes the appointment on 1 June 2009 of Mr Andrew Livingston as the Renewable Energy Regulator by the Minister for Climate Change and Water, Senator the Hon. Penny Wong.

2.21 The ORER included a compliance index in addition to a general index in its report, however certain mandatory omissions are apparent. Additional attention to detail to ensure that index page numbers are correct would assist readability."

2.22 The committee notes the high standard of infonnation the ORER has provided on ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance (ESD) - an FMA Act annual report requirement under section 516A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

3 Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 92.

4 Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator, Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 5.

5 Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator, Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 15.

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2.23 Despite the easy to follow requirements for BSD assessment, only a few departments and agencies under the committee's oversight addressed the criteria. Included in ORER's assessment of their BSD and environmental performance are the agency's principles and activities; an overview of how the organisation's outcomes contribute to BSD; the effect of the ORER's activities on the environment; and the mechanisms for reviewing and increasing the effectiveness of the measures in place to minimise this effect.6

General comments

Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines certification

2.24 The committee's Annual Reports Report No.l o f 2009 recommended that agency heads certify the Fraud Control Guidelines in accordance to the PM&C Requirements for Annual Reports,7 The committee notes that some agencies including the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the National Archives of Australia, the

Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman, and the Department of the Senate have complied with the requirements and have included a signed statement certifying their fraud control initiatives. There still remain a number of agencies which do not include the necessary certification.

2.25 The committee also notes that in its Report No 1 of 2009, it was indicated that the Department of Climate Change (DCC) had undertaken to develop its own Fraud Control Plan in the first quarter of 2008-2009.8 9 The DCC Plan is now in place along with a Fraud Risk Assessment. The DCC 2008-2009 annual report states:

The Fraud Control Plan complies with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines issued under regulation 19 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and is available to staff on the department's intranet. The plan has in place appropriate fraud prevention, detection,

reporting and data collection procedures and processes that meet the specific needs of the department.

Compliance Index

2.26 Most, not all, of the annual reports reporting on the period 2008-2009 included a compliance index, indicating page references for each requirement listed in the Requirements for Annual Reports.

2.27 While no longer mandatory under the reporting requirements, the committee strongly supports the inclusion of a compliance index in annual reports. A compliance index is a useful feature of reports and considerably assists the committee's task of

6 Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator, Annual Report 2008-2009. pp 56-58.

7 Finance and Public Administration Committee, Annual Report (No. 1 o f2009), p. 12.

8 Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee, Annual Reports (No. 1 o f2009), p. 10.

9 Department of Climate Change, Annual Report 2008-2009. p.71.

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assessment. It also assists agencies by clearly showing that their compliance obligations have been met. It can be particularly useful for agencies with reporting requirements under various Acts.

2.28 The committee notes that there is a tendency for agencies including for instance, the National Archives of Australia and the Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, to include a compliance index but omit criteria that are not

applicable. For the sake of accuracy and completeness, the agencies should indicate when matters are not applicable. The index would preferably include a 'nil' return entry where the agency has nothing to report under an item.

2.29 The committee commends the departments and agencies including the Australian Public Service Commission, Old Parliament House, and ComSuper for their inclusion of complete compliance indices in their 2008-09 annual reports.

Adherence to PM&C requirements by CAC Act bodies

2.30 The PM&C Requirements for Annual Reports apply to government departments, executive agencies, and FMA Act bodies. Companies and authorities listed under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 have different reporting requirements, with content specified in the Corporations Act 2001.

2.31 Nevertheless, the committee considers that CAC Act bodies should take into account the PM&C Requirements for Annual Reports where possible. The committee commends Australian Hearing Services which voluntarily adhered to the requirements in its Annual Report 2008-09.

Commonwealth Disability Strategy

2.32 Annual reports must include an assessment of performance in implementing the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. The PM&C Requirements for Annual Reports state:

The annual report must include an assessment of the department's performance in implementing the Commonwealth Disability Strategy (CDS) in the terms set out in the Guide to the Performance Reporting Framework. To assist agencies the Guide includes performance indicators and measures as well as guidance on how to apply the performance reporting framework. A suggested reporting template is also available.10 1 1

2.33 The requirements provide comprehensive information on what is required regarding the CDS. Departments and agencies are encouraged to use the template accessible on the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) website to fulfil this reporting requirement."

10 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports: for departments, executive agencies and FMA Act bodies, June 2009, p. 13.

1 1 h t t p : / / f a h c s i a . g o v . a a / s e a r c h / R e s u l t s . a s p x ? k = C o m m o n w e a l t h % 2 0 D i s a b i l i t v % 2 0 S t r a t e g v % 2 0 t e m p l a t e & s = A l l % 2 0 S i t e s

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2.34 In the assessment of the 2008-2009 annual reports, the Australian Electoral Commission and Old Parliament House provided thorough and insightful descriptions of the organisations' disability strategies.

Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

2.35 Reporting on ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance is required under section 516A of Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) for the following:

• portfolio departments (not parliamentary departments);

• executive agencies;

• agencies declared to be statutory agencies for the purposes of the Public Service Act 1999; _

• Commonwealth authorities and companies as defined under the

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997; and

• any other Commonwealth agency that is established by or under a law of the Commonwealth and is required by law to give an annual report to the responsible Minister.

2.36 In its Report on Annual Reports No. 1 o f2008, the committee had commented that improvements needed to be made on the reporting of economically sustainable development and environmental performance.12 1 3 Several departments and agencies provided a robust assessment of their organisation's environmental performance,

including impact measures. The Australian Public Service Commission, which noted existing as well as new initiatives;lj and the Australian Electoral Commission were two of these agencies. Noteworthy also is ComSuper's report which presented their information by environmental consideration, in addition to presenting a table of comparative Operational Environment Indicators from 2007-2008;14 and the National Archives of Australia for the inclusion of statistics on waste, water and energy consumption.'5 The Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Australian Reward Investment Alliance also provided additional information on this matter.16

12 Finance and Public Administration Committee, Annual Report (No. I o f2008), p. 27.

13 Australian Public Service Commission, Annual Report 2008-2009. p. 170.

14 ComSuper, Annual Report 20082009. pp 137-139.

15 National Archives of Australia, Annual Report 20082009. pp 152-57.

16 Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee, Annual Reports (No. 2 o f2008), p. 12.

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External scrutiny and accountability

2.37 It is required that annual reports:

...must provide information on the most significant developments in external scrutiny of the department and the department's response, including particulars of:

(a) judicial decisions and decisions of administrative tribunals that have had, or may have, a significant impact on the operations of the department; and

(b) reports on the operations of the department by the Auditor-General (other than the report on financial statements), a Parliamentary committee or the Commonwealth Ombudsman.17

2.38 Annual reports should be a primary reference document for parliamentarians and others looking for information about external scrutiny of government agencies. As the primary purpose of annual reports is accountability to the Parliament, it is therefore important that details about external scrutiny are included in a clear manner

in annual reports.

2.39 The committee commends the Department of Finance and Deregulation and Department of Human Services for providing comprehensive details relating to internal and external scrutiny and accountability in its 2008-2009 annual report.

Implementation o f Operation Sunlight

2.40 Under Operation Sunlight, a number of significant changes have been implemented to improve transparency of government financial matters. The committee noted in its report No 2 o f2009 that a number of changes to annual reports should be made as a result of Operation Sunlight. These included disclosure of movements in appropriations by outcome; details of departmental appropriations expected to be carried over into the new financial year to meet future obligations; and the introduction of agency resource statements.

2.41 The committee's examination of the annual reports indicated that all included agency resource statements and provided information for each outcome showing the total resourcing for the outcome. For ease of comparison, the committee strongly encourages all agencies to use the suggested format contained in the PM&C Requirements for Annual Reports.

Senator Helen Polley Chair

17 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports: for departments, executive agencies andFMA Act bodies, June 2009, p. 8.

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Administrative Arrangements Order for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

[Extract from the Administrative Arrangements Order, made on 25 January 2008, amended 1 May 2008 and updated 1 July 2008]

PART 16 THE DEPARTMENT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Matters dealt with by the Department

Co-ordination of Government administration

Assistance to Cabinet and its Committees

Policy advice and administrative support to the Prime Minister

Intergovernmental relations and communications with State and Territory Governments

Australian honours and symbols policy

Government ceremonial and hospitality

Counter terrorism policy co-ordination

National security policy co-ordination

Work and family policy co-ordination

Privacy

Freedom of information

Management of government records

Old Parliament House

Legislation administered by the Minister

Administrative Arrangements Act 1987

Archives Act 1983

Auditor-General Act 1997

Australian Capital Territory Government Sendee (Consequential Provisions) Act 1994

Appendix 1

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Complaints (Australian Federal Police) Act 1981, Part III

Defence Act 1903, Part IIIAAA insofar as it relates to the powers or functions of the Prime Minister as an authorising minister

Family Law Act 1975, Part XIVA

Flags Act 1953

Freedom o f Information Act 1982, except to the extent administered by the Attorney-General

Governor-General Act 1974

House o f Representatives (Quorum) Act 1989

Inspector-General o f Intelligence and Security Act 1986

Office o f National Assessments Act 1977

Ombudsman Act 1976

Parliamentary Commission o f Inquiry (Repeal) Act 1986

Parliamentary Presiding Officers Act 1965

Privacy Act 1988, except to the extent administered by the Attorney-General

Public Service Act 1999

Resource Assessment Commission Act 1989

Royal Commissions Act 1902

Royal Powers Act 1953

Royal Style and Titles Act 1973

Senate (Quorum) Act 1991

136

Administrative Arrangements Order for the Department of Finance and Deregulation [Extract from the Administrative Arrangements Order, made on 25 January 2008, amended 1 May 2008 and updated 1 July 2008]

PART 9 THE DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE AND DEREGULATION

Matters dealt with by the Department

Budget policy advice and process, and review of governmental programs

Government financial accountability, governance and financial management frameworks, including procurement policy and services

Shareholder advice on Government Business Enterprises and commercial entities treated as GBEs

Reducing the burden of government regulation

General policy guidelines for Commonwealth statutory authorities

Superannuation related to former and current members of parliament and Australian Government employees

Asset sales

Strategic management of non-Defence Commonwealth-owned property in Australia, including construction, major refurbishment, acquisition, ownership and disposal of real property

Electoral matters

Administration of Parliamentarians’ entitlements

Administration of the Australian Government’s self-managed general insurance fund (Comcover)

Government on-line delivery and information technology and communications management

Evaluation and audit of Indigenous programs and operations

Advice on the Future Fund

Central advertising system

Appendix 2

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Legislation administered by the Minister

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005, Part 4B

Aerospace Technologies o f Australia Limited Sale Act 1994

AIDC Sale Act 1997

Airports (Transitional) Act 1996

Albwy-Wodonga Development Act 1973

Annual Appropriation Acts

Appropriation (Supplementary Measures) Act (No. 1) 1999

Appropriation (Supplementary Measures) Act (No. 2 ) 1999

Audit (Transitional and Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 1997

Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988, section 27 insofar as it relates to the declaration of land in the Australian Capital Territory to be National Land where the land is required for Commonwealth purposes other than for the special purposes of Canberra as the National Capital

Australian Industry Development Corporation Act 1970

CFM Sale Act 1996

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997

Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918

Commonwealth Electoral Legislation (Provision o f Information) Act 2000

Commonwealth Funds Management Limited Act 1990

Commonwealth Vehicles (Registration and Exemption from Taxation) Act 1997

CSL Sale Act 1993

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

Future Fund Act 2006

Lands Acquisition Act 1989

Lands Acquisition (Defence) Act 1968

Lands Acquisition (Northern Territory Pastoral Leases) Act 1981

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Lands Acquisition (Repeal and Consequential Provisions) Act 1989

Loan (War Service Land Settlement) Acts

Medibank Private Sale Act 2006

Members o f Parliament (Life Gold Pass) Act 2002

Members o f Parliament (Staff) Act 1984

Ministers o f State Act 1952

Northern Territory (Commonwealth Lands) Act 1980

Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978, sections 69 and 70

Papua New Guinea (Staffing Assistance) Act 1973, insofar as it relates to superannuation and retirement benefits

Papua New Guinea (Staff ng Assistance) Termination Act 1976

Parliamentary Allowances Act 1952

Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Act 1948

Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990

Parliamentary Precincts Act 1988

Parliamentary Superannuation Act 2004

Parliamentary Retiring Allowances (Increases) Acts

Public Accounts and Audit Committee Act 1951

Public Works Committee Act 1969

Qantas Sale Act 1992, except to the extent administered by the Treasurer or the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984

Representation Act 1983

Salaries Adjustment Act 1956

Superannuation Acts

Superannuation Benefits (Supendsory Mechanisms) Act 1990

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Superannuation (Distribution o f Surplus) Act 1974

Superannuation (Pension Increases) Acts

Superannuation (Productivity Benefit) Act 1988

Supply Acts

Surplus Revenue Acts

Territoiy Authorities (Financial Provisions) Act 1978

Transferred Officers' Allowances Act 1948

Western Australia (South-West Region Water Supplies) Agreement Act 1965

140

Administrative Arrangements Order for the

Department of Human Services

[Extract from the Administrative Arrangements Order, made on 25 January 2008, amended 1 May 2008 and updated 1 July 2008]

PART 12 THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

Matters dealt with by the Department

Development, delivery and co-ordination of government services, and development of policy on service delivery

Monitoring and management of service delivery and purchaser/provider relationships involving Centrelink, Medicare Australia, the Child Support Agency, Australian Hearing, Health Services Australia and CRS Australia

Legislation administered by the Minister

Australian Hearing Services Act 1991, except to the extent administered by the Minister for Health and Ageing

Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989, insofar as it relates to the exercise of the powers and functions conferred on the Registrar under the Act

Child Support Legislation Amendment (Reform o f the Child Support Scheme - Initial Measures) Act 2006, insofar as it relates to the exercise of the powers and functions conferred on the Registrar under the Act

Child Support Legislation Amendment (Reform o f the Child Support Scheme — New Formula and Other Measures) Act 2006, insofar as it relates to the exercise of the powers and functions conferred on the Registrar under the Act

Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988, insofar as it relates to the appointment of the Registrar and the exercise of the powers and functions conferred on the Registrar under the Act

Commonwealth Sendees Delivery Agency Act 1997

Medicare Australia Act 1973

Appendix 3

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142

Administrative Arrangements Order for the

Department of Climate Change

[Extract from the Administrative Arrangements Order, made on 25 January 2008, amended 1 May 2008 and updated 1 July 2008]

PART 4 THE DEPARTMENT OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Matters dealt with by the Department

Development and co-ordination of domestic and international climate change policy

International climate change negotiations

Design and implementation of emissions trading

Mandatory renewable energy target policy, regulation and co-ordination

Greenhouse emissions and energy consumption reporting

Climate change adaptation strategy and co-ordination

Co-ordination of climate change science activities

Legislation administered by the Minister

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007

Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000

Renewable Energy (Electricity) (Charge) Act 2000

Appendix 4

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144

Dates relating to the timeliness of presentation in the Senate

In the case where a report has been tabled in the Senate after 31 October 2009, both the Senate [S] and the House of Representatives [H] tabling dates have been included where applicable. Note: there is no provision in the House o f Representatives Standing and Sessional Orders for annual reports to be tabled out of session.

Appendix 5

Reporting Body

Date sent to Minister

Date

received by Minister

Tabled in the Senate or presented out of sitting (*)

PARLIAMENTARY PORTFOLIO

Department of Parliamentary Services

- - 26/10/09

Department of the Senate - - 26/10/09

Australian Parliamentary Service Commissioner 8/10/09 8/10/09 17/11/09

PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET PORTFOLIO

Australian Institute of Family Studies 11/09/09 12/09/09 27/10/09

Australian National Audit Office - - 26/10/09

Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman 12/10/09 15/10/09 1610/09*

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet 14/10/09 14/10/09 15/10/09*

Office of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security 07/09/09 08/09/09 13/10/09*

National Australia Day Council Ltd 20/10/09 20/10/09 17/11/09

Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General 15/10/09 15/10/09 27/10/09

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Reporting Body

Date sent to Minister

Date

received by Minister

Tabled in the Senate or presented out of sitting (*)

Operation of the Privacy Act / Office of the Privacy Commissioner (Privacy Act) 06/10/09 15/10/09

17/11/09 [S]

29/10/09 [H]

Old Parliament House

08/10/09 08/10/09

17/11/09 [S]

29/10/09 [H]

Australian Public Service Commissioner (including Merit Protection Commissioner

08/10/09 08/10/09 17/11/09 [S]

29/10/09 [H]

National Archives of Australia 21/10/09 21/10/09 27/10/09

Department of Climate Change 09/10/09 13/10/09 28/10/09

Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator 25/09/09 28/09/09 27/10/09

FINANCE AND DEREGULATION PORTFOLIO

Albury Wodonga Development Corporation 06/10/09 06/10/09 27/10/09

Australian Reward Investment Alliance

27/10/09

Australian River Co. Ltd 06/04/09 14/04/09 06/08/09*

ASC Pty Ltd - - 24/11/09

ASC Pty Ltd - Statement of Corporate Intent - Statement of Corporate Intent 2009-2012 13/08/2009 13/08/2009

24/11/09 [S]

24/11/09 [H]

Australian Electoral Commission 14/10/09 15/10/09 28/10/09

Commissioner for Superannuation (ComSuper) 29/09/09 30/09/09 27/10/09

Department of Finance and Deregulation

25/09/09 25/09/09 26/10/09

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Reporting Body

Date sent to Minister

Date

received by Minister

Tabled in the Senate or presented out of sitting (*)

Department of Finance - Campaign advertising by Australian government departments and agencies

21/09/09 21/09/09 30/09/09*

Department of Finance and Deregulation - including Office of Evaluation and Audit (Indigenous Programs) report

- - 27/10/09

Department of Finance - Issues from the Advances Under the Annual Appropriations Act 17/09/09 17/09/09 27/10/09

Future Fund Management Agency 23/10/09 23/10/09

17/11/09 [S]

29/10/09 [H]

Members o f Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 07/09/09 07/09/09

24/11/09 [S]

24/11/09 [H]

HUMAN SERVICES PORTFOLIO

Medibank Private Ltd 07/09/09 10/09/09 24/09/09*

Australian Hearing Services 23/09/09 06/10/09 28/10/09

Commonwealth Services Delivery Agency (Centrelink) 17/09/09 18/09/09 27/10/09

Department of Human Services 04/09/09 04/09/09 15/09/09*

Medicare Australia 14/09/09 17/09/09 28/10/09

147

148

The Senate

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010)

March 2010

149

© Commonwealth of Australia

ISBN 978-1-74229-250-2

This document is produced from camera-ready copy prepared by the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade secretariat, and printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra.

ii

150

The committee

Senator Mark Bishop, ALP, WA (Chair) Senator Russell Trood, LP, Qld (Deputy Chair) Senator Don Farrell, ALP, SA Senator Michael Forshaw, ALP, NSW

Senator Helen Kroger, LP, Vic Senator Scott Ludlam, AG, WA

Secretariat

Dr Kathleen Dermody, Secretary Ms Pamela Corrigan, Research Officer

Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Phone: (02) 6277 3535 Fax: (02) 6277 5818 e-mail: fadt.sen@aph.gov.au

Internet: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_fadt

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152

Contents

The com m ittee.......................................................................................................... iii

Preface

Introduction.............................................................................................................1

Role of annual reports............................................................................................ 2

Assessment of annual reports................................................................................. 2

Annual reports considered...................................................................................... 3

Defence portfolio............................................................................................. 3

Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio................................................................ 3

General comments on the annual reports............................................................... 3

Timeliness in tabling reports............................................................................... 3

Comments made in the Senate............................................................................ 4

Matters of significance........................................................................................ 4

Bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate.............................................4

Standard of reports.............................................................................................. 4

C hapter 1

Annual reports of departm ents............................................................................... 5

Department of Defence........................................................................................... 5

Military justice system........................................................................................ 5

Matters relating to the operations and performance of the department...............5 Defence's financial statements......................................................................... 5

Strategic Reform Program............................................................................... 7

Summary.......................................................................................................... 7

Department of Foreign Affairs............................................................................... 8

Summary.......................................................................................................... 9

Department of Veterans' Affairs............................................................................. 9

C h ap ter 2

Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies............................................................................................13

Defence portfolio...................................................................................................13

Defence Materiel Organisation.......................................................................... 13

Australian War Memorial...................................................................................15

Other reports.......................................................................................................16

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Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio..................................................................... 17

Australian Agency for International Development........................................... 17

AN AO performance audit.............................................................................. 18

Australian Trade Commission........................................................................... 19

Other reports...................................................................................................... 21

Appendix 1

Annual reports referred to the committee...........................................................23

Defence portfolio.................................................................................................. 23

Departments....................................................................................................... 23

Statutory authorities........................................................................................... 23

Non-statutory authorities and government companies..................................... 24

Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio..................................................................... 24

Department........................................................................................................ 24

Statutory authorities........................................................................................... 24

Non-statutory authorities and government companies..................................... 24

A ppendix 2

Compliance table of the annual reports referred to the committee for scrutiny for the period 2008-2009.........................................................................25

Appendix 3

Reporting requirements and guidelines............................................ 33

Departmental reports............................................................................................ 33

Authority for requirements................................................................................ 33

Commencement and reporting period............................................................... 33

Application..................................................................................................... 33

Timetable........................................................................................................... 34

Commonwealth authorities and companies.......................................................... 34

Non-statutory bodies............................................................................................ 35

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Preface

Introduction

1. The committee is responsible for examining annual reports of departments and agencies within two portfolios: Defence (including the Department of Veterans' Affairs), and Foreign Affairs and Trade.1

2. Under Standing Order 25(20), the committee is required to report on annual reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year, and on reports tabled by 30 April each year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year.

