Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Senate Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees Consolidated reports on the examination of annual reports No. 2 of 2010


Download PDF Download PDF

Australian Senate

Senate Legislation Committees

Reports on the examination of annual reports No. 2 of 2010

November 2010

Australian Senate

Senate Legislation Committees

Reports on the examination of annual reports

No. 2 of 2010

November 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

Nil return

Economics Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010), dated November 2 0 1 0............................. 1

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010), dated November 201 0...........................37

Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010), dated November 201 0...........................63

Finance and Public Administration Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010), dated November 201 0...........................79

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010), dated November 2 0 1 0 ...........................95

Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010), dated November 201 0.........................123

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010), dated November 201 0.........................151

The Senate

Economics

Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010)

November 2010

1

© Commonwealth of Australia 2010

ISBN 978-1-74229-379-0

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

2

Senate Economics Legislation Committee

Members

Senator Annette Hurley, Chair Senator David Bushby, Deputy Chair Senator Doug Cameron Senator Louise Pratt Senator John Williams Senator Nick Xenophon

South Australia, ALP Tasmania, LP New South Wales, ALP Western Australia, ALP New South Wales, NATS

South Australia, IND

Secretariat

Mr John Hawkins, Secretary Mr Glenn Ryall, Senior Research Officer Mr CJ Sautelle, Research Officer

Ms Hanako Jones, Administrative Officer

PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

Ph: 02 6277 3540

Fax: 02 6277 5719

E-mail: economics.sen@aph.gov.au Internet: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate economics/

iii

3

4

Table of Contents

Membership of the Com m ittee.............................................................................. iii

A bbreviations............................................................................................................vii

Recommendation........................................................................................................ix

Chapter 1....................................................................................................................... 1

Overview.....................................................................................................................1

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

Purpose and requirements of annual reports.......................................................... 2

Reports referred to the committee.......................................................................... 2

Timeliness................................................................................................................3

Remarks made in the Senate................................................................................... 4

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

Report under the Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio.................................. 8

Reports under the Treasury portfolio..................................................................... 8

Appendix 1 ................................................................................................................. 13

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Portfolio for 2008-09

Appendix 2 ..................................................................................................................15

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Resources, Energy and Tourism Portfolio for 2008-09

Appendix 3 ................................................................................................................. 17

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Treasury portfolio for 2008-09

Appendix 4 19

Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Portfolio

List of annual reports tabled in the Senate during the period 1 November 2009 to 30 April 2010

Appendix 5 ................................................................................................................. 21

Resources, Energy and Tourism Portfolio

Annual report tabled in the Senate during the period 1 November 2009 to 30 April 2010

Appendix 6 ................................................................................................................. 23

Treasury Portfolio

List of annual reports tabled in the Senate during the period 1 November 2009 to 30 April 2010

6

Abbreviations

AASB

AAO

APRA

ARPC

ASIC

AUASB

CAC Act

CALDB

CAMAC

COAG

DIISR

FMA Act

FRC

FRP

G-20

GDP

HERMES

IIF

PC

R&D

RAM

RBA

SCT

Australian Accounting Standards Board

Anglo-Australian Observatory

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Auditing and Assurance Standards Board

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997

Companies Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board

Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee

Council of Australian Governments

Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

Financial Reporting Council

Financial Reporting Panel

Group of Twenty

gross domestic product

High-Resolution Multi-object Echelle Spectrograph

Innovation Investment Fund

Productivity Commission

research and development

Royal Australian Mint

Reserve Bank of Australia

Superannuation Complaints Tribunal

vii

7

8

Recommendation

Recommendation 1

1.35 The committee recommends that the government, in consultation with the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, amend the annual reporting requirements for government entities to provide for more systematic reporting in relation to external scrutiny, including for parliamentary committee inquiries and reports, in line with sections B.2 and B.3 of the ACT Chief Minister's 2007-2010 Annual Report Directions.

ix

9

10

Chapter 1 Overview

Introduction

1.1 Annual reports of departments and agencies are referred to Senate legislation committees under Senate Standing Order 25(20). The 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 for 2008-09 are

summarised in Appendices 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

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 o f the Senate, No. 2, 13 February 2008, pp 97-98.

2 Standing Order 25(20), Standing Orders and other orders o f the Senate, June 2009, p. 28.

Page 2

Purpose and requirements of annual reports

1.4 Annual reports provide information on the success (or otherwise) of agencies in meeting targets outlined in budget statements, their primary function being to assist in ensuring the public accountability of government agencies. The tabling of annual reports 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 subsections 63(2) and 70(2) of the Public Service Act 1999, respectively. These entities, as well as prescribed agencies under section 5 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act), are required to comply with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Requirements for Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, approved by the Joint

Committee of Public Accounts and Audit.1

1.6 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.

1.7 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.

1.8 The legislation governing the annual reports of agencies considered in this report is shown in Appendices 4, 5 and 6.

Reports referred to the committee

1.9 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 November and 30 April of the following year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year. This year that date is 17 November 2010.3 4 5

3 See http://www.dpmc.gov.au/guidelines/docs/annual report requirements.pdf. The financial statements for these entities must be produced in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Orders (Financial Statements fo r reporting periods ending on or after 1 July 2008).

4 Reports of Commonwealth authorities subject to the CAC Act must be produced in accordance with the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2008 and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Orders (Financial Statements fo r reporting periods ending on or after 1 July 2008). Annual reports of Commonwealth companies are

required to be based on the reporting requirements under the Corporations Act 2001.

5 The committee is also required to report on annual reports tabled in the Senate between 1 May and 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year.

12

Page 3

1.10 This report therefore examines the 2008-09 annual reports of the following agencies (which were tabled in the Senate or presented to the President between 1 November 2009 and 30 April 2010):

• Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO)

• Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB)

• Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB)

• Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)

• Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation (ARPC)

• Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

• Companies Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board (CALDB)

• Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (CAMAC)

• Financial Reporting Council (FRC)

• Financial Reporting Panel (FRP)

• Innovation Australia

• Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) companies

• Productivity Commission

• Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT)

• Tourism Australia

1.11 In its report, Annual reports (No. 1 o f 2010), the committee inadvertently noted that the following reports should have been tabled more promptly:

• Companies Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board (CALDB)

« Royal Australian Mint

• Takeovers Panel

• Treasury

1.12 In fact the above four reports were all presented to the President on 30 October 2009 and therefore met the relevant timing requirements.