3. The standing order states:

Annual reports of departments and agencies shall stand referred to the committees in accordance with an allocation of departments and agencies in a resolution of the Senate. Each committee shall:

a) Examine each annual report referred to it and report to the Senate whether the report is apparently satisfactory;

b) Consider in more detail, and report to the Senate on, each annual report which is not apparently satisfactory, and on the other annual reports which it selects for more detailed consideration;

c) Investigate and report to the Senate on any lateness in the presentation of annual reports;

d) In considering an annual report, take into account any relevant remarks about the report made in debate in the Senate;

e) If the committee so determines, consider annual reports of departments and budget-related agencies in conjunction with examination of estimates;

f) Report on annual reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year, and on annual reports tabled by 30 April each year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year;

g) Draw to the attention of the Senate any significant matters relating to the operations and performance of the bodies furnishing the annual reports; and

h) Report to the Senate each year whether there are any bodies which do not present annual reports to the Senate and which should present such reports.

1 See Appendix 1 for a list of all departments and agencies under these portfolios.

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2 Preface

Role of annual reports

4. Annual reports place a great deal of information about government departments and agencies on the public record. Accordingly, the tabling of annual reports continues to be an important element of accountability to Parliament. The information provided in annual reports assists Parliament in the effective examination of the performance of departments and agencies and the administration of government programs. Indeed, as noted in the Requirements for Annual Reports'.

Annual reports serve to inform the Parliament (through the responsible Minister), other stakeholders, educational and research institutions, the media and the general public about the performance of departments in relation to services provided. Annual reports are a key reference document

and a document for internal management. They form part of the historical record.

Annual reports and Portfolio Budget Statements (PBSs) are the principal formal accountability mechanisms between government and departments and from departments through (or on behalf of) government to the Parliament.2

Assessment of annual reports

5. The annual reports are examined by the committee to determine whether they are timely and 'apparently satisfactory'.3 The committee considers whether the reports comply with the relevant requirements for the preparation of annual reports of departments and authorities.

6. The requirements are set down in the following instruments:

• for portfolio departments: Public Sendee Act 1999, subsections 63(2) and 70(2), and the Requirements for annual reports for departments, executive agencies and FMA Act bodies, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 17 June 2009;

• for Commonwealth authorities and companies: the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997; in particular, the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report of Operations) Orders 2002; and

• for non-statutory bodies: the guidelines are contained in the government response to the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations on Non-statutory Bodies, Senate Hansard, 8 December 1987, vol sl24, pp. 2643-45 (requirements were modified in 1987).

2 Requirements for annual reports fo r departments, executive agencies and FMA Act bodies, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 17 June 2009, p. 2. Also at www.dpmc.gov.au/guidelines/index.cfm

3 See Appendix 2 for a compliance table of the reports referred to the committee for scrutiny.

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Preface 3

Excerpts of the reporting requirements are at Appendix 3.

Annual reports considered

7. The annual reports of the following organisations have been examined by the committee:

Defence portfolio

Army and Air Force Canteen Service (trading as Frontline Defence Services) Australian Military Forces Relief Trust Fund Australian Strategic Policy Institute Limited Australian War Memorial

Defence, Department of Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Authority Defence Housing Australia Defence Materiel Organisation Military Superannuation and Benefits Board Repatriation Medical Authority

Royal Australian Air Force Veterans' Residences Trust Fund Royal Australian Air Force Welfare Trust Fund Royal Australian Navy Central Canteens Board Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund

Veterans' Affairs, Department of Veterans' Review Board

Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio

Australian Agency for International Development Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office Australian Trade Commission

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Foreign Affairs and Trade, Department of.

General comments on the annual reports

Timeliness in tabling reports

8. A table detailing the dates relating to the timeliness of presentation is at Appendix 2. The committee found that a number of agencies tabled their reports up to three weeks after the required reporting time. No explanations were given.

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4 Preface

Comments made in the Senate

9. The committee is obliged, under Senate Standing Order 25(20)(d), to consider any remarks made about these reports in the Senate. There were no comments in the Senate on any of these reports.

Matters o f significance

10. In accordance with S025, the committee is to note any significant matters relating to the operations and performance of the bodies presenting their annual report. The committee found no matters of significance relating to the operations and performance of the bodies presenting their report. It draws attention, however, to findings contained in the Audits o f the Financial Statements o f Australian Government Entities for the Period Ended 30 June 2009.

11. The audit found that the Department of Defence had resolved two significant and 14 moderate audit risk issues previously identified. At the conclusion of the 2008­ 2009 audit, one significant and 23 moderate risk issues remained outstanding.4 These matters are mentioned in detail in the relevant sections of this report.

Bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate

12. The committee is required to report to the Senate each year on whether there are any bodies that do not present annual reports to the Senate and which should present such reports. The committee is satisfied that there are no bodies, within these portfolios, which do not meet their reporting requirements to the Senate.

Standard of reports

13. The committee found all reports to be generally of a high standard. They effectively described the function, activities and financial positions of the various departments and agencies. The committee therefore finds all of the annual reports to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

4 Australian National Audit Office, Audits o f the Financial Statements ofAustralian Government Entities for the Period Ended 30 June 2009, Audit Report No. 17, 2009-2010, p. 88.

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Chapter 1

Annual reports of departments Department of Defence

1.1 The Defence Annual Report 2008-2009 was tabled in the Senate on 17 November 2009.

Military justice system

1.2 The committee noted in its 2009 report that one of the final recommendations to be implemented in response to the Senate committee's report into military justice, is the requirement 'to provide for periodic independent review of the military justice system by a suitably qualified eminent person or persons'.1

1.3 The resulting independent review team was led by former Chief Justice of NSW, Sir Laurence Street CK KCMG QC, and former Chief of the Air Force, Air Marshal Les Fisher AO (Ret'd). The report on the first review was handed to the Chief of the Defence Force on 23 January 2009.

The review team identified a number of areas where further improvements could be made to the reformed military justice system and made 49 recommendations to address these issues and ensure the system is better positioned for the future. The final report was publicly released in March

2009.

The Defence response and implementation plan for the report was considered by the Chiefs of Service Committee (COSC) on 26 March 2009. Of the 49 recommendations, 45 were agreed and a comprehensive plan for implementation of the recommendations over a three year period was

approved. Progress will be reported to the COSC on a quarterly basis.1 2

Matters relating to the operations and performance o f the department

Defence's financial statements

1.4 The committee is required to note any significant matters relating to the operations and performance of the bodies presenting their annual reports. The committee draws attention to the department's financial statements.

1.5 It is mandatory under section 57 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 for the annual report to include a copy of the audited financial statements and the Auditor-General's report thereon.

1 Department of Defence Annual Report 2007-2008, p. 127. See Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee's Refonns to Australia's military justice system, First progress report, Appendix 3, The Committee's recommendations and the Government's response, recommendation 35, p. 65.

2 Department of Defence Annual Report 2008-2009, pp. 158-159.

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6 Chapter 1—Annual reports of departments

1.6 Over recent years, Defence's financial statements have shown significant deficiencies.3 The committee notes that this financial year, Defence achieved unqualified financial statements. The Defence report states:

In addition to seeking deep reform, Defence worked hard to improve its transparency and accountability mechanisms this year. Defence achieved unqualified financial statements, and established a new Freedom of Information and Records Management Branch to ensure that we are well positioned to implement a pro-disclosure culture.4

1.7 The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) performed financial statement audits on all agencies for the period 2008-2009. The audit report for the Department of Defence states:

An unqualified audit report was issues on 15 September 2009. This is the second consecutive year that an unqualified audit report has been issued for the department. This represents a significant achievement and is the culmination of continued and sustained effort over the past several years by Defence to address significant control deficiencies previously reported.

During the final phase of the 2008-2009 audit, the ANAO found that Defence had resolved two significant and 14 moderate risk issues previously identified. At the conclusion of the 2008-2009 audit, one significant and 23 moderate risk issues remained outstanding.5

1.8 The areas where significant or moderate risks remain outstanding, are:

• Financial Management Framework

• Logistics Management General Stores Inventory and Specialist Military Equipment

• Asset Management (general and SME)

• Financial Management Information System

• Purchase to Pay systems and processes

• Human Resource Management, and

3 Department of Defence Annual Report 2003-2004, pp. 3, 20; Department of Defence Annual Report 2004-2005. p. 40; Department of Defence Annual Report 2005-2006, p. 6; Department of Defence Annual Report 2006-2007, pp. 32 and 285.

4 Department of Defence Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 3.

5 Australian National Audit Office, Audit o f the financial statements of Australian Government Entities for the period ended 30 June 2009, Audit Report no 17, 2009-2010, p. 88.

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Chapter 1—Annual reports of departments 7

• Information Technology Governance.6

1.9 The committee looks forward to reviewing these results against next year's audit of financial statements. In particular, the committee is interested in seeing progress made with regard to the outstanding matter of management and oversight of service bureau arrangements between DMO and Defence.7

Strategic Reform Program

1.10 The committee notes that the roll out of the Strategic Reform Program, 2008­ 2009 was 'the start of significant, deep and holistic refonn in every part of Defence'. The Secretary of Defence Dr Ian Watt, AO, and Chief of the Defence Force, Air Marshal Angus Houston AC, AFC, in their overview, stated:

The Strategic Reform Program is the most far reaching reform ever undertaken by Defence. It involves improvements to many areas of Defence, from the way we plan and develop strategy to the way we procure goods and services. The Strategic Reform Program is a long-term program,

a decade long campaign, that will change Defence culture and deliver sustainable improvements in the way Defence conducts business. This program will be challenging, but we are confident that the men and women of Defence will be able to achieve this program of reform...

As a result of the Strategic Reform Program Defence will deliver gross savings from efficiencies and cost reductions over the coming decade of around $20 billion. This money will be reinvested to deliver Force 2030...

In implementing the Strategic Reform Program, we have drawn on the lessons from previous reform programs in Defence, including the need for strong internal and external governance. A key development in the area of transparency and accountability is regular progress reporting to

Government, and the formation of the external Defence Strategic Reform Advisory Board.8

Summary

1.11 The committee finds Defence's 2008-2009 annual report to be both an infonnative and a well-produced account of the department's activities over the past year and that it meets all the requirements for departmental annual reports.

6 Australian National Audit Office, Audit o f the financial statements of Australian Government Entities for the period ended 30 June 2009, Audit Report no 17, 2009-2010, pp. 89-92.

7 Australian National Audit Office, Audit o f the financial statements o f Australian Government Entities fo r the period ended 30 June 2009, Audit Report no 17, 2009-2010, p. 89. See also summary of audit findings-DMO, relating to shared service arrangements, p. 96.

8 Department of Defence Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 3.

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8 Chapter 1—Annual reports of departments

Department of Foreign Affairs

1.12 The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Annual Report 2008-2009 was tabled in the Senate on 28 October 2009.

1.13 In the Acting Secretary's review, Ms Gillian Bird stated that 'the international environment in 2008-2009 was testing':

The crisis in financial markets severely affected the global financial system and economy, threatening Australia's prosperity. This event gave rise to an important development in global architecture with the establishment of the

G20 Leaders' Summit to coordinate the international response to the crisis. The Afghanistan conflict and the enduring threats of the nuclear weapons proliferation and terrorism were among the security challenges that Australia faced.9

1.14 The Acting Secretary stated that DFAT supported the Government's efforts to promote G20 outcomes and to strengthen regional security and prosperity through regional institutions such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the East Asia Summit (EAS):

We helped focus APEC on the urgent need for a Doha Round outcome to support global economic recovery through further trade liberalisation. We worked successfully to secure a statement by EAS leaders in June 2009 backing the coordinated international response to the global economic crisis.10 1 1

1.15 The committee notes that the department 'worked intensively to support the Minister for Trade's commitment to achieving an ambitious outcome to the Doha Round negotiations':

...that would accelerate global economic recovery and improve market access for Australian agriculture, industrial products and services. We organised a Cairns Group Ministerial Meeting in Bali and a trade ministers' gathering in Paris in June 2009, both chaired by the Minister for Trade, at which he secured agreements from key WTO members to intensify

engagement on the Doha Round.

The department continued to actively pursue Australia's trade interests through the WTO dispute settlement system. We led the whole-of- govemment task force to defend Australia's position in the dispute brought by New Zealand against Australia's quarantine measures regarding the importation of apples from New Zealand.11

9 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 3.

10 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 3.

11 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 7.

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Chapter 1—Annual reports of departments 9

1.16 The committee notes that the department is improving its records management systems with the implementation of a successful pilot program for a new electronic document and records management system. Ms Bird stated that the department continued to manage its resources efficiently and flexibly, achieving efficiencies and higher productivity through careful prioritising and regular review of budget allocations.12

Summary

1.17 The committee finds Foreign Affairs and Trade's annual report to be both an informative and a well-produced account of the department's activities over the past year and that it meets all the requirements for departmental annual reports.

Department of Veterans' Affairs

1.18 The Department of Veterans' Affairs Annual Report 2008-2009 was presented in the Senate on 28 October 2009.

1.19 The annual report for Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) also includes the annual reports of the Repatriation Commission, the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (MRCC), and the National Treatment Monitoring Committee (NTMC). The Secretary of the department is also the President of the

Repatriation Commission and Chair of both the MRCC and the NTMC.13

1.20 In the President/Secretary's overview, Mr Ian Campbell, stated that 2008­ 2009 was both a demanding and rewarding year for the Repatriation Commission, the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission and the Department of Veterans' Affairs:

DVA is well positioned to delivery government's agenda for the veterans community and keep aware of, and responsive to, emerging policy issues the veterans community is changing, however, so if the Department is to

remain successful, it must also change and adopt a structure that provides flexibility and scalability, while being responsive to the continual changes in the veterans community.

Significantly, DVA will have responsibility for Second World War and Korean War veterans and widows for another 20 years, while veterans of the Vietnam War will still be with the Department in 40 years time.

Moreover, there are many young soldiers, some of them women, returning

12 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 12.

13 Department of Veterans' Affairs Annual Report 2008-2009; see pp. 8-9, for the entities covered by this portfolio, a summary of their roles, and, where applicable, their enabling legislation.

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10 Chapter 1—Annual reports of departments

from multiple deployments. Clearly, the Department must move with the times and face the challenges before it.14

1.21 Mr Campbell further explained that 'to encompass the changing veterans community, new forums have been established for veterans and members of the ex­ service community to consult on government operations and decisions'. The Ex­ service Organisation Round Table, is a new high level strategic forum, which will address issues of strategic importance to the ex-service and defence communities and advise on policy and service delivery issues. Along with the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council, the forum will ensure veterans will have input directly to the highest level of government.15

1.22 The committee notes that the Department has implemented a number of longer-term strategies to ensure it remains financially sustainable. Mr Campbell explained that:

These initiatives include: a five-year Strategic Financial Plan; a 10-year Capital Asset replacement Strategy that integrates asset planning with strategic business planning processes; an ongoing review of the Department's Internal Budget allocation process and its alignment with workload indicators; and the rollout of online financial management

framework training across the department.16

1.23 The committee also notes that a number of reviews were commenced and completed throughout 2008-2009:

• F— 111 Deseal/reseal Senate committee inquiry. The report was tabled in Parliament on 25 June 2009 and made 18 recommendations to government.

• The government accepted the recommendations of Professor David Dunt's independent Study into Suicide in the Ex-service Community and 49 of the 52 recommendations of the Review o f Mental Health Care in the ADF and Transition Through Discharge.

• The government's review of the recommendations of the 2003 Clarke Review of Veterans' Entitlements elicited more that 470 submissions.

• In April 2009, the government commenced its review of the military compensation arrangements.17

14 Department of Veterans' Affairs Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 3.

15 Department of Veterans' Affairs Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 3.

16 Department of Veterans' Affairs Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 3.

17 Department ofVeterans' Affairs Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 4.

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Chapter 1— Annual reports of departments 11

1.24 In conclusion, the committee finds that the Department of Veterans' Affairs has submitted a comprehensive and well designed annual report that meets all the reporting requirements for a Commonwealth department.

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Chapter 2

Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies Defence portfolio

Defence Materiel Organisation

2.1 The annual report of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) is contained in volume 2 of Defence's annual report. It was tabled in the Senate on 17 November 2009.

2.2 On 1 July 2005, the organisation became a prescribed agency under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997. It has a CEO with statutory responsibilities and authority under the Act. The CEO also has 'joint responsibilities to the Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Force under section 9A of the Defence Act

1903 and is delegated significant powers from the Secretary to manage and allocate staff resources under the Public Service Act 1999'. The majority of its funding comes from Defence under agency agreements.1

2.3 DMO is one of Australia's largest project management organisations. Its business 'is complex and involves purchasing, upgrading and maintaining a range of specialist military and other equipment. It is typified by high-end technology and highly complex project and systems integration, and demands a mature approach to

risk management'.1 2

2.4 The Chief Executive Officer, Dr Stephen Gumley, noted that the achievement of Government's expectations for the DMO represents an enonnous responsibility:

The ADF and the Australian community are entitled to expect the DMO to operate in a professional, transparent and accountable manner, and to continue to improve its performance in the delivery of Defence materiel.

I am pleased to report that in 2008-2009, the DMO made important progress in key projects and achieved its acquisition budget (which, in the absence of project cost increases, is a surrogate for on-schedule delivery);

delivered a five per cent saving in the cost of ownership to the Government of existing fleets; implemented reforms that have improved both the transparency of our major projects and the way they are managed; progressed the professionalisation of our workforce; and supported

important industry skilling and capacity building programs.3

1 Defence Annual Report 2008-09, Volume two, Defence Materiel Organisation, p. 6.

2 Defence Annual Report 2008-09, Volume two, Defence Materiel Organisation, p. 8.

3 Defence Annual Report 2008-09, Volume two, Defence Materiel Organisation, pp. 2-3.

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14 Chapter 2—Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies

2.5 Dr Gumley said that DMO's financial performance continues to be excellent, 'with unqualified accounts and a significant reduction of $635m in unearned revenue from Defence for sustainment and acquisition contracts over the last twelve months'.4

2.6 The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) performed financial statement audits on all agencies for the period 2008-2009. The committee notes that in the audit findings for Defence and DMO, the Audit Office commented on the shared service arrangements:

A Share Service Agreement, between DMO and Defence, was signed in June 2006. This agreement was to be updated on an annual basis to reflect any changes or evolution in the activities or the environment of the

respective agencies.

The ANAO continues to identify moderate risk issues regarding Bureau Service and shared services arrangements between Defence and DMO over key financial systems, the human resources management system (PMKeys), supply chain systems and processes and supporting IT general controls.

Current arrangements do not provide mechanisms that allow the DMO to obtain necessary assurance, from Defence, over the effectiveness and adequacy of controls in the financial management information system, the human resource management system and the supporting IT general

controls, such as systems security and change management. The DMO requires assurance over the integrity of transactions process by these systems as they are reported in the DMO's financial statements.5

2.7 The committee looks forward to reviewing these results against next year's audit of financial statements.6 7

2.8 Dr Gumley noted that DMO was heavily involved in supporting and implementing a very intensive set of reforms. The reforms included contributions to the development of the White Paper, the Government-commissioned Defence Procurement and Sustainment Review (the Mortimer Review), the Defence Budget Audit (the Pappas Review) and the Strategic Reform Program (SRF) announced in June 2009, in response to the White paper.

Both the Mortimer and Pappas Reviews acknowledged that significant reforms have occurred since the formation of the DMO, but also stressed that reform must continue. The Mortimer Review reforms followed two themes—imposing commercial discipline on Defence procurement and

4 Defence Annual Report 2008-09, Volume two, Defence Materiel Organisation, p. 3.

5 Australian National Audit Office, Audit o f the financial statements ofAustralian Government Entities for the period ended 30 June 2009, Audit Report no 17, 2009— 2010, p. 96.

6 Australian National Audit Office, Audit o f the financial statements o f Australian Government Entities for the period ended 30 June 2009, Audit Report no 17, 2009-2010, p. 96. See also summary of audit findings-Defence, relating to shared service arrangements, p. 86.

7 Defence Annual Report 2008-09, Volume two, Defence Materiel Organisation, pp. 3-4.

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Chapter 2—Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies 15

sustainment processes and making the DMO more businesslike, while the Pappas Review detailed strategies for improving efficiency, especially in sustainment and inventory.

In 2008-2009, we started implementing several of the Mortimer Reviews' recommendations, including establishing project charters to improve the accountability and authority of project managers, and establishing an office to find ways to improve the efficient delivery of sustainment.8

2.9 The committee finds that DMO's annual report provides a comprehensive coverage of the organisation's activities during 2008-2009. The committee considers that DMO fully met its respective reporting requirements.

Australian War Memorial

2.10 The Australian War Memorial Annual Report 2008-2009 was tabled in the Senate on 27 October 2009. The Australian War Memorial (AWM) is a statutory authority within the Veterans' Affairs portfolio and functions in accordance with the requirements of the Australian War Memorial Act 1980 and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (CAC) Act 1997.9

2.11 The purpose of the AWM is 'to commemorate the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war'.10 1 1

2.12 In his report as Chair, General Peter Cosgrove AC MC (Ret'd), stated that the year 'was characterised, yet again, by the high standard of achievement that the Council has always been able to expect from the Director and staff of the Australian War Memorial'.11 General Cosgrove stated further that:

Building on the great success of the Conflicts 1945 to today galleries, a further significant addition was made to exhibits in ANZAC Hall in November. The exhibition Over the front: the Great War in the air features five restored First World War aircraft. Most of theses had not been on

display for some time, and their restoration is a tribute to the wealth of skill and experience possessed by the Memorial's specialist conservation staff.12

2.13 The committee notes that the Memorial's current major construction program is progressing well. The Chair explained:

The Memorial's current major construction program involves the creation of a new cafe facility, and an underground caipark with 200 parking spaces in the Eastern Precinct. This has moved on well past last year's planning

phase, with the first sod being turned just after ANZAC Day. Construction and development of the site is now well underway... Progress to date on the Eastern Precinct has been excellent and completion early next year will

8 Defence Annual Report 2008-09, Volume two, Defence Materiel Organisation, pp. 3-4. 9 Australian War Memorial Annual Report 2008-2009, pp. 51-53, 56-57 10 Australian War Memorial Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 9. 11 Australian War Memorial Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 1.

12 Australian War Memorial Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 1.

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enable the long-awaited National Service memorial to be built there. Its dedication is planned for late 2010.

The completion of this project will realise the Memorial's current site master plan and result in a noble aesthetic, and cohesive landscape setting for the National Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.13

2.14 The Chairman stated that redevelopment and update of existing galleries in approaching the 2014-2018 period have a high priority:

This brings me to comment that the Memorial's funding base has changed owing to the evolution in asset depreciation policy and the need to absorb the efficiency dividend. The funding base will need to be strengthened. Reflecting the reality of current economic circumstances, the Memorial has had to leave some staff positions vacant and to make reductions in some programs. Because this is a memorial and national institution, some cost­

saving and revenue-raising options are not open to Council. These include charging for entry and closing regularly on some days.

However, in facing the current economic demands I can report that the Memorial is fortunate in its high standards of corporate governance.14

2.15 The committee finds that the AWM's annual report provides a comprehensive coverage of the organisation's activities during 2008-2009. It is an informative and well-produced document, which allows the reader to access information easily. The committee concludes that this report complies with all reporting requirements for statutory authorities.

Other reports

2.16 Other Defence portfolio authorities, agencies and/or companies which had their annual reports examined by the committee, but were not otherwise commented upon in this edition, include:

Army and Air Force Canteen Service (trading as Frontline Defence Services) Australian Military Forces Relief Trust Fund Australian Strategic Policy Institute Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme Defence Housing Australia Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme Repatriation Medical Authority Royal Australian Air Force Veterans' Residences Trust Fund Royal Australian Air Force Welfare Trust Fund Royal Australian Navy Central Canteens Board

13 Australian War Memorial Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 1. 14 Australian War Memorial Annual Report 2008-2009, pp. 1-2.

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Chapter 2—Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies 17

Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund Veterans' Review Board.

2.17 The committee considers that all the annual reports of the above-mentioned organisations fully met their respective reporting requirements.

Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio

Australian Agency for International Development

2.18 The Australian Agency for International Development Annual Report 2008­ 2009 was tabled in the Senate on 27 October 2009.

2.19 AusAID's role is to manage the Australian government's overseas aid program. It provides advice and support to the minister and parliamentary secretaries on development policy and plan and coordinate poverty reduction activities in partnership with developing countries. The objective is 'to assist developing countries

reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, in line with Australia's national interest. Australia's development assistance focus on poverty is guided by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the internationally agreed targets for poverty reduction'.15

2.20 AusAID is an administratively autonomous agency within the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio. The Director General reports directly to the Minister for Foreign Affairs on all aspects of aid policy and operations and is responsible for the agency's financial and personnel management.16

2.21 In the Acting Director General's review, Mr Peter Baxter, stated that the past twelve months brought challenges in promoting progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and furthering stability in developing countries:

Increased and unstable food and fuel prices meant that many people in developing countries were trapped in, or fell into, poverty. The global recession exacerbated these problems as services provided by governments came under pressure as revenue declined.

AusAID acted decisively to help developing countries maintain progress towards the MDGs and position themselves for a return to growth and development. AusAID established a Global Recession Taskforce to coordinate a comprehensive aid response which reviewed existing aid programs and assessed needs. The taskforce developed an action plan

which prioritises employment generation and the restoration of broad-based economic growth, supports basic service delivery and protects vulnerable communities.17

2.22 In its last report, the committee commented on the first Annual Review of Development Effectiveness, a product of the Office of Development Effectiveness,

15 AusAID Annual Report 2008-2009, p. iii. 16 AusAID Annual Report 2008-2009, p. iii. 17 AusAID Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 2.

171

18 Chapter 2—Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies

which was tabled in Parliament in March 2008. The second Annual Review of Development Effectiveness was tabled in August 2009.

The review found that AusAID has improved the effectiveness of its aid program and that the program is well managed and continues to attain good results. The review emphasised a need to protect progress made in reducing poverty, to update the aid program's operational framework to embed effectiveness principles, and to redefine how the aid program engages with civil society, in the context of the global recession and the planned increase in the aid program.18

2.23 The committee notes that AusAID continued its corporate reform during 2008-2009. The agency review, Building on the 2010 blueprint: a reform agenda for 2015, builds on the direction set by the AusAID 2010 Director General's blueprint in early 2007:

...[It] provides a clear reform road map towards and responding to the Accra Agenda, the Annual Review of Development Effectiveness, and scaling-up priorities. Following the review, an operational policy and management framework for the agency is being developed. AusAID is also strengthening

its workforce planning approaches and professional development programs to ensure that it is well equipped to meet its aid objectives in accordance with best practice.19

ANAOperformance audit

2.24 The committee draws attention to a recent ANAO audit report on AusAID's management of Australia's aid program. It identified program running costs as an important area of the aid program's funding that 'is not yet transparent'. The audit suggested that over the last decade AusAID has 'increasingly funded staff and other administration costs using the administered appropriation, on the basis of their proximity to aid'. This practice was based on AusAID's interpretation of government

guidelines. The audit found that:

AusAID's approach to classifying expenses is not in line with conventional practices, and the extent of use of aid funds in this matter is not transparent. It is, therefore, difficult for external stakeholders to hold AusAID to account on the costs that it confiols.20

18 AusAID Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 10. 19 AusAID Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 10. 20 Australian National Audit Office, AusAID's Management o f the Expanding Australian Aid Program, The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), The Auditor-

General, Audit Report No. 15, 2009-10, Performance Audit, p. 22.

172

Chapter 2—Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies 19

2.25 It concluded:

Clarifying the classification of AusAID's expenses would improve transparency and accountability of aid program expenditure, in a way that maintains the integrity of the budget system.21

2.26 To improve transparency and accountability for aid program expenditure, the AN AO recommended that AusAID:

• obtain clarification from the Department of Finance and Deregulation on its use of administered expenses for departmental purposes; and

• if the current approach to classifying administered expenses is to be continued, disclose, in its annual report, details of the program, role and cost of Australian Public service and locally engaged staff funded from the administered appropriation, as well as travel, accommodation, information technology and other administration costs paid from this source.22

2.27 AusAID agreed with this recommendation and the Department of Finance and Deregulation supported it. In this regard, the committee looks forward to a change in practice consistent with the ANAO's recommendation.

2.28 The committee finds that AusAID's annual report provides a comprehensive coverage of the organisation's activities during 2008-2009. As usual the committee considers it to be generally of high quality: it is informative and well produced. The committee concludes that this report complies with all reporting requirements for

non-statutory authorities.

Australian Trade Commission

2.29 The Australian Trade Commission Annual Report 2008-2009 was tabled in the Senate on 27 October 2009.

2.30 The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) is a statutory authority established by the Australian Trade Commission Act 1985 and is responsible to the Minister for Trade and the Australian Government. On 1 July 2006, following amendments to the Australian Trade Commission Act 1985 and the Export Market Development Grants Act 1997, Austrade became an agency under the Financial

Management and Accountability Act 1997 and the Public Sendee Act 1999 and is managed by a Chief Executive Officer.23

21 Australian National Audit Office, AusAID's Management o f the Expanding Australian Aid Program, The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), The Auditor- General, Audit Report No. 15, 2009-10, Performance Audit, p. 22.

22 Australian National Audit Office, AusAID's Management o f the Expanding Australian Aid Program, The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), The Auditor- General, Audit Report No. 15, 2009-10, Performance Audit, p. 24.

23 Australian Trade Commission Annual Report 2006-2007, p. 6; and Australian Trade Commission Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 5.

173

20 Chapter 2—Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies

2.31 The annual report states that Austrade's mission is 'to contribute to national prosperity by promoting productive two-way investment and assisting more Australians to succeed in export and international business'.24

2.32 The Chief Executive Officer, Mr Peter O'Byme, in his 'year in review', noted that during the year the global economy experienced a dramatic change:

...moving rapidly from a period of synchronised growth to where many economies were in, or were close to, recession. There was a significant fall in global exports in the second half of 2008 and in early 2009.

Australia has withstood the worst of this global downturn. Our export results in key sectors have remained resilient. Australia has been further assisted by foreign direct investment (FDI).

In 2009, the Government reinforced its support for the exporter community, providing $50 million in additional funding for the Export Market Development Scheme (EMDG), helping exporters defend market share and support jobs during the downturn. Demand for the EMDG scheme continued to be high, with 4,105 grants worth $185.9 million paid in 2008­ 2009. The Government also provided additional funding for Austrade to help Australia businesses achieve a greater share of the international clean energy market.25

2.33 Mr O'Byme explained that Austrade worked with over 15,600 Australia businesses in 2008-2009, with 5,908 of these businesses acknowledging Austrade's support in achieving international and investment outcomes.26

2.34 The committee notes that in July 2008, Austrade resumed responsibility for attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment into Australia, restmcturing its activities to deliver an integrated trade and investment service.27

2.35 Mr O'Byme also stated that, as part of the whole-of-government approach to trade and investment development, Austrade liaised closely with other government agencies on competitiveness issues, market-access barriers and restrictions:

During 2008-2009, Austrade provided market information on the impact of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements and worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to promote the gains from new free trade

agreements with ASEAN and Chile. Cooperation with state and territory governments included supporting the Council of Australian Government (COAG) Ministerial Council on International Trade, chaired by Minister for Trade, the Hon Simon Crean MP.28

24 Australian Trade Commission Annual Report 2008-2009, see inside cover and p. 2. 25 Australian Trade Commission Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 2.

26 Australian Trade Commission Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 2

27 Australian Trade Commission Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 2.

28 Australian Trade Commission Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 3.

174

Chapter 2—Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies 21

2.36 The committee is satisfied with Austrade's tables which describe its performance and outcomes for the year and its descriptions of accountability and corporate governance requirements.29

2.37 The committee finds that Austrade's annual report provides a comprehensive coverage of the organisation's activities during 2008-2009. The committee concludes that this report complies with all reporting requirements for statutory authorities.

Other reports

2.38 Other Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio authorities and/or agencies which had their annual reports examined by the committee but were otherwise not commented upon in this edition, include:

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation.

2.39 The committee considers that all the annual reports of the abovementioned organisations fully met their respective reporting requirements.

Senator Mark Bishop

Chair

29 Australian Trade Commission Annual Report 2008-2009, pp. 9M8; 144-168.

175

176

Appendix 1

Annual reports referred to the committee Defence portfolio

Departments

Department of Defence

Department of Veterans' Affairs, Repatriation Commission and the National Treatment Monitoring Committee (NATMOC)

Statutory authorities

Army and Air Force Canteen Service Board of Management

Australian Military Court

Australian Military Forces Relief Trust Fund

Australian Strategic Policy Institute Limited

Australian War Memorial

Commonwealth Ombudsman and Defence Force Ombudsman

Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal

Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Authority

Defence Housing Authority

Defence Materiel Organisation

Director of Military Prosecutions

Judge Advocate General

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Office of the (not tabled)

Military Superannuation and Benefits Board of Trustees No 1

Repatriation Medical Authority

Royal Australian Air Force Veterans' Residences Trust Fund

Royal Australian Navy Central Canteens Fund

Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund

Veterans' Review Board

177

24 Appendix 1—Annual reports referred to the Committee

A’on-statutory authorities and government companies

ASC Pty Ltd, formerly known as Australian Submarine Corporation Pty Limited

Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio

Department

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Statutory authorities

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research

Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office

Australian Trade Commission (Austrade)

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation

Non-statutory authorities and government companies

Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID)

Appendix 2

Compliance table of the annual reports referred to the committee for scrutiny for the period 2008-2009

Scrutiny o f reports tabled by 31 October 2009

D ep a rtm en t/a g en cy

E n a b lin g le g isla tio n

an d

D a te on letter o f tr a n sm itta l

@ D a te rep o rt su b m itte d to m in ister (if k n o w n )

* D a te r ep o rt

p r e se n te d to P r e sid e n t

# D a te ta b le d in

th e S en a te

Λ D a te ta b le d in H /R e p r e se n ta tiv e s

tim e lin e ss % D a te r ep o rt

r e ceiv ed by m in ister (if k n o w n )

Departments

Defence

[Vol 1]

Public Service Act 1999, $63 (1).

To be tabled by 31 October.

Not dated # 17 Nov 09

Defence Materiel Organisation

[Vol 2]

Prescribed agency1 under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997,

and the Public Service Act 1999, s63 (1).

Not dated # 17 Nov 09

To be tabled by 31 October.

Foreign Affairs and Trade

[Vol 1]

Public Service Act 1999, s63 (1). To be tabled by 31 October.

14 Oct 09 # 28 Oct 09

1 A prescribed agency is an agency established by regulation under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997. It provides financial management authority to, and required accountability by, the Chief Executive of an agency. An agency can be prescribed but not be an independent entity under the Public Sendee Act 1999. This is the case for the DMO, which is prescribed and so independent

under the FMA Act but is part of the Department of Defence for the purposes of the Public Service Act 1999, Defence Materiel Organisation Annual Report, 2005-2006, p. 186.

179

26 Appendix 2—Scrutiny of reports tabled by 31 October 200

Scrutiny o f reports tabled by 31 October 2009

D e p a r tm e n t/a g e n c y

E n a b lin g le g isla tio n

and

tim e lin e ss

D a te o n letter o f tr a n sm itta l

@ D a te r e p o r t su b m itte d to m in iste r (if k n o w n )

% D a te r e p o r t r e ceiv ed b y m in iste r (if k n o w n )

* D a te rep o rt p r e se n te d to P r e sid e n t

# D a te ta b led in th e S e n a te

Λ D a te ta b led in H /R ep resen tatives

Departments

Veterans' Affairs Public Service Act 1999, s63 (1) and (2); Financial Management and Accountability Act

1997, s45 and s57(7); Defence Service Homes Act 1918, s50B; War- Graves Act 1980, si3(1)

06 Oct 09 # 28 Oct 09

Incorporating the reports o f ...

To be tabled by 31 October.

Repatriation Commission and

Veterans ’ Entitlement Act 1986, s215 06 Oct 09

The National Treatment Monitoring Committee (NATMOC)

Veterans' Entitlement Act 1986, s90A

[Both reports to be tabled by 31 October.]

180

Appendix 2— Scrutiny of reports tabled by 31 October 2009 27

Scrutiny o f reports tabled by 31 October 2009

D ep a r tm e n t/a g e n c y E n a b lin g leg isla tio n an d

tim e lin e ss

D a te o n letter o f tr a n sm itta l

@ D a te r ep o rt su b m itte d to m in iste r (if k n o w n )

% D a te r ep o rt r e c e iv e d by m in iste r (if k n o w n )

* D a te r ep o rt

p r e se n te d to P r e sid e n t

# D a te ta b le d in th e

S en a te

Λ D a te ta b le d in H /R e p r e se n ta tiv e s

D e fe n c e — sta tu to ry a u th o ritie s

Army and Air Force Canteen Service, trading as Frontline Defence Services

Established by regulations under the Defence Force Act 1903; and,

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, s9. Minister to table within

15 days of receiving report (by 31 Oct).

17 Sep 09 # 27 Oct 09

Australian Military Forces Relief Trust Fund

Services Trust Funds Act 1947; and, Commonwealth Authorities and

Companies Act 1997, s9. Minister to table within 15 days of receiving report (by 31 Oct).

11 Sep 09 # 27 Oct 09

Australian Strategic Policy Institute Limited

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997,

s36. Minister to table within 15 days of receiving report (by 31 Oct).

22 Sep 09 # 27 Oct 09

Australian War Memorial Commonwealth Authorities and

Companies Act 1997, s9. Minister to table within 15 days of receiving report (by 31 Oct).

12 Aug 09 # 27 Oct 09

181

28 Appendix 2— Scrutiny of reports tabled by 31 October 2009

Scrutiny o f reports tabled by 31 October 2009

D e p a r tm e n t/ a g e n c y E n a b lin g le g isla tio n and

tim e lin e ss

D a te o n letter o f tr a n sm itta l

@ D ate r e p o r t su b m itte d to m in ister (if k n ow n )

% D ate r e p o r t receiv ed by m in ister (if k n ow n )

* D a te rep ort

p r e se n te d to P r e sid e n t

# D a te tab led in the S en a te

Λ D a te ta b led in H /R ep resen tatives

Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Authority

Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Act 1973, si6(2). To be tabled by

minister as soon as practicable (by 31 Oct).

21 Sep 09 # 27 Oct 09

Defence Housing Australia Defence Housing Authority Act 1987; and,

the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, s9. Minister to table within

15 days of receiving report (by 31 Oct).

15 Oct 09 # 27 Oct 09

Military Superannuation and Benefits Board of Trustees

Militaiy Superannuation and Benefits Act 1991, s26(3). Minister to table 15 days after receiving report (by 31 Oct).

Letter of transmission not dated

# 27 Oct 09

Repatriation Medical Authority (RMA)

Veterans' Entitlement Act 1986, sl96B To be tabled by 31 October.

17 Aug 09 # 28 Oct 09

Royal Australian Air Force Veterans' Residence Trust Fund

Royal Australian Ait- Force Veterans' Residence Act 1953, slO. to be tabled by

31 October.

01 Oct 09 # 18 Nov 09

182

Appendix 2— Scrutiny of reports tabled by 31 October 2009 29

Scrutiny of reports tabled by 31 October 2009

D e p a r tm e n t/a g e n c y E n a b lin g le g isla tio n an d

tim e lin e ss

D a te o n letter o f tr a n sm itta l

@ D a te r e p o r t su b m itte d to m in iste r (if k n o w n )

% D a te r e p o r t r e c e iv e d by m in iste r (if k n o w n )

* D a te r e p o r t p r e se n te d to P r e sid e n t

# D a te ta b le d in th e

S en a te

Λ D a te ta b le d in H /R e p r e s en ta tiv es

Royal Australian Air Force Welfare Trust Fund

Sendees Trust Funds Act 1947; and, Commonwealth Authorities and

Companies Act 1997, s9. Minister to table within 15 days of receiving report (by 31 Oct).