1.13 Comments on all of the above reports are contained in Chapter 2.

Timeliness

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

Departments and FMA Act entities

1.15 Section 4 of the Requirements for Annual Reports states that annual reports of departments and agencies under the FMA Act framework are to be presented to each House of Parliament on or before 31 October in the year the report is given.

Page 4

CAC Act entities

1.16 Section 9 of the CAC Act stipulates that the deadline for furnishing the minister with the annual reports of Commonwealth authorities is the 15th day of the 4th month after the end of the financial year, that is, 15 October where the end of the financial year is 30 June.

1.17 Section 36 of the CAC Act stipulates that Commonwealth companies must give their annual reports to the responsible minister by the earlier of the following:

• four months after the end of the financial year, or

• 21 days before the next annual general meeting of the company after the end of the financial year.

Other entities

1.18 Entities reporting in accordance with their own legislation are often required to prepare for the relevant minister their annual report ’as soon as is practicable' after a particular date. The committee draws attention to subsections 34C(2) and 34C(3) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, which stipulate that where no date for providing a report to a minister is specified, the report should be presented no more than six months after the reporting period, and the minister must provide the report to the Parliament within 15 sitting days after he or she receives it.

Government policy for all annual reports

1.19 While the legislative requirements for the tabling of annual reports vary between different types of agencies the government's policy is 'that all annual reports should be tabled by 31 October'.6

1.20 The committee notes that of the annual reports considered in this report, only the four listed in paragraph 1.11 and the Productivity Commission's report (which was tabled on time in the House of Representatives), have met the requirement set down by this policy.

1.21 While it is government policy that all annual reports should be tabled by 31 October, dates for the tabling of annual reports set in legislation vary between agencies and as such will be considered in the specific comments on annual reports below where necessary.

Remarks made in the Senate

1.22 Senate Standing Order 25(20)(d) directs the committee to take into account remarks made in the Senate when considering annual reports.

6 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports, June 2009, p. 2; and Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Guidelines fo r the Presentation o f Government Documents to the Parliament (Including Government Responses to Committee Reports, Ministerial Statements, Annual Reports and Other Instruments), June 2009, paragraph 4.10.

Page 5

1.23 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

1.24 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 such bodies within the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research; Resources, Energy and

Tourism; or Treasury portfolios.

Other comments on reports

1.25 The Requirements for Annual Reports outlines the government's view of the purpose of annual reports:

The primary purpose o f annual reports o f departm ents is accountability, in particular to the Parliament.

Annual reports serve to infonn the Parliam ent (through the responsible minister), other stakeholders, educational and research institutions, the media and the general public about the performance o f departm ents in relation to services provided. Annual reports are a key reference document

and a document for internal management. They form part o f the historical record.7

1.26 In accordance with Standing Order 25(20)(a) the committee is required to examine reports and inform the Senate as to whether they are 'apparently satisfactory'. In doing so the committee considers compliance with the reporting guidelines specified by the legislation under which departments and agencies present their annual reports.

1.27 The committee considers that the reports it has examined are generally 'apparently satisfactory'.

1.28 Despite this, the committee believes that some aspects of agency annual

reports can be improved. In this report the committee has particularly focussed on examining whether or not agency annual reports contain:

• appropriate compliance indexes; and

• discussion of external scrutiny and parliamentary accountability.

Compliance indexes

1.29 While no longer mandatory under the reporting requirements, the committee recommends the inclusion of a compliance index in annual reports, which 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.

7 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports, June 2009, p. 3.

Page 6

1.30 Where agencies have reporting requirements under various Acts the inclusion of a comprehensive compliance index covering all relevant requirements is a useful addition to agency annual reports.

External scrutiny and parliamentary accountability

1.31 The Requirements for Annual Reports states that annual reports:

... m ust provide inform ation on the m ost significant developm ents in external scrutiny o f the departm ent and the department's response, including particulars of:

(a) judicial decisions and decisions o f administrative tribunals that have had, or m ay have, a significant im pact on the operations o f the department; and

(b) reports on the operations o f the department by the A uditor-General (other than the report on financial statements), a Parliam entary committee or the Com m onw ealth O m budsm an.8

1.32 Clause 11 of Schedule 1 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f 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.

1.33 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).

1.34 With this in mind, the committee believes that future annual reports could be improved by more systematic reporting in relation to parliamentary committee inquiries and reports, and reports of the Auditor-General and Ombudsman. The committee notes that the ACT Chief Minister's 2007-2010 Annual Report Directions require ACT Government agencies to include a schedule of completed Legislative Assembly committee inquiries, and reports of the Auditor-General and Ombudsman, that relate to the operations of that agency. Agencies are also required to provide

details on the implementation of recommendations in their annual reports.9

Recommendation 1

1.35 The committee recommends that the government, in consultation with

the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, amend the annual reporting requirements for government entities to provide for more systematic reporting in relation to external scrutiny, including for parliamentary committee inquiries and reports, in line with sections B.2 and B.3 of the ACT Chief Minister's 2007-2010 Annual Report Directions.

8 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports, June 2009, p. 9.

9 ACT Chief Minister’s 2007-2010 Annual Report Directions, June 2010, pp 19-20.

Chapter 2

Individual 2008-09 Annual Reports

Reports under the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio

Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO) - Annual Report 2008-09

2.2 The AAO operates two telescopes at Siding Spring, near Coonabarabran, and a laboratory at Eastwood. It also supports Australia's involvement with the Magellan and Gemini telescopes in Chile and Hawaii. A high-resolution spectrograph, 'HERMES', is currently under construction.

2.3 The annual report takes pride in the AAO being among the top five optical telescopes based on papers and citations in the astronomical literature. Recent research has involved searching for evidence of 'dark energy' and discovering planets using Doppler measurements.