10 Aug 09 # 27 Oct 09

Royal Australian Navy Central Canteens Fund

Navy (Canteens) Regulations 1954 under the Defence Act 1910. Commonwealth Authorities and

Companies Act 1997.

14 Sep 09. # 27 Oct 09

Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund

Sei'vices Trust Funds Act 1947; and, Commonwealth Authorities and

Companies Act 1997, s9. Minister to table within 15 days of receiving report (by 31 Oct).

08 Sep 09 # 27 Oct 09

Veterans' Review Board Veterans' Entitlement Act 1986, subsection

215(4). To be tabled by 31 October.

15 Sep 09 # 28 Oct 09

183

30 Appendix 2—Scrutiny of reports tabled by 31 October 200

Scrutiny o f reports tabled by 31 October 2009

D e p a r tm e n t/ a g e n c y E n a b lin g le g isla tio n and

tim e lin e ss

D a te o n le tte r o f tr a n s m itta l

@ D a te r e p o r t su b m itte d to m in iste r (if k n o w n )

% D a te r e p o r t r e c e iv e d by m in iste r (if k n o w n )

* D a te rep ort

p r e se n te d to P r e sid e n t

# D a te tab led in the S en a te

Λ D a te ta b led in H /R ep resen ta tiv es

F o re ig n A ffa ir s & T rade— sta tu to ry a u th o ritie s

Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR)

Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research Act 1982, s39. To be

tabled by 31 October.

Letter of transmittal not dated.

# 27 Oct 09

Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office

Nuclear Non­ Proliferation (Safeguards) Act 1987, s51; Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1994, s96; Comprehensive Nuclear-Test— Ban

Treaty Act 1998, s71. To be tabled by 31 October.

27 Oct 09 # 17 Nov 09

Australian Trade Commission (Austrade)

Australian Trade Commission Act 1985, s92; the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997,

and the Public Sei-vice Act 1999 To be tabled by 31 October.

25 Sep 09 # 27 Oct 09

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC)

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, s9. Minister to table within

15 days of receiving report (by 31 Oct).

No letter of transmittal.

Report dated 28 Aug 09

# 27 Oct 09

184

i

Appendix 2— Scrutiny of reports tabled by 31 October 2009 31

Scrutiny of reports tabled by 31 October 2009

D ep a rtm en t/a g en cy E n a b lin g le g isla tio n an d

tim e lin e ss

D a te o n letter o f tr a n s m itta l

@ D a te r e p o r t su b m itte d to m in iste r (if k n o w n )

% D a te r e p o r t r e c e iv e d by m in iste r (if k n o w n )

* D a te r e p o r t

p r e se n te d to P re sid e n t

# D a te ta b le d in th e

S en a te

Λ D a te ta b led in H /R e p r e se n ta tiv e s

D efence a n d F A & T —N o n -s ta tn to ry authorities a n d g o vern m en t com panies

Australian Agency P u b lic S ervice A c t 14 Oct 09 # 28 Oct 09

for International 1999, s63. Development To be tabled by (AusAID) 31 October.

[FA&T Vol 2]

185

186

Appendix 3

Reporting requirements and guidelines Departmental reports1

Authority for requirements

These annual report requirements are prepared pursuant to subsections 63(2) and 70(2) of the Public Sei'vice Act 1999 and were approved by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit on 17 June 2009.

Commencement and reporting period

The requirements apply for annual reports for financial years ending on or after 30 June 2009.

Application

(1) The requirements apply to annual reports for departments of state pursuant to subsection 63(2) and for executive agencies pursuant to subsection 70(2) of the Public Service Act 1999. As a matter of policy, they also apply to prescribed agencies under section 5 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act).

In respect of Commonwealth authorities and companies, section 9 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act) provides that the directors of Commonwealth authorities must prepare an annual report for the responsible Minister who must, in turn, table the annual report

in both houses of the Parliament ‘as soon as practicable’. Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the CAC Act details content that must be included in amrual reports. Under section 36 of the CAC Act, the content of annual reports for Commonwealth companies is based on reporting requirements under the

Corporations Act 2001.

(2) In most cases the term 'department' is used in these requirements to refer to all departments and agencies that will be preparing amrual reports under these requirements. Similarly, 'secretary' is used to refer to a departmental secretary or to an agency head of one of those other bodies.

(3) In the case of an agency (including an executive agency established under section 61 of the Public Sendee Act 1999) that is neither prescribed under

1 Excerpt from the Requirements fo r annual reports fo r departments, executive agencies and FMA A ct bodies, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, 17 June 2009, pp. 1 and 2.

187

34 Appendix 3—Reporting requirements and guidelines

the FMA Act nor comes with the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act), these requirements may be used to the extent that they are consistent with any reporting requirements contained in the agency's own legislation (if any).

(4) In cases of machinery of government change during the reporting period, where functions or offices are gained or lost, the established practice is that the gaining department must report on that function or office for the entirety of the reporting period, whether or not the losing department continues to exist. However, in relation to financial statements, the general rules is that each Chief Executive who had responsibility for a function must sign off on financial statements relating to the period of their individual responsibility and include them in their own annual reports. If, for any reason, the losing department does not produce an annual report that covers the period it had the function, the financial statements from the earlier period must be published in the gaining department's annual report.

Timetable

A copy of the annual report is to be laid before each House of the Parliament on or before 31 October in the year in which the report is given.

The provisions of subsections 34C(4)-(7) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 apply in relation to an application for extension of the period.

Where an agency's own legislation provides a timeframe for its annual report, for example 'within six months' or 'as soon as practicable after 30 June in each year', that timeframe applies. An extension under the Acts Interpretation Act would need to be sought only should a specified timeframe not be met.

However, it remains the Government's policy that all annual reports should be tabled by 31 October.

Commonwealth authorities and companies

The Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (the CAC Act) contains detailed rules about reporting and accountability for commonwealth authorities and commonwealth companies. Commonwealth companies also must meet other reporting requirements as set out in Corporations Law.

The Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2002, made under section 48 of the CAC Act, enables organisations to comply with the specific requirements for tabling reports.

The notes from the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2002 are set out below.

188

Appendix 3— Reporting requirements and guidelines 35

• Basis for annual report: Section 9 of the CAC Act requires directors of a Commonwealth authority to prepare an annual report in accordance with Schedule 1 o f the CAC Act.

• Report of operations requirement: The annual report must include a report of operations prepared by the directors in accordance with Finance Minister's Orders (clause 1 of Schedule 1 of the CAC Act).

• Financial statements requirement: The annual report must include financial statements prepared by the directors (clause 2 of Schedule 1 of the CAC Act) and the Auditor-General's report on those financial statements.

• Tabling requirements: Section 9 of the CAC Act provides that the directors must give the annual report to the responsible Minister by the 15th day of the 4th month after the end of the Commonwealth authority's financial year. Where a Commonwealth authority's financial year ends on 30 June, this means that the annual report must be given to the responsible Minister by 15 October. The responsible Minister must in turn table the annual report in both Houses of the

Parliament 'as as soon as practicable'. Under subsection 34C(3) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, this means within 15 sitting days.

Non-statutory bodies

The annual report of a non-statutory body shall contain the following information (after Senate Hansard, 8 December 1987, pp. 2643-2645): •

• The annual report shall show the date of establishment of each new non- statutory body (NSB) and, in relation to each existing NSB, information regarding the date if its establishment in as much detail as is available.

• The annual report shall contain a statement of each NSB's objectives and functions.

• The annual report shall contain an account of each NSB's significant activities during the year.

• The annual report shall contain an indication that the creation or continued existence of each NSB, its functions and its organisation have received Ministerial approval.

• The annual report shall show the date in which each NSB will cease to exist or before which it will be reviewed (whichever is the earlier).

• In the case of any NSB whose continued existence, functions and organisation have been reviewed and whose continued existence has been approved by the Minister, the annual report shall show a summary of the outcome of the review.

• The annual report will contain a list of any positions provided for ex-officio government members on each NSB and of any positions provided for representatives nominated by particular non-government organisations.

189

36 Appendix 3—Reporting requirements and guidelines

• The annual report shall show the maximum term of appointment of each on an NSB.

• Except in cases where there may be little or no continuity of membership from one meeting to the next, the annual report will show the names of individual members of each NSB, and their terms of appointment.

• The report will show the manner in which the level of remuneration paid (if any) to members of each NSB is determined.

• The report will show the manner in which each NSB is funded.

• The report will show a summary of any other financial arrangements such as the kinds of expenditure that can be made from the funds provided, and the nature of secretariat services provided and the way in which these are funded.

• In respect of each NSB, the annual report shall indicate whether one of its functions is to distribute funds to other organisations or individuals.

• AN NSB with its own accounting system shall provide an audited financial statement.

• When an NSB operates through its parent body accounts, the NSB shall provide an account of receipts and expenditure on a program basis. It will also show:

• the NSB's work reflected in the parent body's published program structure,

• performance related to objectives and measured in terms of stated criteria, in accordance with standard program budgeting techniques, and

• the amounts of any grants made by each NSB.

190

The Senate

Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010)

March 2010

© Commonwealth of Australia

ISBN: 978-1-74229-251-9

This document was printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Department of the Senate, Parliament House, Canberra.

192

MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE Members

Senator Patricia Crossin, Chair, ALP, NT

Senator Guy Barnett, Deputy Chair, LP, TAS

Senator David Feeney, ALP, VIC

Senator Mary Jo Fisher, LP, SA

Senator Scott Ludlam, AG, WA

Senator Gavin Marshall, ALP, VIC

Secretariat

Ms Julie Dennett

Ms Margaret Cahill

Ms Jane McArthur

Secretary

Research Officer

Executive Assistant

Suite SI. 61 Telephone: (02) 6277 3560

Parliament House Fax: (02) 6277 5794

CANBERRA ACT 2600 Email: legcon.sen@aph.gov.au

iii

193

194

Η

TABLE OF CONTENTS

M EM BERS O F TH E C O M M IT T E E .................................................................. iii

PR E F A C E .................................................................................................................. vii

Terms of reference................................................................................................vii

Role of annual reports.........................................................................................viii

Timing of presentation of reports on annual reports...........................................viii

'Apparently satisfactory'......................................................................................viii

Timeliness............................................................................................................ viii

Conclusion............................................................................................................. ix

C H A PTER 1 ................................................................................................................ 1

ANNUAL REPORTS OF DEPARTMENTS......................................................... 1

Attorney-General's Department.............................................................................. 1

Department of Immigration and Citizenship.......................................................... 3

C H A PTER 2 ................................................................................................................ 7

ANNUAL REPORTS OF STATUTORY AUTHORITIES................................. 7

Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) and Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT)........... 8

Federal Court of Australia...................................................................................... 9

C H A PTER 3 .............................................................................................................. 13

REPORTS ON THE OPERATION OF ACTS AND PROGRAMS................. 13

Report under the Surveillance Devices Act 2004................................................. 13

Protection visa processing taking more than 90 days and refugee reviews taking more than 90 days..................................................................................................15

195

APPENDIX 1 17

ANNUAL REPORTS REFERRED..................................................................... 17

Annual reports referred by the Senate to the committee during the period 1 May 2009 and 31 October 2009.................................................................................. 17

List of reports on the operation of acts 19

PREFACE

Terms of reference

On 13 February 2008, a resolution of the Senate allocated the following portfolios to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs:

• Attorney-General’s portfolio; and

• Immigration and Citizenship portfolio.

This report was prepared pursuant to Standing Order 25(20) relating to the consideration of annual reports by committees. The Standing Order states:

Annual reports of departments and agencies shall stand referred to the committees in accordance with an allocation of departments and agencies in a resolution of the Senate. Each committee shall: -(a) Examine each annual report referred to it and report to the Senate

whether the report is apparently satisfactory;

(b) Consider in more detail, and report to the Senate on, each annual report which is not apparently satisfactory, and on the other annual reports which it selects for more detailed consideration;

(c) Investigate and report to the Senate on any lateness in the presentation of annual reports;

(d) In considering an annual report, take into account any relevant remarks about the report made in debate in the Senate;

(e) If the committee so determines, consider annual reports of departments and budget-related agencies in conjunction with examination of estimates;

(f) Report on annual reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year, and on annual reports tabled by 30 April each year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year;

(g) Draw to the attention of the Senate any significant matters relating to the operations and performance of the bodies furnishing the annual reports; and

(h) Report to the Senate each year whether there are any bodies which do not present annual reports to the Senate and which should present such reports.

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Role of annual reports

Annual reports place a great deal of information about government departments and agencies on the public record. Accordingly, the tabling of annual reports is an important element of accountability to Parliament, as the information provided in annual reports assists in the effective examination of the performance of departments

and agencies, and the administration of government programs.

Timing of presentation of reports on annual reports

Standing Order 25(20)(f) requires that committees report on annual reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year, and on annual reports tabled by 30 April each year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year.

Under the guidelines issued by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and approved by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, the Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, the annual reports of departments, and executive and prescribed agencies, must be tabled in each

House of Parliament by 31 October.1 If a department is unable to meet this deadline, the secretary of that department is to advise the responsible Minister of the reasons for the delay and the expected tabling date. The responsible Minister is to table this

explanation in the Parliament on the next available sitting day.1 2

Orders made by the Minister under section 48 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 set out guidelines for the annual reports of statutory bodies.

Guidelines for the annual reports of non-statutory bodies are set out in the Government Response to recommendations of the then Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations, in its report entitled Reporting Requirements for the Annual Reports o f Non-Statutory Bodies. The Government Response was incorporated into the Senate Hansard of 8 December 1987.3

'Apparently satisfactory'

Under the terms of Standing Order 25(20)(a), the committee is required to report to the Senate whether reports are 'apparently satisfactory'. In making this assessment, the committee considers such aspects as compliance with relevant reporting guidelines.

Timeliness

Under Standing Order 25(20)(c), the committee must also report to the Senate on any lateness in the presentation of annual reports. The Public Service Act 1999 requires that reports be prepared in accordance with the Requirements for Annual Reports for departments, executive agencies and FMA Act bodies. These guidelines state:

1 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports, Canberra, 17 June 2009, Part 1, paragraph 4.

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Guidelines fo r the Presentation o f Government Documents to the Parliament, Canberra, July 2008, p. 5.

3 Official Senate Hansard. 8 December 1987, pp 2643-2645.

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A copy of the annual report is to be presented to each House of the Parliament on or before 31 October in the year in which the report is given.

Where an agency's own legislation provides a timeframe for its amiual report, for example "within six months" or "as soon as practicable after 30 June in each year", that timeframe applies.4

A table listing the annual reports of departments and agencies tabled in the Senate (or presented out of session to the President of the Senate) by 31 October 2009 and which have been referred to the committee for examination in this report can be found at Appendix l .5 These reports met the requirement for timeliness.

Conclusion

The reports examined by the committee were found to be of a satisfactory standard, adequately describing the functions, activities and financial positions of the departments and agencies. The committee finds all submitted annual reports to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

4 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports, Canberra, 17 June 2009, Part 1, paragraph 4.

5 This table also includes the reports on the operation of acts or programs.

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200

CHAPTER 1

ANNUAL REPORTS OF DEPARTMENTS

1.1 The annual reports for the financial year 2008-09 of the following departments were referred to the committee for examination and report:

• Attorney-General's Department; and

• Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Attorney-General's Department

1.2 In 2008-09, a range of changes were made to the department's structure. The annual report presents a detailed outline of the new organisational structure which has been implemented as a result of the audit conducted by Mr Roger Beale AO. The restructure aims to ensure the department will be more strategic and better focused on

achieving the government's and the portfolio's priorities.1 The report states that:

The new structure is consistent with, and will better support, the Government's priorities, as outlined by the Prime Minister in his inaugural National Security Statement 2008 and the outcomes of the Review of Homeland and Border Security (the Smith review), which take an all­

hazards approach to national security.1 2

1.3 The 'snapshots' chapter in this year's report includes, in addition to staffing and financial performance information, a two-page summary of highlights for the year and a section on areas for improvement.3 Given the range and complexity of the department's responsibilities, the committee found the highlights summary to be a useful inclusion at the beginning of the report. The committee also welcomes the list

of areas for improvement which includes the strategies implemented by the department to enhance performance.4 The committee sees annual reports as an important vehicle for departments and agencies to discuss areas for improvement as

well as their successes throughout the year and will monitor the department's progress in achieving these improvements in future reports.

1.4 Highlights during the 2008-09 year included the establishment in January 2009 of the Access to Justice Taskforce within Outcome 1 of the department. The Taskforce was given the task of developing a strategic framework for reform of the civil justice system to improve access to justice for all Australians and encourage

1 Attorney-General's Department Annual Report (0809), p. 4.

2 Attorney-General's Department Annual Report (0809), p 17.

3 Attorney-General’s Department Annual Report (0809), pp 5-10.

4 Attorney-General’s Department Annual Report (0809, p. 10.

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early resolution of disputes.5 The report outlines the Taskforce's approach in developing the proposed framework:

The taskforce is taking a wide view of the justice system, from access to information, alternative dispute resolution and legal assistance through the role of courts and tribunals.6

1.5 The Taskforce reported to the government on 23 September 2009 with the government ultimately agreeing with the suggested policy framework.7 The committee takes a continuing interest in access to justice issues and intends to monitor the implementation of the Taskforce's recommendations.8

1.6 Another significant undertaking by the department during the reporting year was the National Human Rights Consultation project which was launched in December 2008. The consultation was undertaken by an independent committee, chaired by Father Frank Brennan, and aimed to seek a range of views about the protection and promotion of human rights in Australia. The department provided

secretariat support to the committee which received approximately 40,000 submissions and undertook consultation meetings around Australia, including 66 community roundtables.9 In summing up the consultation process, the report stated that:

The National Human Rights Consultation has been very successful in eliciting community views. This has given rise to significant expectations of a tangible outcome for the community, and heightened interest in human rights issues. The Government's social inclusion agenda is also raising awareness of the need to address disadvantage and prevent discrimination. Distilling the essence of the consultation outcomes and development a

report that delivers on community expectation will be a major challenge in 2009-10, particularly with resource constraints.10 1 1

1.7 The Brennan committee subsequently reported to the government on 30 September 2009.

1.8 The department reported an operating result of $1,749 million deficit. This is significantly lower than the previous year's deficit of $13,255 million and it was noted that the deficit represents less than one per cent of total revenues.11

5 Attorney-General's Department Annual Report (0809), p. 33.

6 Attorney-General's Department Annual Report (0809), p. 38.

7 See Committee Hansard, 19 October 2009, p. 133.

8 In this context, it should be noted that the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee tabled a report entitled Access to Justice on 8 December 2009, following an inquiry it undertook into access to justice issues in 2009.

9 Attorney-General's Department Annual Report (0809), p. 59.

10 Attorney-General's Department Annual Report (0809), p. 61.

11 Attorney-General’s Department Annual Report (0809), p. 206.

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1.9 The staffing level for the department has remained stable over the last 12- month period. It was reported that the department's workforce was 1,547 as at 30 June 2009, compared with 1,544 in the previous year. The committee noted that the department's employee-initiated turnover rate had decreased by 4.4 per cent to 15 per

cent in 2008-09.12

1.10 The department has presented an informative report which closely adheres to the requirements for annual reporting. Performance information is clearly presented in table format with most key performance indicators being achieved or substantially/partially achieved. The committee considers the annual report of the Attorney-General's Department to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

Department of Immigration and Citizenship

1.11 The committee has had a continuing interest in the department's progress toward implementation of reforms arising from the recommendations of the Palmer, Comrie and certain Ombudsman's reports. An independent review commissioned in July 2008 to report on the department's achievements in implementing these reforms

found the department had made substantial reform progress and the implementation of the reforms was essentially complete.13 In the annual report, the Secretary of the department noted that:

Following the success of these reforms, we are entering a new phase of activity in which we are building on our reforms and the lessons learned, including by strengthening our ability to innovate using a stronger evidence base.14 1 5

1.12 A prominent feature of this year's report was the marking of the 60th anniversary of the creation of the status of Australian citizenship which was celebrated in 2009. The anniversary involved a 'program of events and ceremonies celebrating the meaning and importance of Australian citizenship while reflecting on the changes that shaped the nation over the past 60 years'.13

1.13 The department met the planning level targets for the Migration Program for 2008-09, with 171,318 people granted migration visas.16 The Secretary advised that:

Overall, the permanent migration program met the government's objective of ensuring that Australia's critical skill shortages were met, while also helping to maintain growth in Australia's working age population.17

12 Attorney-General's Department Annual Report (0809), p. 214.

13 Department o f Immigration and Citizenship Annual Report 2008-09, p. 5.

14 Department o f Immigration and Citizenship Annual Report 2008-09, p. 5.

15 Department o f Immigration and Citizenship Annual Report 2008-09, p. 14.

16 Department o f Immigration and Citizenship Annual Report 2008-09, p. 38.

17 Department o f Immigration and Citizenship Annual Report 2008-09, p. 5.

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1.14 The report provided background on the revisions to programs as a result of the global economic crisis. For example, the General Skilled Migration program was revised as a result of the crisis to ensure that migration under this program is driven by the requirements of industry and targets skills in critical need across a number of

sectors.18 A Critical Skills List was developed as an interim measure to identify skills in chronic shortage and includes the occupations most frequently sought by employers through sponsorship. In 2008-09, places in the skilled migration program were cut by 14 per cent or 18,500 places.