2.4 The United Kingdom Government has withdrawn from the AAO and it became a fully Australian owned entity as of July 2010. It is now a unit within DIISR known as the Australian Astronomical Observatory.

Innovation Australia - Annual Report 2008-09

2.5 Innovation Australia administers a range of programmes aimed at stimulating innovation and commercialisation by Australian industry, as well as offering policy advice to government and promoting innovation in the broader community. The

Annual Report highlights that $910 million was disbursed during 2008-09 through its programmes, supporting over $14.5 billion in R&D and commercialisation activities.

2.6 Key programmes include the R&D Tax Concession, which achieved a record number of registrations in 2008-09, the Venture Capital Limited Partnerships and Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnerships programmes, and the Climate Ready and Re-tooling for Climate Change programmes aimed at promoting clean

business practices and supporting innovation projects addressing the effects of climate change.

2.7 The committee considers that Innovation Australia has largely met its reporting requirements under the Act. However, the committee notes that the report was sent to the Minister on 29 January 2010 - well after the six month deadline specified in subsection 34C(2) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 which applies

where 'an Act requires a person to furnish a periodic report to a Minister but does not specify a period within which the report is to be so furnished'.1

1 See also comments in paragraph 1.14 of the committee's report, Annual reports (No. 1 o f 2010), February 2010.

17

Page 8

Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) Companies - Annual Report 2008-09

2.8 A single volume is published with an overview and the annual reports for IIF Investments Pty Ltd, IIF (CM) Investments Pty Ltd, IIF BioVentures Pty Ltd, IIF Foundation Pty Ltd and IIF Neo Pty Ltd. Each of these companies, wholly-owned by the Australian government, was established to deliver capital into the Innovation Investment Fund, Pre-Seed Fund and Renewable Energy Equity Fund to provide venture capital to early stage technology based companies.

2.9 At June 2009 the Innovation Investment Fund had active investments in 38 companies, mostly infonnation technology, telecommunications and bioscience companies. The Pre-Seed Fund had active investments in 53 companies, the majority in bioscience, pharmaceutical and medical sector companies. The Renewable Energy Equity Fund had active investments in four companies.

Report under the Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio

Tourism Australia - Annual Report 2008-09

2.10 Tourism Australia reported a difficult year for global and Australian tourism due to 'the most significant decline in economic conditions since the Great Depression and the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza epidemic' but suggested Australia 'continued to outperform its rivals'. Tourism Australia claimed some of the credit for this with their campaign based on the film Australia. It also tried to stimulate domestic tourism with the 'No Leave, No Life' campaign.

2.11 The annual report includes an extensive assessment against its own perfonnance indicators but little discussion of accountability. In particular there is no compliance index and no reference to appearances at Senate estimates.

Reports under the Treasury portfolio

The Treasury -A nnual Report 2008-09

2.12 The Treasury highlights developing and implementing policy responses to the global financial crisis and recession in its review of the year. These responses include the fiscal stimulus packages and funding guarantees for financial intermediaries, both of which have been the subject of inquiries by the Senate Economics References Committee. Treasury also refer to its international engagement through G-20, advancing of domestic reforms through the Council of Australian Governments and its provision of the secretariat for the Australia's Future Tax System Review Panel, chaired by the Treasury Secretary. The annual report also refers to a number of matters examined by the committee in 2008 and 2009, such as support for private health insurance, the tax deductibility of non-commercial losses, employee share schemes, temporary residents' unclaimed superannuation and taxation of financial arrangements.

Page 9

2.13 The committee commends Treasury for listing the appearances of its officers before parliamentary committees.2 The committee notes that 25 of these appearances were before the Senate Economics Committees and expresses its appreciation to Treasury for this valuable contribution. It also commends Treasury for including a

comprehensive compliance index and references to Australian National Audit Office reports relating to its operations in its annual report.

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) — Annual Report 2008-09

2.14 APRA remarks in its annual report that, as a result of the global financial crisis, its 'supervisory intensity was dialled to its highest level' in 2008-09, but note 'the fundamentally sound condition of APRA-regulated institutions, notwithstanding two years in dangerous seas'. Also during the year APRA joined the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, giving it a seat at the table when international rules are developed. APRA refer in their report to three global reform initiatives: raising bank capital, improving management of liquidity risk and aligning banks' remuneration policies with good stewardship.

2.15 The committee commends APRA for noting its appearances before, and submissions to, parliamentary committees but suggests it add a compliance index to its annual report.

Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation (ARPC) - Annual Report 2008-09

2.36 The ARPC is a statutory authority, established by the Terrorism Insurance Act 2003 in response to a marked reduction in the commercial terrorism insurance market following the events of 11 September 2001. It administers a scheme for providing coverage for commercial property and business interruption.

2.17 During 2008-09 Treasury conducted its second review of the need for the scheme and concluded that it needed to be continued for at least another three years.

2.18 The committee suggests that the ARPC's report could be made clearer by explaining earlier in the report its goals and the meaning of its 'retrocession program'. The report could also be improved by including a specific compliance index.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) - Annual Report 2008-09

2.19 ASIC aims to improve confidence in financial market integrity and protect investors and consumers. ASIC's 2007-08 annual report was titled 'a year of change'. For this report ASIC suggested that 2008-09 was a 'a year of consolidation'. This occurred against the background of a large fall in share prices: from peak (in October

2007) to trough (in March 2009) Australia's stock market valuation fell by over $770 billion - equivalent to around two-thirds of annual GDP. For a period ASIC banned short selling until markets stabilised. ASIC added resources to its work on insider trading, market manipulation and continuous disclosure during 2008-09.

2 The committee had suggested this in its corresponding report last year.

Page 10

2.20 The committee commends ASIC for providing details of its appearances before parliamentary committees. As ASIC reports under a number of Acts, and the requirements in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 are quite detailed, the committee suggests that a specific compliance index should be included in future reports.

Financial Reporting Council (FRC) — Annual Report 2008-09

2.21 The FRC is the peak body responsible for the broad oversight of the accounting and auditing standards setting processes (including appointing members, other than chairs, to the AUASB and the AASB). It is assisted by a secretariat located at Treasury.

2.22 Their annual report highlights issues arising from the global financial crisis,

such as the need for updated guidance on the going concern assumption.

Financial Reporting Panel (FRP) - Annual Report 2008-09

2.23 The FRP is the primary adjudicator between ASIC and lodging entities in relation to the application of accounting standards. No matters were referred to the FRP during 2008-09.

Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (A UASB) - Annual Report 2008-09

2.24 Under changes effective from 1 July 2008, the AUASB is responsible for setting standards while support activities are provided by a new entity, the Office of the AUASB. However the annual report covers both entities. The major part of AUASB's programme in 2008-09 was work on redrafting auditing standards in

'clarity' format. The economic crisis also led to new projects, such as a joint publication with the Institute of Company Directors addressing the responsibilities of directors during periods of economic uncertainty.

Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) - AnnualReport 2008-09

2.25 The AASB develops Australian accounting standards and contributes to the development of international standards. The AASB comment that the global financial crisis probably 'slowed the process of achieving global convergence of accounting standards at the same time as it has underscored the need for that convergence'.

2.26 Of particular interest to the committee given its December 2008 report on disclosure regimes for charities is the AASB's emphasis in its annual report on ensuring that 'like-transactions and events are dealt with in a like manner between the for-profit sector and the not-for-profit sector, unless there is sound reason to differ in particular circumstances'.

Companies Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary Board (CALDB) - Annual Report 2008-09

2.27 The CALDB determines whether a registered auditor or liquidator should be disqualified. In 2008-09 six registrations were cancelled and two suspended.

Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (CAMAC) - Annual Report 2008-09

2.28 CAMAC is a body corporate of part-time members who advise the minister about corporate, financial product and financial market matters.

Page 11

2.29 In its 2008-09 annual report CAMAC describes its reports on issues in external administration, shareholder claims against insolvent companies, implications of the Sons of Gwalia decision, diversity on boards of directors and aspects of market integrity.

2.30 The committee suggests that in its annual report CAMAC should have referred to its appearance at a Senate estimates hearing in October 2008.

2.31 The committee also suggests that a specific compliance index, including the reporting requirements under both the FMA Act and ASIC Act, should be included in future reports.

Productivity Commission (PC) - Annual Report 2008-09

2.32 The Productivity Commission is an independent research and advisory body on a range of economic, social and environmental issues.

2.33 In its annual report the PC attributes the global economic crisis to the prior underestimation of risk. The PC notes the coordinated global action to ease monetary and fiscal policy, but warns against protectionist responses. It notes with concern that 'recent contractions in world trade have been more severe and more rapid than those that occurred in the early stages of the Great Depression'. It also cites its Trade and Assistance Review which concluded there is scope to reduce and rationalise some of

the $17 billion in industry assistance.

2.34 In reviewing the year, the PC highlights the reports it published on paid parental leave, government drought support, restrictions on the parallel importation of books and indigenous disadvantage. Its focus for 2009-10 includes reports on gambling industries, director and executive remuneration, the not-for-profit sector,

anti-dumping systems, private and public hospitals, water recovery in the Murray Darling basin and wheat export marketing.

2.35 The PC monitors parliamentary usage of its work, noting that in 2008-09 there were 198 mentions in parliamentary debates and questions and 188 mentions by parliamentary committees. The committee notes that the PC's annual report refers to the committee's report Annual reports (No. 1 o f 2009). The annual report also includes

a table of parliamentary committee reports drawing on work by the PC.

2.36 The committee commends the PC for having responded to suggestions from the committee to include a compliance index and references to its appearance at Senate estimates hearings.

Royal Australian Mint —Annual Report 2008-09

2.37 The Royal Australian Mint referred in its annual report to a scheduled production shutdown for refurbishment for a period in 2008-09. This did not prevent it meeting an unexpected increase in demand for circulating coin. The global recession was associated with reduced numismatic demand.

2.38 The committee commends the Mint for including a compliance index in its annual report.

Page 12

Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) - Annual Report 2008-09

2.39 In 2008-09 the number of complaints received by the SCT remained at the higher level experienced in 2007-08 and tended to be more complex. The proportion of complaints proceeding to review dropped as there were significant numbers of complaints that were essentially about disappointing, often negative, returns on superannuation assets (due to global market conditions) rather than any unfair or unreasonable behaviour by the fund.

2.40 The committee commends the SCT for including a compliance index in its annual report.

Takeovers Panel - Annual Report 2008-09

2.41 The Takeovers Panel's objective is to resolve disputes about takeovers. In 2008-09 the Panel received 30 applications, a similar number to recent years but tending to be more complex cases.

2.42 The committee commends the Panel for including a compliance index in its annual report.

Senator Annette Hurley Chair

22

Appendix 1

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Portfolio for 2008-09' Portfolio Ministers

Minister for Innovatory Industry, Science and Research Senator the Hon Kim Carr

Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors and the Service Economy Minister Assisting tie Finance Minister cm Deregulation The Hon Or Craig Emerson MP

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Chief Executive Officer: Dr Geoff Garrett

Outcome: Australia has a strong capability in scientific research and development that

delivers ongoing economic, social and environmental benefits and provides science

and technology solutions relevant to current and emerging national challenges and

opportunities.

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Chief Executive Officer: Dr Ian Smith

Outcome 1: Nuclear- based infrastructure.

Outcome 2: Disposition of spent fuel.

Outcome 3: Science and technology solutons.

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

Outcome 1: Improve the economic viability and competitive advantage of Australian industry, including the manufacturing and services sectors,

through the delivery of initiatives to address impediments to market development and: encourage the take up of innovation within those .sectors.

Outcome 2: A streamlined national innovation system to facilitate innovation uptake by Australian industry and drive improved social

and economic benefits for the Australian community.

Outcome 3: Maintain a strong science and research capacity required to generate and utilise knowledge within the science and

research, higher education and industry sectors through investment in research infrastructure, skill development and promoting

collaboration both within Australia and intemaSonaily.

IP Australia Director General: Mr Philip Noonan

Outcome: Australians benefit from the effective use of intellectual property, particularly through increased innovation, investment and

trade.