1.15 The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship announced significant reforms in the area of immigration detention policy on 29 July 2008. The reforms are based on the government's seven new key immigration detention values:

The values affirm the essential role of mandatory detention as a component of strong border control. The values commit the government to detention as a last resort for the shortest practicable period, and to the rejection of indefinite or otherwise arbitrary detention. The values require that minors

shall only be detained as a measure of last resort and will never be detained in an immigration detention centre.19

1.16 The department was involved in implementing the values administratively during 2008-09 while advice was prepared for government on options for legislative changes.20

1.17 From 1 July 2009, the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) was transferred to the department as a discrete office to be known as the Office of the MARA. During 2008-09, the department was involved in coordinating the arrangements for the transfer, which included progressing necessary legislative, policy

and administrative arrangements.21 2 2

1.18 The report included a summary of the department's revised outcome structure for 2009-10. It was noted that the changes reflect the intent of Operation Sunlight, the government's reform agenda which aims to improve openness and transparency of public sector budgetary and financial management."" A new strategic plan was

launched on 21 May 2009 to reflect the changes to the department's outcome structure.23

1.19 Despite the global economic crisis, the department's budget was reported as remaining steady. Falls in activity levels relating to border security (airport arrivals)

18 Department o f Immigration and Citizenship Annual Report 2008-09, p. 42.

19 Department o f Immigration and Citizenship Annual Report 2008-09, p. 118.

20 Department o f Immigration and Citizenship Annual Report 2008-09, p. 119.

21 Department o f Immigration and Citizenship Annual Report 2008-09, p. 40.

22 Department o f Immigration and Citizenship Annual Report 2008-09, p. 19.

23 Department o f Immigration and Citizenship Annual Report 2008-09, p. 20.

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and some visa processes due to the global economic crisis were offset by increases of irregular maritime arrivals late in the year. This was described as having 'a significant impact on expenditure'.24

1.20 The department reported an operating loss of $47.6 million for 2008-09. The main contributing factors were listed as:

• foreign exchange losses due to the weakening Australian dollar;

• increase in the provision of employee entitlements as a result of the fall of interest rates;

• provision for voluntary redundancies and surplus lease space as a result of the department's planned downsizing exercise; and

• the write down of some assets.25

1.21 The report presents a clear account of performance information against key performance indicators for the year in review. The department has continued its high standard in annual reporting and the committee considers the report to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

24 Department o f Immigration and Citizenship Annual Report 2008-09, p. 26.

25 Department o f Immigration and Citizenship Annual Report 2008-09, p. 26.

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CHAPTER 2

ANNUAL REPORTS OF STATUTORY AUTHORITIES

2.1 The following report of statutory bodies for the financial year 2008-09 were referred to the committee for examination and report:

Attorney-General's Portfolio

• Administrative Appeals Tribunal

• Administrative Review Council

« Australian Federal Police

• Australian Government Solicitor _

• Australian Institute of Criminology and Criminology Research Council

• Australian Law Reform Commission

• Australian Security Intelligence Organisation

• Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre

• Commonwealth Ombudsman1 [Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio]

• CrimTrac Agency

• Family Court of Australia

• Federal Court of Australia

• Federal Magistrates Court of Australia

• Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia

• National Capital Authority

• National Native Title Tribunal

. Office of Film and Literature Classification—Classification Board and Classification Review Board

• Office of Parliamentary Counsel

Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio

• Migration Agents Registration Authority

• Migration Review Tribunal

• Refugee Review Tribunal

2.2 On this occasion, the committee has decided to examine in more detail the reports of the Migration Review Tribunal and the Refugee Review Tribunal, as well as and the Federal Court of Australia. *

. Forwarded to the Finance and Public Administration Committee also.

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Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) and Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT)

2.3 The tribunals decided 8,229 cases during 2008-09, with 39% of cases being decided in favour of the applicant. The number of cases decided during the year had increased by 9% from the previous year; while the number of cases on hand increased

by 36% over the number on hand at the end of the previous financial year.2

2.4 The tribunals' registrar indicated that, in response to an increasing and complex caseload in the last two years, there has been a:

...focus for change in relation to the management of caseloads, the nature and quality of support services provided to Members, the information and guidance that we publish and our relationships with stakeholders.3

2.5 The Principal Member's report noted that membership of the tribunals has increased and will provide an increased capacity to deal with cases. Members appointed on a full-time basis had increased from six to 24. It was further noted that:

Despite the pressures of an increased caseload, it is important that the Tribunals continue to provide fair and high quality reviews - fair to individuals, and capable of improving the quality and consistency of migration and refugee decisions at the primary level.4

2.6 The Principal Member raised the 90-day period for RRT reviews as an area for possible reconsideration in a review of the merits review architecture of the Migration Act 1958. Section 414A of the Act sets a 90-day period for the conduct of RRT reviews of validly made or remitted applications. In accordance with

section 440A of the Act, a report is presented to the Parliament every four months on reviews not completed within 90 days. The Principal Member advised that:

The 90-day period was introduced in 2005 when there were significant backlogs of protection visa cases at the primary and review levels, and when there were large numbers of protection visa applicants in immigration detention.

While most cases can be fairly decided within 90 days, the requirement for reports to be presented to Parliament every 4 months on all protection visa cases which exceed 90 days has the tendency to place greater emphasis on speed than on fairness to the applicant and distorts priorities between the

two Tribunals. There is a case for this level of reporting to be maintained only for applicants who are in immigration detention. This would improve the capacity of those assisting applicants and our Members to continue to give high priority to detention cases. The timeliness of reviews involving

persons not in immigration detention could be reported on satisfactorily in

P age 8 _______________________________________________________ ________________

2 Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 10.

3 Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 14.

4 Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 11.

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Annual Reports, in the same way as performance against time standards is reported across the MRT caseload.5

2.7 The committee regularly monitors these reports and will watch developments in this area with interest.

2.8 The performance information contained in Part 4 of the report is well presented and includes a range of tables, graphs and charts to present statistics on caseload, lodgements, cases on hand, timeliness and complaints. This section also

includes a report of perfomiance against service standards, all of which were reported to be achieved.

2.9 The inclusion of case studies provides useful background and an insight into matters dealt with by the tribunals.6 The committee commends the tribunals on a comprehensive annual report which it considers to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

Federal Court of Australia

2.10 It was reported that the combined workload of the Federal Court and the Federal Magistrates Court was 10% below the previous year.7 There were 10,407 matters filed in the two courts in 2008-09. Filings in the two courts have increased since 2000, with 6,276 filings in the year 1999-2000. It was noted that:

...overall growth in the number of filings since 2000 has had a considerable impact on the Federal Court's registries, which process the documents filed for both courts and provide the administrative support for each matter to be heard and determined by the relevant Court.8

2.11 The Court exceeded its time standard goal of 85% of cases completed within 18 months of commencement, achieving 90.2% for 2008-09. On the second time goal, which aims to have judgments delivered within three months, the Court's performance was slightly down on the previous year:

...86% of appeals (both full court and single judge) were delivered within three months and 80% of judgments at first instance were delivered within three months of the date of being reserved'.9

2.12 The report presents statistics on the number of matters referred for mediation over the previous five years and shows an overall increase since 2005. In 2008-09,

5 Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal Annual Report 2008-2009, pp 11-12.

6 Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal Annual Report 2008-2009, pp 54-59.

7 Federal Court o f Australia Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 15.

8 Federal Court o f Australia Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 23.

9 Federal Court o f Australia Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 16.

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522 matters10 1 1 were referred for mediation compared to 379 in the 2007-08. The settlement rate for matters for the reporting year was 57%. It was further noted that:

While settlement rates assist the Court to assess the effectiveness of its mediation program, they are not the only criteria used. Many matters settle after mediation but before hearing and those matters that proceed to hearing often do so with the issues narrowed or some of the facts agreed as a result

of the mediation.11

2.13 The report includes summaries of developments made during the year to improve processes and to increase the use of technology to improve efficiencies. The Chief Justice issued the Fast Track Directions on 24 April 2009 through Practice Note No 30.12 The Directions aim to provide a framework where cases may be heard and

finalised within five to eight months from the date of filing, and to reduce costs by limiting discovery and avoiding lengthy interlocutory disputes.13

2.14 On 29 January 2009, the Chief Justice issued a practice note on the use of technology in the management of discovery and the conduct of litigation. The aim of the practice note is to encourage and facilitate the effective use of technology 'by setting out the Court's expectations as to how technology should be used in the

conduct of proceeding before the Court and recommending a framework for the management of documents electronically in the discovery process and the conduct of trials'.14 1 5

2.15 The report also provided an update on the Court's eServices strategy and advised that work has continued in the reporting year on the development of an eLodgment application.13

2.16 The Court reported a net operating deficit of $1,838 million for 2008-09, having received approval from the Minister for Finance and Deregulation to incur a $3.8 million deficit. The deficit was reported to be as a result of:

• increases in salaries;

• voluntary redundancy payments; and • a reduction in the Court's revenue.16

10 It was noted that this figure may not represent all matters in which mediation may have been undertaken as parties may make their own arrangements for private mediation without the need for a formal order referring a matter to mediation: Federal Court o f Australia Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 32.

11 Federal Court of Australia Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 32.

12 Practice notes supplement the procedures set out in the Rules of the Court: Federal Court of Australia Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 22.

13 Federal Court o f Australia Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 12.

14 Federal Court of Australia Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 13.

15 Federal Court of Australia Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 14.

16 Federal Court of Australia Annual Report 2008-2009, p. 47.

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'

2.17 The committee considers the annual report of the Federal Court of Australia to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

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CHAPTER 3

REPORTS ON THE OPERATION OF ACTS AND PROGRAMS

3.1 Standing Order 25(20) does not provide for consideration of reports on the implementation or operation of acts or programs. The committee is not therefore required to include them in its report on the examination of annual reports. However, the committee chose to examine the following reports:

• Report to the Attorney-General on the results of inspections of records under s55 of the Surveillance Devices Act 2004, March 2009 (published by the Commonwealth Ombudsman);

• Protection Visa Processing Taking More Than 90 days for the Reporting Period 1 November 2008 to 28 February 2009 (published by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship);

• Protection Visa Processing Taking More Than 90 days for the Reporting Period 1 March to 30 June 2009 (published by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship);

• Report Pursuant to Section 440A of the Migration Act on the conduct of Refugee Review Tribunal reviews not completed within 90 days for the period 1 November 2008 to 28 February 2009 (published by the Refugee Review Tribunal); and

• Report Pursuant to Section 440A of the Migration Act on the conduct of Refugee Review Tribunal reviews not completed within 90 days for the period 1 March to 30 June 2009 (published by the Refugee Review Tribunal).

Report under the Surveillance Devices Act 2004

3.2 The Surveillance Devices Act 2004 (the Act) regulates the use of surveillance devices by law enforcement agencies.1 Subsection 55(1) of the Act requires the Ombudsman to inspect the records of each law enforcement agency to determine the extent of compliance with the Act by the agency and its law enforcement officers.

1 Under subsection 6(1), the term 'law enforcement agency' includes the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, and specified state and territory law enforcement agencies. If any of these agencies utilise the provisions of the Act, the Ombudsman is required to inspect records relating to that use. See further Commonwealth Ombudsman, Report to the Attorney-General on the results of

inspections of records under s 55 o f the Surveillance Devices Act 2004, March 2009, p. 1.

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Under section 61 of the Act, the Ombudsman is required to report to the Minister at six-monthly intervals on the results of each inspection.2

3.3 It is the policy of the Ombudsman's office not to inspect the records relating to surveillance devices which are in use. The committee notes that the Ombudsman is considering amending this policy where the use of surveillance devices is extended beyond a six-month period.3

3.4 During the reporting period of 1 July to 31 December 2008, reports on the results of inspections for the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) were completed. These reports cover the inspection of records from the period 1 July to 31 December 2007.

3.5 The ACC was assessed as being generally compliant with the Act.4 5 The Ombudsman made four recommendations relating to compliance and administrative issues. The recommendations concerning compliance deal with reports to the Minister and information required to be recorded on a surveillance device warrant. The recommendations aim at improving the administration of the Act relating to privacy issues and information required to be recorded on a surveillance device warrant."

3.6 The Ombudsman completed one inspection of the AFP's surveillance devices records in the reporting period and assessed the agency as being generally compliant with the provisions of the Act. One recommendation relates to compliance with the Act and concerns extraterritorial operation of warrants.6 The Ombudsman made two recommendations to improve administration in relation to the Act. These concern

destruction of records and the installation of a device before a warrant is issued.7

3.7 The committee is pleased to note that the Ombudsman reported a significant improvement by the AFP on a matter raised in earlier reports relating to the level of content provided in reports by the AFP to the Minister under section 49 of the Act.8

2 Commonwealth Ombudsman, Report to the Attorney-General on the results o f inspections of records under s 55 o f the Swveillance Devices Act 2004, March 2009, p .l.

3 Commonwealth Ombudsman, Report to the Attorney-General on the results o f inspections of records under s 55 o f the Surveillance Devices Act 2004, March 2009, p. 9.

4 Commonwealth Ombudsman, Report to the Attorney-General on the results o f inspections of records under s 55 o f the Surveillance Devices Act 2004, March 2009, p. 2.

5 Commonwealth Ombudsman, Report to the Attorney-General on the results o f inspections of records under s 55 o f the Surveillance Devices Act 2004, March 2009, pp 3-6.

6 Commonwealth Ombudsman, Report to the Attorney-General on the results o f inspections o f records under s 55 o f the Surveillance Devices Act 2004, March 2009, pp 8-9.

7 Commonwealth Ombudsman, Report to the Attorney-General on the results o f inspections of records under s 55 o f the Sui~veillance Devices Act 2004, March 2009, pp 10-12.

8 Commonwealth Ombudsman, Report to the Attorney-General on the results o f inspections of records under s 55 o f the Surveillance Devices Act 2004, March 2009, p. 8.

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Protection visa processing taking more than 90 days and refugee reviews taking more than 90 days

3.8 Section 65A of the Migration Act 1958 imposes a requirement for the Minister to make a decision on a protection visa application within 90 days of the lodgement of the application. If this target is exceeded, under section 91Y of the Act the Secretaiy of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is required to report on protection visa applications for which decision making has taken over 90

days. Similarly, section 440A requires the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) to report on reviews not completed within 90 days.

3.9 The Department and the RRT are required to report every four months with the latest reports reviewed by the committee covering the period 1 November 2008 to 30 June 2009.

Protection visa processing taking more than 90 days

3.10 The table below compares protection visa processing by DIAC taking more than 90 days for the three previous reporting periods.

1 July 2008 to 1 November 2008 1 March 2009 to 31 October 2008 to 28 February 2009 30 June 2009

Total number undecided outside of 90 day period

366 324 480

Total number decided outside of 90 day period

388 409 488

Total number processed outside of 90 day period

754 733 968

Percentage of total applications processed outside of 90 day period

23% 21% 25%

3.11 The committee notes with some concern the rise in the number of processing delays attributable to DIAC. The reports indicate that delays due to DIAC processing have risen from 92 to 175 for the period 1 November 2008 to 28 February 2009 and from 175 to 342 for the period 1 March to 30 June 2009. However, the reports for

both periods note that:

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The Department continues to work on strategies to eliminate delay, improve adherence to the 90 day timeframe and to clear older cases as quickly as possible.9

3.12 The committee will continue to monitor the department's performance in this area.

Refugee Review Tribunal reviews not completed within 90 days

3.13 This table outlines the number of RRT reviews not completed within 90 days for the previous three reporting periods.

1 July 2008 to 31 October 2008 1 November 2008 - 28 February

2009

1 March 2009 to 30 June 2009

Reviews completed outside of 90 days 186 (25%) 197 (25%) 287 (31%)

Reviews completed within 90 days 557 (75%) 601 (75%) 634 (69%)

Total 743 798 921

Senator Trish Crossin Committee Chair

9 Protection Visa Processing Taking More than 90 days for the reporting period 1 November 2008 to 28 February 2009, page 2 of the letter of transmittal; Protection Visa Processing Taking More than 90 days for the reporting period 1 March 2009 to 30 June 2009, page 2 of the letter of transmittal.

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APPENDIX 1

ANNUAL REPORTS REFERRED

Annual reports referred by the Senate to the committee during the period 1 May 2009 and 31 October 2009

D e p a r t m e n t / a u t h o r i t y D a t e

s u b m it t e d

to M in i s t e r

( i f k n o w n )

D a t e

r e c e i v e d b y

M in i s t e r

( i f k n o w n )

D a t e t a b le d in

S e n a t e

(R e c e iv e d in

S e n a te o u t o f

s e s s io n )

Attorney-General's Portfolio

Administrative Appeals Tribunal - Report for 2008-09 13/10/2009 20/10/2009 27/10/2009

Administrative Review Council - Report for 2008-09 22/10/2009 26/10/2009 28/10/2009

Attorney-General ’ s Department - Report for 2008-09 26/09/2009 29/09/2009 27/10/2009

Australian Federal Police- Report for 2008-09 23/09/2009 23/09/2009 27/10/2009

Australian Government Solicitor - Report for 2008-09 13/10/2009 19/10/2009 27/10/2009

Australian Institute of Criminology and Criminology Research Council - Report for 2008-09

21/10/2009 23/10/2009 28/10/2009

Australian Law Reform Commission - Report for 2008-09 21/10/2009 26/10/2009 28/10/2009

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation - Report for 2008-09 18/09/2009 18/09/2009 27/10/2009

Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre - Report for 2008-09 10/09/2009 19/10/2009 27/10/2009

Commonwealth Ombudsman - Report for 2008-09 1 [Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio]

26/10/2009 (16/10/2009)

1 Forwarded to the Finance and Public Administration Committee also.

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CrimTrac Agency - Report for 2008-09 06/10/2009 06/10/2009 27/10/2009

Family Court of Australia - Report for 2008-09

16/11/2009 (30/10/2009)

Federal Court of Australia - Report for 2008-09 14/10/2009 15/10/2009 27/10/2009

Federal Magistrates Court of Australia - Report for 2008-09 21/10/2009 21/10/2009 27/10/2009

Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia - Report for 2008-09 25/09/2009 28/09/2009 27/10/2009

National Capital Authority - Report for 2008-09 09/10/2009 20/10/2009 27/10/2009

National Native Title Tribunal - Report for 2008-09 20/10/2009 21/10/2009 27/10/2009

Office of Film and Literature Classification—Classification Board and Classification Review Board - Report for 2008-09

02/09/2009 16/10/2009 27/10/2009

Office of Parliamentary Counsel - Report for 2008-09 06/10/2009 09/10/2009 27/10/2009

Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio

Department of Immigration and Citizenship - Report for 2008-09

16/11/2009 (30/10/2009)

Migration Agents Registration Authority - Report for 2008-09 08/10/2009 09/10/2009 27/10/2009

Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal - Report for 2008-09

26/10/2009 (16/10/2009)

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P age 19

List of reports on the operation of acts

A c t D a t e

s u b m it t e d

to

M in i s t e r

( i f k n o w n )

D a t e

r e c e i v e d b y

M in i s t e r

( i f k n o w n )

D a t e t a b le d in

S e n a te

( R e c e iv e d in

S e n a te o u t o f

s e s s io n )

Attorney-General's Portfolio

Bankruptcy Act 1966 - Annual Report by the Inspector-General in Bankruptcy on the Operation of the Act 2008-09

25/09/2009 28/09/2009 27/10/2009

Crimes Act 1914 -Report on Controlled operations for 2008-09 01/10/2009 01/10/2009 27/10/2009 Letter advising

of delayed presentation 26/10/2009

Crimes Act 1914 -Report on Assumed Identities for 2008-09 - Australian Federal Police

21/08/2009 21/08/2009 15/09/2009

Customs Act 1901 - Report under subsection 233(6) on conduct of customs officers under subsection 233(3A) for 2008-09 [Managed deliveries]

16/09/2009 24/09/2009 27/10/2009

Surveillance Devices Act 2004 - Commonwealth Ombudsman report to the Attorney-General on the results of inspections of records under section 55,

March 2009

01/05/2009 12/05/2009 16/06/2009

War Crimes Act 1945 - Report on the operation of the Act to 30 June 2009 16/09/2009 22/09/2009 27/10/2009

Witness Protection Act 1994 - Report on the Operation of the National Witness Protection Program for 2008-09

10/09/2009 10/09/2009 27/10/2009

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P age 20

Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio - Migration Act 1958

Department of Immigration and Citizenship—Protection visa processing taking more than 90 days - Report for the period 1 March to 30 June 2009

13/08/2009 14/08/2009 27/10/2009

Department of Immigration and Citizenship—Protection visa processing taking more than 90 days - Report for the period 1 November 2008 to 28 February 2009

09/04/2009 09/04/2009 13/05/2009

Refugee Review Tribunal reviews not completed within 90 days - Report for the period 1 March to 30 June 2009

13/08/2009 14/08/2009 27/10/2009

Refugee Review Tribunal reviews not completed within 90 days - Report for the period 1 November 2008 to 28 February 2009

06/05/2009 11/05/2009 13/05/2009

Section 4860—Ombudsman's report on appropriateness of detention arrangements - Personal identifier: 553/09 to 567/09

02/09/2009 02/09/2009 16/09/2009

Section 4860—Government response to Ombudsman's report on appropriateness of detention arrangements - Personal identifier: 553/09 to 567/09

02/09/2009 02/09/2009 16/09/2009

Section 4860—Ombudsman's report on appropriateness of detention arrangements - Personal identifier: 534/09 to 552/09

16/06/2009 16/06/2009 17/06/2009

Section 4860—Government response to Ombudsman's report on appropriateness of detention arrangements - Personal identifier: 534/09 to 552/09

16/06/2009 16/06/2009 17/06/2009

Section 4860—Ombudsman's report on appropriateness of detention arrangements - Personal identifier: 509/09 to 533/09

08/05/2009 08/05/2009 13/05/2009

Section 4860—Government response to Ombudsman's report on appropriateness of detention arrangements - Personal identifier: 509/09 to 533/09

08/05/2009 08/05/2009 13/05/2009

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The Senate

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 1 of 2010)

March 2010

© Commonwealth of Australia

ISBN 978-1-74229-252-6

This document was produced from camera-ready copy prepared by the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, and printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Department of the Senate, Parliament House, Canberra.