Australian Research Council Chief Executive Officer: Professor

Margaret Shell

Outcome: Australian research that advances the global knowledge and skill

base leading to economic, social, cultural and environmental

benefits for the Australian community.

Australian Institute of Marine Science Chief Executi ve Officer: Dr lan

Poiner

Outcome: Enhanced scientific know edge supporting the protection and

sustainable development of Australia's marine

Australian Institute of Aborigi nal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Chief Executive Officer: Mr Steve Larkin

Outcome: The promotion of knowledge and

understanding of Australian Indigenous cultures past and present

1 Portfolio Budget Statements 2008-09, Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio, p. 5.

23

24

Appendix 2

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Resources, Energy and Tourism Portfolio for 2008-091

Australia from tourism im deipnm ed by

Outcome 1; Increased economic benefits to

sustainable tourism industry ..

Managing Director

Tourism Australia

Mr Geoff Buckler

Outcome 1; A n Australian oil arid gas

industry that properly controls die health

and safety risks to die workforce and its

offshore petroleum operations.

N ational Offshore Petroleum Safety

Authority

Chief Executive Officer

M r John Clegg

Outcome 1; Enhanced potential for the

Australian community to obtain economic, social

and environmental 'benefits through the

application of first class geoscience research and

infommlion.

Chief Executive Officer

Geoscience Australia

Dr Neil Williams

: The H en Martin Ferguson AM MP

.Mimsteriac Resources and E nergy.

The Hem M artin Feiguson AM MP

Portfolio M inisters

Minister for Tourism

enhance Australia's prosperity through implementation of

Outcome 1: The im proved strength, ccanpeii&veriess and

sustainability of the Resources, Energy an d Tourism industries to

government policy and programs.

Departm ent of Resources, Energy and Tourism

Dr Peter Boxali AO

Portfolio Secretary

1 Portfolio Budget Statements 2008-09, Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio, p. 5.

25

26

Appendix 3

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Treasury portfolio for 2008-091 Portfolio Minister - T reasurer The Hon Wayne Swan MR A ssistant T reasurer and Minister for Com petition Policy and C onsum er Affairs

The Hon Chris Bowen MR Minister for S uperannuation and C orporate Law

______________________________________ Senator the Hon Nick Sherry______________________________________

D epartm ent of th e Treasury Secretary: Dr Ken Henry AC Outcom e 1; Sound macroeconomic environment O utcom e 2: Effective government spending arrangem ents O utcom e 3: Effective taxation and retirement income arrangements __________________________________ O utcom e 4: Weil functioning markets__________________________________

A ustralian Bureau of Statistics Statistician: Mr Brian Pink

Informed decision making, research and discussion within governments and the community based ______________ on the provision of a high duality, objective and responsive national statistical -service______________

A ustralian Com petition and C onsum er Com m ission Chai rperson: Mr Graem e Samuel

To enhance social and economic -welfare of the Australian community by fostering competitive, _______________________________ efficient, fair and informed Australian markets_______________________________

Australian Office of Financial M anagem ent Chief Executive Officer: Mr Neii 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____________

A ustralian Prudential Regulation Authority Chairman: Dr John Laker

To enhance public confidence in Australia's financial institutions through a framework of prudential regulation ________which balances financial safety ar-d efficiency, competition, contestability and competitive neutrality________ A ustralian S ecurities and Investm ents Com m ission Chai iman: Mr Ttiny D'Aiosio

A fair and efficient market characterised by integrity and transparency and supporting confident and informed _________________________________ participation of investors and consumers_________________________________

A ustralian Taxation Office Commissioner Mr Michael D'Ascenzo

Effectively m anaged and shaped system s that support and fund services for Australians and give effect to social and _______________ economic policy through the tax, superannuation, excise and other related system s_______________

Com m onw ealth G rants Com m ission Secretary: Mr John Spasojevic

Fiscal equalisation between the S a te s , t i e Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory is achieved through ___________________ the distribution, lay Government, of GST revenue and Health Care Grants___________________

C orporations and Markets Advisory Com m ittee Convenor Mr Richard Si John

A fair and efficient market characterised by integrity and transparency and supporting confident and _____________________________ informed participation of investors and consumers_____________________________

Inspector-G eneral of Taxation Inspector-General: Mr David Vos AM

_____________________ improved administration of the tax laws for die benefit of alt taxpayers

1 Portfolio Budget Statements 2008-09, Treasury portfolio, p. 6.

27

Page 18

National Com petition Council Acting ^resident: Mr David Crawford

The achievement of effective and fair competition reforms and better u se of Australia’s infrastructure ___________________________________ for the benefit of the community___________________________________

Productivity Com m ission Chairman: Mr Gary Banks AO

Weis-informed policy decision-making and public understanding on matters relating to .Australia’s productivity and living standards, based on independent an a transparent analysis from a community-wide perspective Royal A ustralian Mint Chief Executive Officer: Ms Janine Murphy Manufacture an c sale of circulating coins, to m eet the coinage needs of the Australian economy, and collector ____________________ coins and other minted products for Australia and foreign countries____________________

28

Appendix 4

Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Portfolio

List of annual reports tabled in the Senate during the period 1 November 2009 to 30 April 2010

Reporting Body Legislation Date of transmittal letter

Date Sent to minister

Date received by Minister

Date tabled/ presented*

Anglo-Australian Observatory (AAO)

Agreement between the Australian Government and the Government of the United Kingdom to provide for the

establishment and operation o f an optical telescope at Siding Spring Mountain in the state of New South

Wales - Article 8

Anglo-Australian Telescope Agreement Act 1970- section 19

undated 25/09/09 25/09/09 25/11/09

Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) Companies

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 - section 36

Corporations Act 2001

29/10/09 30/10/09 30/10/09 25/11/09

Innovation Australia

Industry Research and Development Act 1986- section 46

undated 29/01/10 29/01/10 24/02/10

30

Appendix 5

Resources, Energy and Tourism Portfolio

Annual report tabled in the Senate during the period 1 November 2009 to 30 April 2010