222

Membership of the Committee

Members

Senator Glenn Sterle

Senator Fiona Nash

Senator the Hon. Bill Heffeman

Senator Steve Hutchins

Senator Kerry O'Brien

Senator Rachel Siewert

ALP, Western Australia Chair

NPA, New South Wales Deputy Chair

LP, New South Wales

ALP, New South Wales

ALP, Tasmania

AG, Western Australia

Participating Members

Senator Abetz Senator Adams Senator Back Senator Barnett

Senator Bemardi Senator Bilyk Senator

Birmingham Senator Bishop Senator Boswell Senator Boyce Senator Brandis Senator B Brown Senator C Brown Senator Bushby

Senator Cameron

Senator Cash Senator Colbeck Senator Collins Senator Coonan

Senator Cormann Senator Crossin Senator Eggleston Senator Farrell

Senator Feeney Senator Ferguson Senator Fielding Senator Fierravanti-Wells

Senator Fifield Senator Fisher Senator Forshaw

Senator Fumer Senator Hanson- Young Senator Humphries

Senator Hurley Senator Johnston Senator Joyce Senator Kroger Senator Ludlam

Senator Lundy Senator Macdonald Senator McEwen Senator McGauran

Senator McLucas Senator Marshall Senator Mason

Senator Milne Senator Minchin Senator Moore Senator Parry

Senator Payne Senator Policy Senator Pratt Senator Ronaldson Senator Ryan

Senator Scullion Senator Troeth Senator Trood Senator Williams Senator Wortley Senator Xenophon

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C o m m i t t e e S e c r e t a r i a t

Ms Jeanette Radcliffe, Secretary Ms Jenene James, Research Officer

PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

phone: (02) 6277 3511 fax: (02) 6277 5811 e-mail: rrat.sen@anh.gov.au internet: www.aph.gov.au/senate rrat

Table of Contents

Membership of the Committee in

List of Abbreviations ,vii

Chapter 1.......................................................................................................................1

Overview.....................................................................................................................1

Terms of reference................................................................................................. 1

Purpose of annual reports....................................................................................... 2

Requirements.......................................................................................................... 2

Reports referred to the committee ................................................. 2

Reports not examined............................................................................................. 3

Timeliness............................................................................................................... 4

Comments on reports.............................................................................................. 6

Senate remarks on annual reports......................................................................... 10

Comment on significant matters........................................................................... 10

Chapter 2.................................................................................................................... 11

Annual reports of departments....................... 11

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.............................................. 11

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government...........................................................................................................16

Chapter 3................................................... 21

Annual reports of agencies....................................................................................21

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio.......................................................21

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio................................................................................................................ 25

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Appendix 1 ................................................................................................................. 29

List of annual reports referred to the committee during the period 1 May 2009 to 31 October 2009.................................................................................................. 29

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio....................................................... 29

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio................................................................................................................ 32

Appendix 2 .................................................................................................................35

List of annual reports tabled after 31 October 2009........................................... 35

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio............................................... Γ 7.... 35

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio................................................................................................................ 37

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List of Abbreviations

AFMA Australian Fisheries Management Authority

ANAO Australian National Audit Office

APSC Australian Public Service Commission

APVMA Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority

AQIS Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service

ATSB Australian Transport Safety Bureau

AWBC Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation

CAC Act Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997

CAC Orders Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2005

CASA Civil Aviation Safety Authority

CEO Chief Executive Officer

DAA Dairy Adjustment Authority

DAFF Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

DEWHA Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Aits

EC Exceptional Circumstances

EPBC Act Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

EWC Export Wheat Commission

FMA Act Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

FOI Act Freedom o f Information Act 1982

Infrastructure Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

IUU Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

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MERI Monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement strategy

NRM Natural resource management

NTC National Transport Commission

OH&S Act Occupational Health & Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991

PAES Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements

PBS Portfolio Budget Statements

PIERD Act Primary Industries and Energy Research and Development Act 1989

R&D Research and development

Requirements for Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Annual Reports Agencies and FMA Act Bodies

Strategy Commonwealth Disability Strategy

WEA Wheat Exports Australia (from 1 July 2008)

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Chapter 1

Overview

1.1 The committee is responsible for examining the annual reports of departments and agencies within two portfolios:

• Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; and

• Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.

Terms of reference

1.2 Under Senate Standing Order 25(20), annual reports of departments and agencies shall stand referred to the legislation committees in accordance with an allocation of departments and agencies in a resolution of the Senate. Each committee shall:

(a) examine each annual report referred to it and report to the Senate whether the report is apparently satisfactory;

(b) consider in more detail, and report to the Senate on, each annual report which is not apparently satisfactory, and on the other annual reports which it selects for more detailed consideration;

(c) investigate and report to the Senate on any lateness in the presentation of annual reports;

(d) in considering an annual report, take into account any relevant remarks about the report made in debate in the Senate;

(e) if the committee so determines, consider annual reports of departments and budget-related agencies in conjunction with examination of estimates;

(f) report on annual reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year, and on annual reports tabled by 30 April each year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year;

(g) draw to the attention of the Senate any significant matters relating to the operations and performance of the bodies furnishing the annual reports; and

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(h) report to the Senate each year whether there are any bodies which do not present annual reports to the Senate and which should present such reports.1

Purpose of annual reports

1.3 The tabling and scrutiny of annual reports by Senate committees, under Standing Order 25(20), is an important element in the process of accountability to Parliament. The information provided in annual reports is placed on the public record and assists Parliament in its examination of the performance of departments and agencies and the administration of government programs.

Requirements

1.4 Annual reports are examined by the committee to determine whether they are timely and 'apparently satisfactory'. In forming its assessment, the committee considers whether the reports comply with the relevant legislation and guidelines for the preparation of annual reports:

• for departments of state and executive agencies these are: the Public Service Act 1999, subsections 63(2) and 70(2), and the Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, updated June 2009

and approved by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit on 17 June 2009; "

• for Commonwealth authorities and companies: the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (the CAC Act), sections 9, 36 and 48, and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2005 (CAC Orders); and

• for non-statutory bodies: the requirements are contained in the Government response to the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations on Non-statutory bodies, Senate Hansard, 8 December 1987, pp 2643-45.

Reports referred to the committee

1.5 Standing Order 25(20)(f) requires the committee to report on annual reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year. This year, that date is 11 March 2010. The committee is also required to report on annual reports tabled by 30 April each year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year.

1 Standing orders and other orders of the Senate, September 2006, p. 27. (This Standing Order was amended 24 August 1994, 13 February 1997, 11 November 1998, 3 December 1998, 13 February 2002, 19 November 2002, 14 August 2006: with effect from 11 September 2006, 13 May 2009: with effect on 14 May 2009).

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1.6 This report considers annual reports which were tabled in the Senate or presented to the President of the Senate between 1 May 2009 and 31 October 2009.

1.7 The committee examined eight annual reports of agencies within the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio and six annual reports of agencies within the Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio, as follows:

• Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—Report for 2008-09;

• Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation—Report for 2008-09;

• Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority—Report for 2008-09;

• Wheat Exports Australia—Report for 2008-09;

• Northern Territory Fisheries Joint Authority—Report for 2006-07;

• Queensland Fisheries Joint Authority—Report for 2005-06;

• Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority—Report for 2006-07;

• Western Australian Fisheries Joint Authority—Report for 2004-05;

• Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government—Report for 2008-09;

• Airservices Australia—Report for 2008-09;

• Civil Aviation Safety Authority—Report for 2008-09;

• National Transport Commission—Report for 2008-09;

• Australian River Co. Limited—Report for 1 December 2007 to 30 November 2008; and

• International Air Services Commission—Report for 2008-09.

1.8 A complete list of reports referred to the committee (including those not examined) appears at Appendix 1.

Reports not examined

1.9 The committee is not obliged to report on Acts, statements of corporate intent, surveys, corporate plans or errata. The following 13 documents were referred to the committee but have not been examined:

• Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997—Report to Parliament on Live-stock Mortalities for Exports by Sea for the Reporting Period 1 January to 30 June 2009;

• Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997—Report to Parliament in relation to statutory funding agreement with the Australian Livestock Export Corporation Limited (LiveCoip)—Report for 2007-08;

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• Dairy Australia Limited—Deed of variation to statutory funding agreement with the Commonwealth (Deed dated September 2009);

• Dairy Produce Act 1986— Report to Parliament in relation to statutory funding agreement with Dairy Australia Limited—Report for 2007-08;

• Regional Forest Agreement for the Eden Region of New South Wales - Progress on the implementation of the Regional Forest Agreement for the Eden Region—Report for 2004-05;

• Regional Forest Agreement for the North East Region of New South Wales (Upper North East and Lower North East Regions) - Progress on the implementation of the Regional Forest Agreement for the North East Region—Report for 2004-05;

• Regional Forest Agreement for the Southern Region of New South Wales - Progress on the implementation of the Regional Forest Agreement for the Southern Region—Report for 2004-05;

• Regional Forest Agreement for the Southern Region of New South Wales - Progress on the implementation of the Regional Forest Agreement for the Southern Region—Report for 2005-06;

• Airservices Australia—Corporate Plan 2009-2014;

• Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd— Statement of corporate intent 2009-10;

• Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995—Report for 2006­ 07 on the operation of the Act;

• Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997—quarterly report on the maximum movement limit for the period 1 January to 31 March 2009; and

• Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997—quarterly report on the maximum movement limit for the period 1 April to 30 June 2009.

Timeliness

1.10 Standing Order 25(20)(c) requires the committee to report to the Senate on the late presentation of annual reports.

1.11 As stated in the Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies (Requirements for Annual Reports), annual reports must be tabled in Parliament by 31 October each year, except where an agency's own legislation specifies a timeframe for its annual report.2 Those agencies reporting under

the CAC Act are required to provide their annual reports to the Minister by the

2 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, p. 1 (section 4).

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15th day of the fourth month after the end of the financial year.3 Where the financial year ends on 30 June, this deadline translates to 15 October.

1.12 A number of annual reports were tabled in the Senate after the appropriate deadlines, beyond the date that they may be considered in this report. Annual reports which were tabled late will be examined in the committee's next report on annual reports. A list of those reports appears at Appendix 2.

1.13 Although not subject to the timeframes in the CAC Act or the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act), the committee notes significant delays in the tabling of the following reports:

• Northern Territory Fisheries Joint Authority—Report for 2006-07;

• Queensland Fisheries Joint Authority—Report for 2005-06;

• Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority—Report for 2006-07;

• Western Australian Fisheries Joint Authority—Report for 2004-05;

• Regional Forest Agreement for the Eden Region of New South Wales - Progress on the implementation of the Regional Forest Agreement for the Eden Region—Report for 2004-05;

• Regional Forest Agreement for the North East Region of New South Wales (Upper North East and Lower North East Regions) - Progress on the implementation of the Regional Forest Agreement for the North East Region—Report for 2004-05;

• Regional Forest Agreement for the Southern Region of New South Wales - Progress on the implementation of the Regional Forest Agreement for the Southern Region—Report for 2004-05;

• Regional Forest Agreement for the Southern Region of New South Wales - Progress on the implementation of the Regional Forest Agreement for the Southern Region—Report for 2005-06; and

• Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995—Report for 2006­ 07 on the operation of the Act.

1.14 The committee recognises that some bodies are required to comply with the timeframes stipulated in their enabling legislation, and appreciates that the relevant deadlines are adhered to by those agencies. Nonetheless, the committee reminds all bodies that, as stated in the Requirements for Annual Reports, the government maintains its policy that all annual reports are to be tabled by 31 October.4

3 Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, s. 9.

4 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, p. 1 (section 4).

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Comments on reports

1.15 Under Standing Order 25(20)(a) the committee is required to scrutinise annual reports and infonn the Senate as to whether they are 'apparently satisfactory'. To form this assessment the committee examines whether annual reports comply with the statutory reporting guidelines relevant to each particular report.

1.16 The committee considers that the reports examined are generally 'apparently satisfactory', although some do not comprehensively address all of their legislative requirements. While any divergence from these requirements is mostly minor in nature, the committee encourages agencies to pay particular attention to the matters

discussed below.

Aids to Access: Indexes

Alphabetical indexes

1.17 Under subsection 8(2) of the Requirements for Annual Reports, all annual reports are required to incorporate aids to access, including alphabetical indexes.5 The committee notes the importance of an alphabetical index in assisting readers to navigate annual reports. While most reports did include alphabetical indexes, some were quite brief and did not effectively aid readers. The committee again notes that the National Transport Commission (NTC) would benefit from including an

alphabetical index.

Compliance indexes

1.18 As mentioned in the committee's previous reports on annual reports, although compliance indexes are no longer mandatory, the committee recommends their inclusion in annual reports.6 Compliance indexes greatly facilitate the committee's task of ensuring adherence to reporting requirements, and also assist agencies to

clearly demonstrate that all legislative obligations have been met.

1.19 The committee found that some compliance indexes were more useful than others. A number of compliance indexes did not address all of the reporting requirements and, in some cases, the page references given in the compliance indexes were incorrect or too broad to be useful.

1.20 The committee commends those agencies which included compliance indexes for each piece of legislation they are required to report under. Further, the committee is pleased that a number of agencies have now adopted the recommended practice of including a nil, n/a or entry where the body has nothing to report under an item.

5 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, pp 4 and 16.

6 See for example, Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, Annual reports (No. 2 o f2009), p. 6.

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1.21 The committee is disappointed that despite comments made in its previous reports, the NTC again failed to include a compliance index in its annual report.7 Consequently the committee found it difficult to determine whether this report complied with a number of relevant requirements.

Report on performance

1.22 The committee considers that most annual reports would benefit from an explanation (textual or visual) which clearly defines and links, where applicable, statutory objectives, annual operational plan or corporate plan objectives, research and development objectives and outputs/outcomes. This would assist in demonstrating how agencies have performed in relation to each of these requirements, as required under the CAC Orders, and whether they have achieved their objectives.8

Legislative requirements for Commonwealth authorities

1.23 The committee draws attention to section 17 of the CAC Orders which notes that the annual reports of Commonwealth authorities must include certain matters required by the relevant sections of the following legislation:9

• Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) section 516A;

• Freedom o f Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) subsection 8(1) ; and

• Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991 (OH&S Act) section 74.

1.24 The committee encourages agencies to look carefully at the reporting requirements under these pieces of legislation when compiling upcoming reports.

1.25 The committee reminds agencies that they are required to report on all five requirements under subsection 516A(6) of the EPBC Act. Several agencies failed to include information required under paragraphs 516(6)(c) and (e) of the EPBC Act, in relation to documenting the effect of activities on the environment and mechanisms

for reviewing and improving these measures. The committee encourages agencies to address these requirements in more detail in future.

1.26 The committee observed that several agencies did not adequately address all requirements under subsection 8(1) of the FOI Act. In particular, the committee observed that a number of bodies omitted to provide information on arrangements that

7 Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Annual reports (No. 1 o f2006), p. 4; Annual reports (No. 1 o f2007), p. 6; Annual reports (No. 2 o f2008), pp 6-7; and Annual reports (No. 2 o f2009), p. 6.

8 Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2005, para. 10(l)(a).

9 Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2005, s. 17.

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exist for others to participate in the agency's policy formulation process. The committee notes that Airservices Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) addressed the FOI requirements comprehensively.

1.27 Omissions were again noted in most agencies' attempts to report against the OF1&S Act, particularly regarding paragraph 74(1 )(c). The committee considers that the DAFF and CASA annual reports provide good examples of how this requirement should be addressed.

Commonwealth Disability Strategy

1.28 Under section 18 of the CAC Orders, an assessment of an authority's perfonnance in implementing the Commonwealth Disability Strategy (the Strategy) must be provided in accordance with the terms set out in the Guide to the Performance Reporting Framework.10 1 1 The committee again observed significant variation in the

level of detail provided regarding compliance with the Strategy. The committee strongly encourages agencies to assess compliance in accordance with the recommended guide in future reports. The committee considers that the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (Infrastructure) has addressed this requirement to a high standard.

Consultancy contracts and competitive tendering and contracting

1.29 The committee notes that under the Requirements for Annual Reports, agencies are required to provide information about consultancy contracts and any competitive tendering and contracting undertaken.1 The committee reminds agencies that the method of presentation for this information is specified in detail in the Requirements for Annual Reports. While a majority of agencies provided basic information about consultancies, some of it was not in the required format and did not provide an adequate level of detail. In several annual reports, however, the committee was unable to locate any information about consultancies.

1.30 Consequently, the committee emphasises that, as a matter of best practice, CAC Act bodies should comply with the Requirements for Annual Reports, and provide all relevant detail in accordance with the required proforma. Further, the committee suggests that all agencies list consultancy and contract services in the

compliance index or at the very least in the alphabetical index of their annual reports.

1.31 The committee commends Infrastructure, Wheat Exports Australia (WEA) and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) for fully

10 Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2005, s. 18. This Guide can be accessed on the Commonwealth Disability Strategy website at http://www.facs.gov.au/cds.

11 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, pp 10-12 and 24— 27.

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complying with this requirement and providing information on consultancy services in accordance with the mandatory proforma.

Fraud Control Certification

1.32 While most agencies provided varying degrees of information about their fraud control plans, the committee draws attention to the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines 2002. Under these guidelines:

CEOs of agencies covered by the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines are to certify to their Minister or Presiding Officer in their agency's annual report that they are satisfied that their agency has prepared fraud risk assessments and fraud control plans, and has in place appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation, reporting and data collection procedures and processes that meet the specific needs of the agency and

comply with the Guidelines.12

1.33 The committee encourages agency heads to make a specific certification in keeping with the guidelines. The committee highlights the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC), DAFT and Infrastructure annual reports as examples of how to fully comply with this requirement.

Consistency o f reporting documents

1.34 The committee also took account of the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee report, Transparency and accountability o f Commonwealth public funding and expenditure, in its examination of annual reports. The committee took particular note of the following comment:

It would be useful therefore if Legislative and General Purpose Committees in their reports on annual reports checked that the reports accurately reflect the performance indicators in the PBSs and PAES. It would also be useful if they reported on comparisons of the final expenditure on outputs (or programs) with the estimates.13

1.35 The committee notes that in several cases, performance indicators differed between budget documents and agencies' annual reports. The committee also found that estimates expenditure figures in budget documents and actual expenditure figures in annual reports were often not easily comparable.

1.36 The committee encourages agencies to ensure that outcome/output information and performance indicators remain consistent between budget documents and annual reports. Further, where there is variation between these documents, the

12 Attorney-General's Department, Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines 2002, May 2002, p. 2. See also Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, p. 7.

13 Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration, Transparency and accountability o f Commonwealth public funding and expenditure, March 2007, p. 64.

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accountability process would be enhanced if both the former and the new performance information were provided, as well as the reasons for the revisions.

1.37 The committee notes that under the Requirements for Annual Reports the provision of such information is a mandatory requirement, and as a matter of best practice, CAC Act bodies should also provide this information.14 In addition, agencies are encouraged to provide information on expenditure by outcome/output in a form

that is comparable with budget documentation.

1.38 Once again, the committee notes that Infrastructure has complied with this requirement particularly well. New or modified performance indicators since the 2008-09 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) are clearly identified in a table format at Appendix K of Infrastructure's annual report.

Senate remarks on annual reports

1.39 In accordance with Senate Standing Order 25(20)(d), the committee is required to take into account remarks made in the Senate which are relevant to the annual reports under consideration. No substantive debate on annual reports within the committee's portfolios took place in the Senate.

Comment on significant matters

1.40 Finally, Senate Standing Order 25(20)(g) directs the committee to comment on significant matters raised in annual reports relating to the operations and performance of reporting bodies.

1.41 In Chapter 2, the committee has considered the following annual reports:

• Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; and

• Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.

1.42 In Chapter 3, the committee has considered the annual reports of the following agencies:

• Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation;

• Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority;

• Wheat Exports Australia;

• Airservices Australia;

• Civil Aviation Safety Authority; and

• National Transport Commission.

14 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, p. 5.

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Chapter 2

Annual reports of departments

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

2.1 The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) Annual Report 2008-09 was prepared in accordance with section 63 of the Public Sendee Act 1999. The report was received by the Senate on 8 October 2009 and tabled on 26 October 2009.

2.2 The report is presented in accordance with the checklist of requirements specified in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009 (Requirements for Annual Reports).

2.3 DAFF's Annual Report 2008-09 contains the following information:

• the secretary's yearly review highlighting the achievements of the department and future outlook;

• a departmental overview outlining DAFF's operations and organisational structure;

• report on performance as measured against performance indicators specified in the Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS);

• an overview of the department's management and accountability arrangements, including corporate governance practices, human resource management, internal and external scrutiny, reviews and evaluations, and purchasing; and

• appendices detailing workforce statistics, occupational health and safety, compliance with the Commonwealth Disability Strategy, environmental performance, reporting under the FOI Act, grants, advertising and market research, and agency resource and outcome resource statements.

2.4 Also included as an appendix is the final annual report for the Dairy Adjustment Authority (DAA) for the period 1 July 2008 to 31 December 2008, when the DAA ceased to exist. The committee notes that DAFF assumed the powers and functions of the DAA from 1 January 2009.!

2.5 The committee notes that DAFF has complied with the requirement to include a summary statement which separately lists the number of new and ongoing consultancy contracts and the total actual expenditure for each category. However, in addition to this information, agencies must complete a mandatory proforma listing 1

1 Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 225-253.

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each individual consultancy to the value of $10,000 or more, in accordance with the Requirements for Annual Reports. This information must be provided either in an appendix to the report or through the internet.2

2.6 According to DAFF's annual report, this information can be viewed on the DAFF website and a link has been given. The committee notes that when the DAFF website was accessed at the end of January 2010, this information was not available for 2008-09. Instead, the link contained a two page extract from DAFF's annual report

for 2008-09. The committee is pleased to note, however, that immediately prior to finalising this report in March, the information for 2008-09 had been added.

2.7 The committee considers that DAFF has met all of the mandatory reporting requirements and provided a comprehensive review of its performance for 2008-09. Its report is clear, well presented and easy to navigate.

Departmental overview

2.8 The committee notes the following items of significance for DAFF during 2008-09:

. release of the report of the Quarantine and Biosecurity Review panel (the Beale review) in December 2008, with the government agreeing in principle to all 84 recommendations;

• planning, coordination and provision of logistical support to screen passengers arriving at air and sea ports following the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus (human swine influenza);

• continued provision of drought related assistance to farmers through the Exceptional Circumstances (EC) programs;

• coordination of the government's review of drought support measures;

• continued implementation of Australia's Farming Future, a four-year $130 million research and training program to help the farming sector boost productivity and adapt to climate change;

• appointment of an independent Rural Research and Development Council to provide high-level advice to the Minister;

• announcement of three research priorities under the Climate Change Research Program: reducing greenhouse gas pollution, improving soil management and adapting to a changing climate;

• reprioritisation of resources in response to the government's request to reduce overall running costs by a further 1.2 per cent over the previous 3.25 per cent efficiency dividend in the 2009-10 Budget; and

2 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, pp 24— 27.

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• reform of the department's governance structure, by establishing formal committees for people management, business improvement, information and communications technology, and legislation and deregulation.3

2.9 From 1 July 2009, all of the department's quarantine and biosecurity functions have been brought together in the new Biosecurity Services Group. This includes the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS); Biosecurity Australia; the biosecurity areas of the Product Integrity, Animal and Plant Health Division; and the

Quarantine and Biosecurity Policy Unit.4

Report on performance

2.10 DAFF has measured its performance against performance indicators specified in the 2008-09 PBS. A helpful overview of DAFF's performance framework and a concise summary of performance are provided at the beginning of the report on

performance.5

2.11 This is a comprehensive section of the report containing detailed and useful infonnation. The committee noted the following items:

• While 88 projects were completed under the Securing our Fishing Future structural adjustment program during 2008-09, a further 34 projects have been extended into 2009-10 due to setbacks in meeting project milestones caused by external factors.6

• Four out of five regional community projects that remained from the Sugar Industry Reform Program when it ended on 30 June 2008 were completed by 30 June 2009. The remaining project was delayed due to bad weather but is expected to be completed in the second half of 2009.7

• The Caring for our Country initiative began on 1 July 2008, integrating the functions of previous natural resource management (NRM) programs, including the Natural Heritage Trust, the National Landcare Program, the Environmental Stewardship Program and the Working on

Country Indigenous land and sea ranger program. It is jointly administered by DAFF and the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) and focuses on six national priority areas. A business plan will be released each year to seek investment proposals for the delivery of identified targets. Progress will be assessed

according to a monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement

3 Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Annual Report 2008-09, pp ix-xi, xiii, and 92.

4 Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Annual Report 2008-09, pp x and xix.

5 Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 2-6.

6 Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 9, 37, 51 and 61.

7 Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 32.

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(MERI) strategy, and delivery outcomes will be published in an annual report card.8

• Illegal foreign fishing in Australian waters continued to decline significantly in 2008-09, primarily as a result of strict enforcement measures. The number of vessels apprehended in our northern Australian waters fell to 27, down from 156 in 2007-08. No illegal

foreign fishing vessels were apprehended in other Australian waters. DAFF continued to engage with signatories of the Regional Plan of Action to Promote Responsible Fishing and Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. The department also continued to work

closely with Indonesia on collaborative measures against IUU fishing in the Arafura and Timor seas.9

• The department led Australia's negotiating efforts to secure agreement at the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna to adopt a catch documentation scheme, to allow only legally sourced product to access the markets. Agreement was also reached on developing a

strategy to rebuild the southern bluefin tuna stock. The new standards will come into effect in 2010.10 1 1

Management and accountability

2.12 Three major AN AO performance audits relating to DAFF's activities and two cross-portfolio audits involving DAFF were tabled during 2008-09. Those reports of particular interest are discussed below.

2.13 The ANAO Audit Report No. 38 of 2008-09, Administration o f the Buyback Component o f the Securing our Fishing Future Structural Adjustment Package, found that DAFF's use of an algorithm to evaluate the tenders received was an innovative and practical approach, given the complexity of the evaluation process and the large

number of tenders involved. However, there were no formal quality assurance processes in place during the development and running of the algorithm to ensure it was operating correctly. In addition, the evaluation process was not transparent, with a lack of documentation to support key elements of the process, and a failure to manage

stakeholders' expectations by providing clearer guidance. The ANAO made one recommendation, in relation to enhancing the transparency and accountability of any future evaluation processes, which DAFF has accepted.11

8 Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 10 and 19-20.

9 Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 16-17, 25 and 65.

10 Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Animal Report 2008-09, pp 17, 26, 65 and 69.

11 Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), Administration o f the Buyback Component o f the Securing our Fishing Future Structural Adjustment Package, Audit Report No. 38, 2008-09, pp 16-18 and 23.

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2.14 The ANAO Audit Report No. 39 of 2008-09, Administration o f the Securing our Fishing Future Structural Adjustment Package Assistance Programs, found that DAFF had developed appropriate program guidelines and a sound framework for assessing and approving applications for the three assistance programs. However, in practice, the department's documented processes and procedures were not followed

when assessing and recommending applications to the decision makers. The ANAO also noted that DAFF's reporting on these programs, including in its annual report, did not advise the extent to which the program objectives and the expected benefits are being achieved. The ANAO made one recommendation which DAFF has accepted.1""

2.15 The ANAO Audit Report No. 47 of 2008-09, Management o f Domestic Fishing Cotnpliance, found that the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) effectively manages fishing concessions that limit access to the fisheries and control the methods through which fishers can take fish. However, AFMA is not

undertaking its domestic fishing compliance responsibilities as effectively as it could be.1 2 13 The ANAO also observed that:

• AFMA has a sound process for annually assessing domestic compliance risks, but its under-developed intelligence capability has not facilitated regular risk reviews or targeting of compliance activities;

• AFMA's enforcement approaches have not always achieved the desired compliance outcomes because of the limited range of enforcement responses adopted and their inconsistent application; and

• a new centralised approach to compliance monitoring (from 1 July 2009) will give AFMA greater control over the current decentralised approach, but also creates different risks. For example, a reduced number of planned inspections and an intermittent presence in ports will not

provide as strong a deterrent as previously and will inhibit inspections targeting 'at risk' fishers.14

2.16 The ANAO made five recommendations in relation to quota management, AFMA's inspection program, enforcement action, developing a compliance strategy and improving intelligence capability, and performance reporting. AFMA has accepted all of the recommendations and expects to address them within the next

12 months.15

12 Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), Administration o f the Securing our Fishing Future Structural Adjustment Package Assistance Programs, Audit Report No. 39, 2008-09, pp 14— 15 and 23.

13 Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), Management of Domestic Fishing Compliance, Audit Report No. 47, 2008-09, p. 16.

14 Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), Management of Domestic Fishing Compliance, Audit Report No. 47, 2008-09, pp 16-17.

15 Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), Management of Domestic Fishing Compliance, Audit Report No. 47, 2008-09, pp 18 and 25-27.

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2.17 The committee notes that DAFF recorded an operating deficit of $17.4 million in 2008-09, compared with a small surplus of $0.7 million in 2007-08. This was mainly due to lower than expected revenues from AQIS import and export programs as a result of reduced activity stemming from the impacts of the global financial

crisis.16

Conclusion

2.18 The committee considers that DAFF's Annual Report 2008-09 complies with the reporting requirements of a Commonwealth department.

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

2.19 The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (Infrastructure) Annual Report 2008-09 was prepared in accordance with section 63 of the Public Service Act 1999 and other relevant legislation. The report was received by the Senate on 30 October 2009 and tabled on

6 November 2009.

2.20 The report is presented in accordance with the checklist of requirements stipulated in the Requirements for Annual Reports.

2.21 Infrastructure has provided a comprehensive review of its performance for 2008-09. The use of a table format to present information such as performance against outcomes, new or modified performance indicators, and reporting under the

Commonwealth Disability Strategy was clear and easy to follow. The Infrastructure annual report also included a detailed and clearly presented compliance index.

2.22 As mentioned in the committee's previous reports, Infrastructure has provided information on the grant programs it administers, referring readers to its web pages for information about discretionary grants (until 31 December 2008) and grants programs (from 1 January 2009), in line with the Requirements for Annual Reports.17 While

some internet links were provided, the committee reminds Infrastructure that providing more direct internet links would facilitate access to this information.

2.23 The Infrastructure Annual Report for 2008-09 contains the following information:

• the secretary's yearly review highlighting the achievements of the department;

16 Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 192.

17 Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Annual Reports (No. 1 o f2008), p. 15; and Annual Reports (No. 1 o f2009), p. 11.

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• a departmental overview outlining Infrastructure's operations and organisational structure;

• report on performance as measured against PBS performance indicators;

• report on Infrastructure Australia's performance as measured against PBS performance indicators;

• an overview of the department's management and accountability arrangements, including corporate governance practices, internal and external scrutiny, and human resource management; and

• appendices detailing agency resource statements, resources for outcomes, procurement practices, compliance with the Commonwealth Disability Strategy, environmental performance, reporting under the FOI Act, grants programs, performance indicators modified since the PBS,

and financial statements.

Departmental overview

2.24 The committee notes that Mr Mike Mrdak was appointed secretary of the department from 29 June 2009, following the retirement of Mr Michael Taylor in April 2009.

2.25 The secretary reported that:

The past year has been one of significantly increased activity for the Department as we assisted the government in addressing the effects of the global recession by delivering its economic stimulus plan.18

2.26 The committee notes the following items of significance for Infrastructure during 2008-09:

• administration of programs providing over $5.2 billion in direct and indirect grants for the construction and maintenance of land transport infrastructure, as part of the government's Nation Building Program;

• completion of National Partnership Agreements with all states and territories for land transport infrastructure projects from 2008-09 to 2013-14;

• completion of the second phase of checked baggage screening measures with provision of funding to 22 regional airports to assist with the costs of purchasing and installing x-ray equipment with explosive detection capabilities;

18 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 3.

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• development of regulatory reform proposals to introduce single, national regulatory systems for heavy vehicles, maritime safety and rail safety;

• development of the National Road Safety Action Plan 2009 and 2010 to improve road safety across all parts of Australia's road transport system;

. development of the Aviation White Paper on national aviation policy, for release in the first half of 2009-10;

• release of the Aviation Green Paper in December 2008 to provide greater planning and investment certainty for the industry and clear commitments for users of aviation services and communities;

e as part of the release of the Aviation Green Paper, the government

announced that the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) would become a separate statutory agency from 1 July 2009;

• progress towards implementing the Regional Development Australia initiative with memorandums of understanding signed between the Australian Government and nearly all state and territory governments;

• establishment of the Australian Council of Local Government, a new partnership between the Australian Government and local governments; and

• review of governance arrangements across the department's program management operations, resulting in the establishment of a number of project boards to oversee and report on program planning and implementation.19 2 0

2.27 Infrastructure reported an operating deficit of $3.0 million for 2008-09. This was within the Department's approved operating deficit of $3.5 million."0

Report on performance

2.28 Infrastructure has measured its performance against performance indicators specified in the 2008-09 PBS. A useful summary of performance is provided at the beginning of each output section. The committee notes that Infrastructure no longer uses a rating scale from 'fully achieved' to 'not achieved' to assess the achievement of programs against performance indicators from the PBS. As a result, the extent to

which programs have been achieved is not quite as clear as in previous annual reports.

2.29 Under Outcome 1, the committee notes that:

19 Department of Infrastructure. Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 2-3, 37,43, 52 and 56.

20 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 4.

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• 292 level crossing upgrade projects were approved for funding in 2008­ 09 and 2009-10, to install boom gates and other safety measures at high- risk level crossings around Australia;2'and

• The government received a project proposal report and committed $1 million in 2008-09 to support the planning phase of the Murray River Bridges - Federation Fund project. However, as a result of significant delays, the government decided to close the Federation Fund.2 1 22

2.30 Under Outcome 2, the committee notes that:

• Following a review of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme, the government announced in November 2008 that the scheme would be retained in its current form;23and

• Due to the lack of demand for the Seatbelts on Regional School Buses program, $7.5 million of the program's funding was reallocated to Regional Partnerships in the 2008-09 PAES.24

Management and accountability

2.31 One major ANAO performance audit of Infrastructure activities and five cross-portfolio audits involving Infrastructure were tabled during 2008-09.

2.32 The ANAO Audit Report No. 29 of 2008-09, Deliveiy o f Projects on the AusLink National Network, identified a number of concerns in relation to the effectiveness of Infrastructure's administration of the AusLink program, in working with the States to deliver the expected outcomes. The ANAO found that the delivery

cost of most of the sampled AusLink stage 1 projects (covering the first five year plan from 2004-5 to 2008-09) was greater than expected at the time of funding approval, with increases ranging from six per cent to 249 per cent. In addition, there were significant delays in the delivery of some major projects.25 This resulted from:

e projects being approved for funding after limited prior consultation with the States and before the necessary planning and preconstruction work had been completed; and

21 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 21 and 27.

22 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 22 and 29.

23 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 60-61.

24 Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 72 and 75.

25 ANAO, Delivery o f Projects on the AusLink National Network, Audit Report No. 29, 2008-09, pp 16-17.

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• shortcomings in estimating practices and Infrastructure's scrutiny of estimates submitted by the States.26

2.33 The ANAO observed that the documented project assessment and approval processes for AusLink projects are based on projects being considered for funding on a phased basis. However, it has become common for funding commitments for major road projects to be announced during Federal election campaigns before robust project proposals have been developed, creating challenges for Infrastructure and State

transport agencies in delivering projects on time and budget.27

2.34 In addition, the ANAO noted that while an evaluation framework was developed and documented in mid-2006, there had been considerable slippage in its implementation.28

2.35 In developing its audit recommendations, the ANAO took into account administrative improvements already made or underway by Infrastructure and proposals by Infrastructure Australia to improve the robustness and quality of projects submitted by the States.29 3 0 The ANAO indicated that:

In combination, these various initiatives, together with implementation of the recently promulgated cost estimating standard, can be expected to enhance the administration of funding for National Network projects and,

consequently, the delivery of projects.

2.36 The ANAO made four recommendations which Infrastructure has accepted.

Conclusion

2.37 The committee considers that Infrastructure's Annual Report 2008-09 complies with the reporting requirements of a Commonwealth department.

26 ANAO, Delivery o f Projects on the AusLink National Network, Audit Report No. 29, 2008-09, p. 17.

27 ANAO, Delivery o f Projects on the AusLink National Network, Audit Report No. 29, 2008-09, p. 17.

28 ANAO, Delivery o f Projects on the AusLink National Network, Audit Report No. 29, 2008-09. pp 18 and 38— 39.

29 ANAO, Delivery o f Projects on the AusLink National Network, Audit Report No. 29, 2008-09, p. 19.

30 ANAO, Delivery o f Projects on the AusLink National Network, Audit Report No. 29, 2008-09, p. 20.

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Chapter 3

Annual reports of agencies

3.1 The committee considered all of the following reports to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio

Commonwealth authorities

Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation

3.2 Once again, the committee commends the AWBC for certifying its compliance with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines in the prescribed manner, as outlined in paragraphs 1.32 and 1.33. The committee notes the proviso that the AWBC's fraud risk assessment and fraud management plan were not completed within the timeframe specified in the guidelines.

3.3 The AWBC reported that it had achieved an operating surplus of $526,000 for 2008-09, compared to the budgeted break-even figures in the PBS. The Chairman indicated that while this is a pleasing result, it is not the Board's intention to

accumulate profits and it will be investigating ways to utilise some of its existing financial reserves for the benefit of the wine sector.1

3.4 The AWBC reported that it underwent significant restructuring in 2008-09 including the closure of its European office, changes to its North American and UK/Ireland/Europe operations, and the establishment of a marketing presence in China in partnership with Austrade. The AWBC observed that the most significant

issues for the industry are the uncertainty of the system for taxing wine and the imbalance between supply and demand. There is currently an excess supply after a rebound in the national harvests for 2008 and 2009, following the severely drought- effected harvest of 2007.1 2

Prescribed agencies

Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority

3.5 The committee is pleased to note that, following the committee's comments in its previous report, the APVMA has made a number of improvements to its Annual Report for 2008-09. In particular, the APVMA has more closely aligned its compliance index with the checklist of requirements, as set out in the Requirements

1 Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 5 and 28.

2 Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 5, 28 and 48.