Reporting Body

Legislation Date of

transmittal letter

Date sent to Minister

Date received by Minister

Date tabled/ presented*

Tourism Australia

Tourism Australia Act 2004 - section 39

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 — section 9

15/10/09 15/10/09 15/10/09 18/11/09

32

Appendix 6 Treasury Portfolio

List of annual reports tabled in the Senate during the period 1 November 2009 to 30 April 2010

Reporting Body Legislation Date of Date Date Date

transmittal sent to received tabled/ letter Minister by

Minister presented*

Australian Australian Prudential 19/10/09 N/A N/A 23/11/09

Prudential Regulation Authority 20/11/09* Regulation Act 1998 - section 59Authority (APRA) Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997Australian Commonwealth 22/9/09 N/A N/A 16/11/09Reinsurance Pool Authorities and 05/11/09* Corporation Companies Act 1997 -(A RPC) section 9Australian Australian Securities 9/9/09 N/A N/A 16/11/09Securities and and Investments 05/11/09* Investments Commission Act 2001Commission - section 136(ASIC) Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997Financial Australian Securities 14/10/09 N/A N/A 16/11/09Reporting Council and Investments Commission Act 2001 — section 23 5 B13/11/09*Financial Australian Securities 1/10/09 N/A N/A 16/11/09Reporting Panel and Investments Commission Act 2001 - section 239AM04/11/09*33

Page 24

Reporting Body Legislation Date of

transmittal letter

Date sent to Minister

Date received by

Minister

Date tabled/ presented*

Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB)

Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 - section 236DG

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

2/10/09 N/A N/A 16/11/09

04/11/09*

Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB)

Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001

— section 23 5J

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

2/10/09 N/A N/A 16/11/09

04/11/09*

Companies Auditors and Liquidators Disciplinary

Board (CALDB)

Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 — section 214

1/10/09 N/A N/A 16/11/09

30/10/09*

Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee

Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 - section 162

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

18/9/09 N/A N/A 16/11/09

04/11/09*

Productivity Commission

Productivity Commission Act 1998 — section 10

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

21/10/09 23/10/09 23/10/09 17/11/09

34

Page 25

Reporting Body Legislation Date of

transmittal letter

Date sent to Minister

Date received by Minister

Date tabled/ presented*

Royal Australian Mint Public Service Act 1999-

subsection 63(1)

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

10/9/09 N/A N/A 16/11/09

30/10/09*

Superannuation Complaints Tribunal

Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints) Act 1993

— section 67

11/9/09 N/A N/A 16/11/09

13/11/09*

Takeovers Panel Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 - section 183

Public Service Act 1999-subsection 70(2)

15/10/09 N/A N/A 16/11/09

30/10/09*

Treasury Public Service Act 1999 - section 63

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

12/10/09 N/A N/A 16/11/09

30/10/09*

35

36

The Senate

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010)

November 2010

© Commonwealth of Australia 2010

ISBN 978-1-74229-373-8

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

38

iii

Senate Standing Committee on Education, Employment & Workplace Relations Legislation Committee

Secretariat

Dr Shona Batge, Secretary

Ms Lyn Beverley, Principal Research Officer

Ms Anna Peterson, Research Officer

Ms Danielle Oldfield, Administration Officer

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

Members

Senator Gavin Marshall, Chair

Senator Chris Back, Deputy Chair

Senator Michaelia Cash

Senator Catryna Bilyk

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young

Senator Dana Wortley

Victoria, ALP

Western Australia, LP

Western Australia, LP

Tasmania, ALP

South Australia, AG

South Australia, ALP

39

40

Table of Contents

Members...................................................................................................................... iii

Chapter 1...................................................................................................................... 5

Introduction.............................................................................................................. 5

Terms of reference.................................................................................................. 5

Role of annual reports............................................................................................ 6

Annual reports referred........................................................................................... 6

Reports not examined............................................................................................. 7

Method of assessment............................................................................................. 7

Timeliness in tabling annual reports...................................................................... 7

General comments on reports................................................................................. 8

Chapter 2...................................................................................................................... 9

Review of annual reports......................................................................................... 9

Workplace Authority.............................................................................................. 9

Workplace Ombudsman....................................................................................... 11

Australian Fair Pay Commission Secretariat........................................................ 11

Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner.................... 12

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority............................. 13

National Report to Parliament on Indigenous Education and Training............... 14

Comments made in the Senate............................................................................. 14

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

Appendix 1 ................................................................................................................. 17

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

Appendix 2 ................................................................................................................. 19

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

Appendix 3 .................................................................................................................23

Administrative Arrangements Order for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations................................................................23

42

Chapter 1

Introduction

1.1 This is the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee's (the committee) second 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 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

1 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.

6

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 November 2009 and 30 April 2010. The committee examined the reports of the:

Departmental reports

• Annual National Report of the Australian Vocational Education and Training System 2008

Prescribed agencies (under FMA Act)

• Australian Fair Pay Commission Secretariat

• Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

• Office of the Workplace Ombudsman

• Workplace Authority

Statutory authorities/bodies

• Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation

• Remuneration Tribunal

• Skills Australia

Commonwealth companies under the CAC Act

• Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

• Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal. (Also referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade)

Other

• Australian Fair Pay Commission

1.5 The legislation establishing the agencies reported on below and the tabling dates of the annual reports are listed at Appendix 2. Details of all annual reports falling within the purview of the committee are set out at Appendix 1.

44

Reports not examined

2.1 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:

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

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 time frame for its annual report.2 3 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.'

____________________________________________________________________________________ 7_

2 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2006, p. 2.

3 Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, section 9.

45

8

1.10 The committee recognises that some agencies are required to comply with other time frames stipulated in their enabling legislation, such as 'as soon as practicable after the 30 June'.4 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 all annual reports examined here were provided on time. This includes ACARA, which met its extended deadline of 26 October 2009.

General comments on reports

1.12 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.