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for Annual Reports. In addition, the compliance index for the APVMA's enabling legislation now follows the reporting requirements set out in Section 61 of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992, which apply from the 2007-08 financial year onwards.3

3.6 Overall, the committee found the APVMA's compliance index to be detailed, useful and easy to follow. The committee notes, however, that the compliance index contained some incorrect page numbers and that a number of mandatory items were not listed, including the following:

• where outcome and output structures differ from PBS format, details of variation and reasons for change;

» performance of purchaser/provider arrangements;

• where performance targets differ from the PBS/P AES, details of both former and new targets, and reasons for the change;

. narrative discussion and analysis of performance;

• performance against service charter customer service standards, complaints data, and response to complaints;

• developments since the end of the financial year; and

• grant programs.

3.7 The committee acknowledges that a number of these mandatory requirements may not be applicable to the APVMA. In such cases, the committee considers it would be useful to record a nil entry or 'not applicable' where the APVMA has nothing to

report against an item.

3.8 The committee commends the APVMA for its improved reporting on consultancy contracts and competitive tendering. As well as a mandatory proforma listing each individual consultancy to the value of $10,000 or more, summary statements for new and ongoing consultancies have been provided in accordance with

the guidelines set out in the Requirements for Annual Reports.

3.9 The committee notes that the APVMA has included a summary resource table by outcomes. While the inclusion of this table is an improvement on its previous annual report, the information provided in the final column is not in accordance with the suggested format for the table contained in the Requirements for Annual Reports. 3 4 5

3 Agricultural and Veterinaiy Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992, Section 61. See also Table A, Section 14 of the notes to this Act.

4 See 'Checklist of Requirements' in Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, pp 31-33.

5 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments. Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, p. 30.

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In addition, agencies are also required to include an agency resource statement table, a new requirement from 2008-09 onwards.6

3.10 The committee is pleased to note that the APVMA has included a date on its transmittal letter, as specified in the Requirements for Annual Reports.

3.11 The APVMA reported that throughout 2008-09 it continued the review of its cost recovery arrangements which began in 2007-08. The APVMA has considered all of the comments received and is now preparing a final cost recovery impact statement

for the Minister's agreement. The final statement will set out the fee structure for the next five years, or until the next review, if the need arises before 2013. It is proposed that changes to the APVMA's cost recovery arrangements will be phased in from

2009-10 and completed by July 2011.7

3.12 The APVMA's income for 2008-09 was $24.83 million, an increase of $2.37 million from 2007-08. This was primarily due to higher levy revenue. Total operating expenses for 2008-09 were $25.86 million, an increase of $1.01 million from the previous year.8

3.13 Following comments made in its previous report, the committee is pleased to observe that the APVMA has included a number of corrections to its 2007-08 annual report, as follows:

• a date for the letter of transmittal;

• a summary resource table by outcomes;

• separate summary statements for new and ongoing consultancies; and

• a revised compliance index.9

Wheat Exports Australia

3.14 The committee notes that this is the first report of Wheat Exports Australia (WEA). WEA replaced the Export Wheat Commission (EWC) from 1 July 2008 following a change to Australia's wheat export arrangements. WEA is a prescribed agency under the FMA Act. The objective of WEA is to regulate the export of bulk

6 See suggested format for the Agency Resource Statement table in Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, pp 28-29.

7 Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 5 and 7.

8 Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 7 and 20- 21.

9 Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, Annual reports (No. 2 o f2009), September 2009, pp 20-21.

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wheat from Australia through the Wheat Export Accreditation Scheme and inform government, growers, exporters and industry of outcomes.10 1 1

3.15 Overall the committee found WEA's report to be informative and well presented. While the report contained a useful compliance index which aided the committee in its assessment of the report, a number of items, that are mandatory if

applicable, were not listed. The committee considers it would be useful to record a nil entry where WEA has nothing to report against these items.

3.16 The committee commends WEA for fully complying with the requirements relating to consultancy contracts and competitive tendering. As well as the summary statements for new and ongoing consultancies, a listing of individual consultancies was provided in accordance with the mandatory proforma set out in the Requirements

for Annual Reports.11

3.17 The committee is also pleased to note that WEA has provided 'Agency resource statement' and 'Total resources for outcomes' tables in accordance with the formats specified in the Requirements for Annual Reports.12

3.18 In addition, WEA's reporting on OH&S, and under section 311A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 in relation to advertising and market research was of a high standard.

3.19 The committee notes that WEA has included a brief general statement about the Commonwealth Disability Strategy, however, there was no assessment of its performance in implementing the strategy (as outlined in paragraph 1.28). Instead,

readers are referred to a web link for the Australian Public Service Commission's (APSC's) State of the Service Report, with WEA indicating that it had reported on its performance to the APSC through this report. WEA is reminded that this information must be included in its annual report.13

3.20 WEA reported that 'the period covered by this 2008-09 Annual Report has been one of momentous change for Australia's wheat industry'. When the Wheat Export Marketing Act 2008 commenced on 1 July 2008, 'it removed the Single Desk export wheat marketing system and introduced competition to the exporting of

Australian bulk wheat'.14

10 Wheat Exports Australia, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 6 and 57.

11 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, pp 10— 12 and 24— 27.

12 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, pp 6— 7 and 28— 30.

13 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements for Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, p. 13.

14 Wheat Exports Australia, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 2.

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3.21 WEA indicated that the Act and the Wheat Export Accreditation Scheme will be reviewed by the Productivity Commission for reporting to the Australian Government by 30 June 2010. At the same time, DAFF, in conjunction with the Department of Finance and Deregulation, will be conducting an internal review of

funding arrangements for WEA. The committee notes that the Government provided an appropriation of $1,107 million through an Advance to the Finance Minister on 5 November 2008 for WEA operations during 2008-09.15

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio

Commonwealth authorities

Airservices Australia

3.22 As mentioned in the committee's previous reports the compliance index in this report was not comprehensive.16 The committee again found it difficult to ascertain whether Airservices Australia had adequately reported against section 15 of the CAC. The committee also had difficulty finding information about subsidiaries and the

location of major activities and facilities. The committee encourages Airservices Australia to include a more comprehensive compliance index in upcoming reports.

3.23 The committee commends Airservices Australia on its thorough reporting under the EPBC, FOI and OH&S Acts.

3.24 Airservices Australia reported that in 2008-09 it initiated a much more strategic focus on safety, both in its operations and workplace. The Board and Executive are in the final stages of approving a ten year safety plan, to ensure that operational and workplace safety are key considerations in the way Airservices Australia delivers projects, acquires new technology and infrastructure, refurbishes

existing systems and buildings, and enhances the safety of its staff by utilising good workplace design practices.17

3.25 Airservices Australia negotiated three collective agreements with its employees and unions in the past year. The CEO explained that 'it was important that, while these agreements needed to be fair to our people, they also provided the basis for our program of ongoing productivity improvement and reform'. As Airservices

Australia earns revenue from the aviation industry, the current and emerging cost pressures on the industry were key considerations in the negotiations. According to the Chairman, 'this process was not without difficulties, particularly in the air traffic

15 Wheat Exports Australia, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 5 and 30.

16 Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Annual Reports (No. 1 o f2007), p. 6; Annual Reports (No. 2 o f2008), p. 15; and Annual Reports (No. 1 o f2009), p. 24.

17 Airservices Australia, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 19.

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agreement; however, the Board was pleased that agreements which reflected opportunities for further efficiency improvements were eventually reached'.1

Civil Aviation Safety Authority

3.26 The committee considers that CASA has fulfilled its reporting requirements to a high standard. The report is clear, well structured and easy to read. It provides a thorough review of CASA's functions, activities and outcomes for 2008-09, including comprehensive reporting under the FOI, OH&S and Commonwealth Electoral Acts.

3.27 The committee is pleased to note improvements in CASA's transmittal letter and its reporting on the Commonwealth Disability Strategy.

3.28 CASA reported that a significant milestone in 2008-09 was the finalisation of the new Civil Aviation Safety Regulation 1988 (CASR) Part 99, which establishes a framework for the development of drug and alcohol management plans covering persons involved in safety sensitive aviation activities. It also establishes a regime for

random drug and alcohol tests conducted by or on behalf of CASA. The new rules were launched at the Regional Aviation Association of Australia convention on 19 September 2008. Random drug and alcohol testing commenced in April 2009. Symbion, an independent testing provider working on behalf of CASA, is expected to

perform approximately 6,000 random alcohol and other drug tests during the first 12 months of operation.1 8 19

3.29 The committee notes that during the reporting period, Mr Bruce Byron completed his appointment as Director of Aviation Safety and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). His term as CEO began in December 2003 and concluded on 1 March 2009, when he was replaced by Mr John McCormick.20 2 1

3.30 The committee notes that following amendments to the Civil Aviation Act 1988, a new Board will be introduced from 1 July 2009 to improve CASA's governance. The functions of the new Board are to decide the objectives, strategies and policies to be followed so that CASA performs its functions in a proper, efficient

and effective manner, in compliance with ministerial directions. The Board will operate at a strategic level with a particular focus on governance, while the Director of Aviation Safety will continue to be responsible for day-to-day regulatory and operational decision making."1

18 Airservices Australia, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 3, 5 and 26.

19 Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 14, 29 and 81.

20 Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 18-19.

21 Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 10, 15 and 26.

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Statutory corporations

National Transport Commission

3.31 In its previous reports the committee noted that the NTC is not a

Commonwealth authority for the purposes of the CAC Act. The NTC's enabling legislation states that certain sections of the CAC Act apply to it, including section 9 relating to annual reporting requirements. Under Schedule 1 of the CAC Act, an agency's annual report must include a report of operations prepared in accordance

with the CAC Orders.22 The committee is concerned that the NTC has once again failed to address the majority of requirements under the CAC Orders.

3.32 The committee is disappointed that despite comments in its previous reports the NTC has again failed to include a compliance index or an alphabetical index.23 The committee calls the NTC's attention to subsection 6(1) of the CAC Orders which clearly states that reports 'must be constructed having regard to the interests of users'.

3.33 Following comments made in its previous report, the committee is pleased to note that the NTC's Annual Report 2009 presented to Parliament was printed in international B5 size, as specified in the Printing standards for documents presented to Parliament,24

___________________________________________________________________________________ 27_

Senator Glenn Sterle Chair

22 Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Annual reports (No. 1 o f2006), p. 4; Annual reports (No. 1 o f2007), pp 8— 9; Annual reports (No. 2 o f2008), p. 16; and Annual reports (No. 2 o f2009), p. 26.

23 Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Annual reports (No. 1 o f2006), p. 4; Annual reports (No. 1 o f2007), p. 6; Annual reports (No. 2 o f2008), p. 16; and Annual reports (No. 2 o f2009), p. 26.

24 This document can be accessed at http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/publ/printing standards.htm .

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• .

256

Appendix 1

List of annual reports referred to the committee during the period 1 May 2009 to 31 October 2009

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio

1L e g isla tio n L e tte r o f tr a n s m itta l d a teD a te S e n t to M in is te rD a ter e c e iv e d by M in iste rT a b lin gd a te*apartments o f Statedepartment of Agriculture, 'fisheries and Forestry— Seport for 2008-09Public Sendee Act 1999 Financial Management and Accountability Act 199714/09/0916/09/09 22/09/09 26/10/09*(received8/10/09)htutory authoritiesAustralian Wine and Brandy Corporation—Report for -008-09Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation Act 1980 '1/10/0918/09/0920/10/0927/10/09CACAct 1997prescribed agenciesAustralian Pesticides and I1 ternary Medicines 'Authority—Report for 2008- (9Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 19922/10/0931/08/092/09/0927/10/09L FMA Act 1997peat Exports Australia— Report for 2008-09Wheat Export Marketing Act 200825/09/091/10/091/10/0928/10/09FMA Act 1997r r**tralian Meat and A ve-stock Industry Act '^7-Report to Parliament 5 Live-stock Mortalities for ports by Sea for the 'porting Period 1 January *30 June 2009 ’Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997n/a9/07/099/07/0912/08/09

30

L e g isla tio n L e tte r o f

tr a n s m itta l d a te

D a te S en t to M in iste r

D a te

r e c e iv e d by M in iste r

T abling date*

Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997-Report to Parliament in relation to statutory funding agreement with the Australian Livestock Export Corporation Limited (LiveCorp)—Report for 2007-08

Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997

n/a 16/03/09 16/03/09 16/06/09

Dairy Australia Limited— Deed of variation to statutory funding agreement with the Commonwealth (Deed dated September 2009)

Davy Produce Act 1986

Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997

n/a 21/07/09 21/07/09 16/09/09

Dairy Produce Act 1986— Report to Parliament in relation to statutory funding agreement with Dairy Australia Limited—Report for 2007-08

Dairy Produce Act 1986

n/a 13/03/09 16/03/09 17/06/09

Northern Territory Fisheries Joint Authority—Report for 2006-07

Fisheries Management Act 1991

5/10/08 26/11/08 16/06/09

Queensland Fisheries Joint Authority—Report for 2005­ 06

Fisheries Management Act 1991

5/10/08 26/11/08 16/06/09

Regional Forest Agreement for the Eden Region of New South Wales - Progress on the implementation of the

Regional Forest Agreement for the Eden Region— Annual report 2004-05

Regional Forest Agreements Act 2002 n/a 29/07/09 29/07/09 16/09/09

.

Regional Forest Agreement for the North East Region of New South Wales (Upper North East and Lower North East Regions) - Progress on the implementation of the Regional Forest Agreement for the North East Region— Annual report 2004-05

Regional Forest Agreements Act 2002 n/a 29/07/09 29/07/09 16/09/09

258

31

L e g isla tio n L e tte r o f

tr a n s m itta l d a te

D a te S en t to M in iste r

D a te

r e c e iv e d by M in iste r

T a b lin g d a te*

legional Forest Agreement , or the Southern Region of lew South Wales - Progress in the implementation of the

legional Forest Agreement or the Southern Region—- innual report 2004-05

Regional Forest Agreements Act 2002 n/a 29/07/09 29/07/09 16/09/09

legional Forest Agreement or the Southern Region of lew South Wales - Progress m the implementation of the : legional Forest Agreement tor the Southern Region— 'Annual report 2005-06

Regional Forest Agreements Act 2002 n/a 29/07/09 29/07/09 16/09/09

Forres Strait Protected Zone loint Authority—Report for >006-07

Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984

18/06/09 18/06/09 12/08/09

J'fetem Australian Fisheries loint Authority—Report for 1004-05

Fisheries Management Act 1991

23/12/08 5/01/09 16/06/09

* An asterisk denotes reports presented to the President out-of-session.

259

32

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio

L e g isla tio n L e tte r o f

tr a n sm itta l d a te

D ate S e n t to M in iste r

D a te

r e c e iv e d b y M in iste r

T abling date*

D epartm ent o f S tate

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government—Report for 2008-09

Public Service Act 1999

Airports (environment Protection) Regulations 197

Air Navigation Act 1920

Aircraft Noise levy Collection Act 1995

FMA Act 1997

19/10/09 19/10/09 19/10/09 16/11/09*

(received 30/10/09)

S ta tu to iy authorities

Airservices Australia— Report for 2008-09 Air Sendees Act 1995 CACAct 1997

29/09/09 29/09/09 29/09/09 28/10/09

Civil Aviation Safety Authority—Report for 2008­ 09

Civil Aviation Act 1988

CACAct 1997

22/09/09 26/10/09*

(received 13/10/09)

S tatutory corporations

National Transport Commission—Report for 2008-09

National Transport Commission Act 2003

CAC Act 1997 (sections 9, 18, 20 and Schedule 1)

8/10/09 7/10/09 8/10/09 27/10/09

Com panies

Australian River Co. Limited—Report for 1 December 2007 to 30 November 2008

Corporations Act 2001

CAC Act 1997

6/04/09 14/04/09 11/08/09*

(received 6/08/09)

260

33

Other

| Airservices Australia— , Corporate Plan 2009-2014 Air Services Act 1995 CAC Act 1997

5/08/09 18/06/09 18/06/09 8/09/09

Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd—Statement of corporate intent 2009-10

Corporations Act 2001 n/a 2/06/09 18/08/09 27/10/09

International Air Services Commission—Report for 2008-09

International Air Services Commission Act 1992

28/09/09 24/09/09 24/09/09 28/10/09

Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995—Report for 2006-07 on the operation of the Act

Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995

28/04/09 26/06/09 26/06/09 11/08/09*

(received 8/07/09)

I Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997— quarterly report on the maximum movement limit

for the period 1 January to 31 March 2009

Sydney Aiiport Demand Management Act 1997

n/a 23/04/09 28/04/09 16/06/09

Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997— quarterly report on the maximum movement limit

for the period 1 April to 30 June 2009

Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997

n/a 4/08/09 6/08/09 8/09/09

* An asterisk denotes reports presented to the President out-of-session.

261

34

262

Appendix 2

List of annual reports tabled after 31 October 2009

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio

L e g isla tio n L e tte r o f D a te S en t D a te T a b lin g

tr a n s m itta l to r e c e iv e d by d ate*

_____________________

d a te M in iste r M in iste r

Statutory authorities

Cotton Research and PIERO Act 1989 5/10/09 15/10/09 22/10/09 16/11/09*

Development Corporation— Report for 2008-09 CACAct 1997 (received

12/11/09)

"Fisheries Research and PIERD Act 1989 27/08/09 15/10/09 28/10/09 24/11/09

Development Corporation— Report for 2008-09 CACAct 1997

Grains Research and PIERD Act 1989 30/09/09 9/10/09 20/10/09 24/11/09

Development Corporation— -Report for 2008-09 CACAct 1997

Grape and Wine Research tod Development PIERD Act 1989 23/09/09 9/10/09 20/10/09 16/11/09*

Corporation—Report for CACAct 1997 (received

1008-09 5/11/09)

Land and Water Resources Research and Development PIERD Act 1989 13/10/09 9/10/09 22/10/09 16/11/09*

Corporation (Land and CACAct 1997 (received

Water Australia) —Report for 2008-09

12/11/09)

'Rural Industries Research *id Development Corporation—Report for

PIERD Act 1989 30/09/09 12/10/09 20/10/09 16/11/09*

CACAct 1997 (received

2008-09 5/11/09)

^gar Research and development Corporation— PIERD Act 1989 30/09/09 15/10/09 22/10/09 16/11/09*

Report for 2008-09 CACAct 1997 (received

12/11/09)

I

263

36

Prescribed agencies

Australian Fisheries Management Authority— Report for 2008-09

Fisheries Administration Act 1991

24/09/09 24/09/09 24/09/09 17/11/09

FMA Act 1997

Other

Australian Landcare Council—Report for 2008­ 09

Natural Resources Management (Financial Assistance) Act 1992

12/11/09 6/10/09 6/10/09 2/02/10

Australian Livestock Export Corporation (LiveCorp)— Report for 2008-09

Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997

Corporations Act 2001

2/02/10*

(received 13/01/10)

Dairy Australia Limited— Report for 2008-09 Daily Produce Act 1986

23/10/09 30/10/09 12/11/09 24/11/09

Coiporations Act 2001

National Residue Survey— Report for 2008-09 National Residue Survey Administration

Act 1992

15/10/09 22/10/09 2/11/09 17/11/09

National Rural Advisory Council—Report for 2008­ 09

Rural Adjustment Act 1992 October 2009

2/02/10*

(received 13/01/10)

Northern Territory Fisheries Joint Authority—Report for 2007-08

Fisheries Management Act 1991

9/12/09 30/12/09 23/02/10

Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority—Report for 2007-08

Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984

11/09/09 23/09/09 17/11/09

* An asterisk denotes reports presented to the President out-of-session.

264

37

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio

|l j

L e g isla tio n L e tte r o f

tr a n s m itta l d a te

D a te S e n t to

M in is te r

D a te

r e c e iv e d by M in iste r

T a b lin g d a te*

Statutory authorities

j Australian Maritime Safety Authority—Report for 2008­ 109

Australian Maritime Safety Authority Act 1990

CAC Act 1997

23/09/09 15/10/09 15/10/09 17/11/09

Companies

Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd—Report for 2008-09

Corporations Act 2001 13/11/09 13/11/09 24/11/09

Other

Airservices Australia National Equity and Diversity Program 2007­ 2010—Progress Report 2008-09

Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987

n/a 24/09/09 24/09/09 17/11/09

AusLink— Report for 2007- O S AusLink (National Land Transport) Act

2005

n/a 2/02/10*

(received 3/12/09)

Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997— quarterly report on the

maximum movement limit for the period 1 July to 30 September 2009

Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997

n/a 22/10/09 26/10/09 25/11/09

* An asterisk denotes reports presented to the President out-of-session.

265

266

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1

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

PARLIAMENTARY PAPER No. 79 of 2010 ORDERED TO BE PRINTED

ISSN 0727-4181