1.13 However, the committee once again strongly encourages the use of compliance indexes in annual reports. Compliance indexes allow for easier readability of annual reports, and illustrate fulfilment of reporting requirements set out by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

4 Australian Research Council Act 2001, section 46.

46

Chapter 2

Review of annual reports

2.1 The committee notes that, as a result of the Fair Work Act 2009, from 1 July 2009 six agencies previously responsible for administering Australia's workplace relations system were replaced by Fair Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman. The six agencies are: the Australian Industrial Relations Commission; the Australian Industrial Registry; the Australian Fair Pay Commission; the Australian

Fair Pay Commission Secretariat; the Workplace Authority; and the Workplace Ombudsman.1 Flowever, several of these agencies still had work to complete, and their annual reports for 2008-09 are reviewed below.

2.2 The committee further notes that the two new bodies, Fair Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman, both fall under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997. One of the requirements for bodies under this Act, if applicable, is to report on their performance against service charter, customer service

standards, complaints data, and their response to complaints.1 2 3 The committee encourages the new agencies to include this information, including measures of their effectiveness in providing customer service, in their annual reports.

Workplace Authority

2.3 The 2008-09 annual report of the Workplace Authority is its second annual report. It states that, in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009. the Workplace Authority continued to fulfil a number of functions until 31 January 2010/ In accordance with this, the Director's review notes that during the 2008-09 reporting

period there was significant preparation by the agency and its staff for the transition to Fair Work Australia. This work included examining how the new legislation would affect the continued operation of the Workplace Authority and ensuring that resources were sufficient to continue assessing workplace agreements against the no-disadvantage test. It also involved working with key organisations to ensure consistent delivery of services under the new legislation.4

2.4 With such significant change ahead, a number of the agency's employees chose to move on. A total of 230 staff became redundant and another 35 employees

1 Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner, Annual Report 2008-09,

p. 19.

2 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments. Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, p. 31.

3 Workplace Authority, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 3. Also p. 59.

4 Workplace Authority, Annual Report 2008-09. p. 2.

47

10

moved to other APS agencies. Staff turnover was 53.01 per cent, a figure inclusive of transfers from non-ongoing to ongoing and the termination of contractors.5

2.5 During the 2008-09 financial year there were several major initiatives at the Workplace Authority, including6:

• work to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the process through which workplace agreements under the no-disadvantage test are assessed;

• completion of assessments of workplace agreements under the fairness test; and

• preparation for the commencement of Fair Work Australia.

2.6 The Workplace Infoline received more than 793,000 enquiries in 2008-09 which is a 17 per cent reduction from the previous year. Less than 0.03 per cent of inquiries were complaints about the Workplace Authority. The agency reduced the average call waiting time to 37 seconds, not reaching its target of 30 seconds. However, 98 per cent of calls to the Infoline were resolved at first point of contact, surpassing the agency's target.7

2.7 The Workplace Authority's website received an upgrade in February 2009, including a major review of its content and a number of technical changes aimed at increasing the accessibility of the site. During the reporting period the website had 1.8 million visits.8

2.8 During 2008-09 the Workplace Authority was responsible for both the assessment of workplace agreements made under the fairness test (those agreements made between 7 May 2007 and 27 March 2008), and those made under the no-disadvantage test (agreements made on or after 28 March 2008). Over 222,600 assessments of workplace agreements were finalised during the year.9

2.9 The committee considers the Workplace Authority report to be apparently satisfactory in meeting the reporting requirements under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

5 Workplace Authority, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 14.

6 Workplace Authority, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 1.

7 Workplace Authority, Annual Report 2008-09. p. 8

8 Workplace Authority, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 2.

9 Workplace Authority, AnnuaJ Report 2008-09, p. 11.

48

______________________________________________________________ n_

Workplace Ombudsman

2.10 The 2008-09 annual report of the Workplace Ombudsman is the agency's second and final annual report. The Workplace Ombudsman was abolished on 30 June 2009 and its functions were transferred to the newly created Fair Work Ombudsman.10 1 1

2.11 For the financial year ending 30 June 2009, the Workplace Ombudsman recovered $32,489,904 for 28,648 employees. Workplace Inspectors finalised 23,338 complaints regarding breaches of workplace relations laws, and resolved

99 per cent of these without resorting to litigation. During 2008, enforceable undertakings, as a substitute for litigation, became another way for the Workplace Ombudsman to achieve compliance with Australia's workplace relations laws.11

2.12 The Workplace Ombudsman conducts a number of national campaigns each year which aim to work with industry to improve levels of compliance. The campaigns focus on industries which generate the most complaints and have not been

previously examined. In the reporting period the Workplace Ombudsman finalised four national campaigns12 1 3 :

• Road Transport Campaign;

• Hospitality Campaign;

• Food Services Campaign; and

• Workplace Rights Week

2.13 The fourth campaign, Workplace Rights Week, held in April 2009, was a new initiative for the Workplace Ombudsman. It involved 330 Workplace Inspectors visiting schools, shopping centres, businesses and industry groups with the goal of directly educating employers and employees about their rights and obligations under workplace relations laws.lj

2.14 The committee considers that the Workplace Ombudsman report is apparently satisfactory in meeting the reporting requirements under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

Australian Fair Pay Commission Secretariat

2.15 The Australian Fair Pay Commission Secretariat’s 2008-09 and July 2009 annual report is its fourth and final report. On 31 July 2009 the task of setting

10 Workplace Ombudsman, Annual Report 2008-09, p. iv.

11 Workplace Ombudsman, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 2.

12 Workplace Ombudsman, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 16-17.

13 Workplace Ombudsman, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 18.

12

minimum wages for employees in the national system transferred to Fair Work Australia.14

2.16 The report focuses on the work carried out by the Secretariat in support of the Australian Fair Pay Commission. During the reporting period the Secretariat worked on the Commission's fourth and final Minimum Wage Review and prepared for a July 2009 decision announcement. It published two further editions of the Economic and Social Indicators - Monitoring Report in 2008-09, held the Minimum Wage Research Forum in October 2008, and during the second half of the reporting year prepared for the transition to Fair Work Australia.15

2.17 In its report Annual Reports (No.2 o f 2009) the committee observed that the Secretariat provided the same information regarding ecological development and environmental performance in the 2007-08 annual report as it did for the previous financial year. The committee further noted that the report did not detail the measures the Secretariat undertook to minimise its impact on the environment.16 The committee

encouraged the Secretariat to provide more detailed infonnation on its ecological sustainable development and environmental perfonnance. However, in its 2008-09 annual report, the Secretariat does not expand on the information it provided in previous annual reports, stating:

The Secretariat is committed to the principles of ecological sustainable development and environmental performance. Accordingly, the Secretariat worked with building management to implement measures to minimise the

Secretariat's impact on the environment.

2.18 As the Secretariat no longer exists, the committee encourages the new body Fair Work Australia to report against each of the requirements under the Environmental and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, section 516A.

2.19 The committee considers that the annual report of the Australia Fair Pay Commission Secretariat is apparently satisfactory in meeting the reporting requirements under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

2.20 The ABCC made 1467 site visits during the 2008-09 reporting period. Of these, 1314 were proactive site visits, and 153 were made as part of investigations. The committee notes these figures are consistent with the number of site visits made

in the 2007-08 reporting period. In 2008-09, 262 investigations into potential breaches of workplace laws were conducted by the ABCC. The majority of investigations

14 Fair Work Australia, Previous Bodies, http ://www.fwa.gov.au/index.cfm?pagename=transagencies (accessed 8 September 2010)

15 Australian Fair Pay Commission Secretariat, Annual Report 2008-09 & July 2009, pp. 3-7.

16 Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee, Annual Reports (No. 2 o f2009), p. 8. "

50

13

occurred in Victoria and New South Wales, and the report notes that although there were not a large number of incidents in Western Australia, investigations in that state were particularly complex.17

2.21 During 2008-09 the ABCC referred 943 enquiries to other federal and state agencies. Most of these inquiries were directed to domestic building authorities. The ABCC made 24 formal referrals to other agencies during the same period. Formal referrals occur when the ABCC uncovers a possible breach of legislation administered by another agency.18

2.22 In its report Annual Reports (No. 2 o f2009) the committee recommended that the ABCC identify participants in its industry forums to enable a more comprehensive assessment of the ABCC's engagement with the entire building and construction industry.19 The committee notes that the ABCC’s 2008-09 Annual Report states:

Two Industry Forums were held in 2008-09. Senior representatives from industry associations, unions and DEEWR were invited to meet with the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioners. ... Union representatives declined the invitation to participate in the two industry forums in 2008­ 09.20

2.23 The committee considers the ABCC report to be apparently satisfactory in meeting the reporting requirements under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997.

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

2.24 The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) was established in December 2008 under the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority Act 2008, but only became operational when board members were appointed on 28 May 2009. The authority was established to improve the quality and consistency of Australian school education through the use of a national curriculum, national assessment, data collection and performance reporting.21

17 Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner, Annual Report 2008-09,

pp. 25-28.

18 Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner, Annual Report 2008-09,

p. 30.

19 Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee, Annual Reports (No. 2 o f2009), p. 10.

20 Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner, Annual Report 2008-09,

p. 16.

21 Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Annual Report 2008­ 09, pp. 7-8.

51

14

2.25 As previously detailed in the committee's report Annual Reports (No. 1 o f 2010), ACARA was granted an extension for the tabling of its annual report for 2008-09 by the Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.2" It is the authority's first annual report.

2.26 The Chair's review states that although ACARA was only operational for 34 days in the 2008-09 financial year, it took significant steps towards achieving its objectives. In that time, the board met twice and created two committees to work on issues of curriculum, and assessment and reporting. It also initiated the development of a school reporting website launched in early 2010, consolidated work started by the Interim National Curriculum Board and developed plans to achieve all its functions in the 2009-10 financial year.2" 1

2.27 The committee notes that ACARA's annual report is A4 size rather than the international standard size of B5 (250 mm deep x 176 mm wide) which is recommended by the Printing standards for documents presented to Parliament.2 2 2 3 24 The committee encourages ACARA to publish future annual reports in B5 size.

2.28 The committee considers the ACARA annual report to be apparently satisfactory in meeting the reporting requirements under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.

National Report to Parliament on Indigenous Education and Training

2.29 The committee notes that the National Report to Parliament on Indigenous Education and Training has not been produced since the 2006 edition was published in 2008. The committee encourages the Department of Education, Employment and

Workplace Relations to complete the subsequent editions as soon as possible.

Comments made in the Senate

2.30 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.

22 Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee, Annual Report (No. 1 of 2010), pp. 3-4.

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

24 Joint Committee on Publications, Printing standards for documents presented to Parliament. http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/publ/printing standards.htm#Advice

(accessed 9 September 2010)

52

___________________________________________________________________________________ 15_

Bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate

2.31 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

53

54

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.

18

• Remuneration Tribunal

• Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission

• Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority (Seacare)

• Skills Australia

• Workplace Authority

• Workplace Ombudsman

56

Compliance table of annual reports referred

List of annual reports referred by the Senate to the committee during the period 1 November 2009 to 30 April 2010

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio

Appendix 2

Body/Report Enabling legislation and

timeliness

Letter of Transmittal Date

Submitted to/Received by Minister

Presented out of session to President of

the Senate

Tabled Timeliness

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner - Report for 2008-2009

Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 29/09/2009 30/09/2009/ 30/09/2009

Reps: 17/11/2009

Senate: 17/11/2009

On time

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority - Report for 2008­ 2009

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 24/10/2009 26/10/2009/ 26/10/2009

Reps: 19/11/2009

Senate: 24/11/2009

Requested extension to 26/10/2009- on time.

Australian Fair Pay Commission - Report for 2008-2009

Workplace Relations Act 1996 (as continued in force by the Fair Work (Transitional

31/07/2009 4/11/2009/

4/11/2009

Reps: 19/11/2009 On time

Presented out of session to President of

the Senate

21/12/2009

22/12/2009

Tabled

Senate: 24/11/2009

Reps: 19/11/2009

Senate: 24/11/2009

Reps: 2/ 02/2010

Senate: 2/02/2010

Reps: 2/02/2010

Senate: 2/ 02/2010

Timeliness

On time

On time

On time

Presented out of session to President of

the Senate

22/12/2009

Tabled

Reps: 2/ 02/2010

Senate: 2/02/2010

Reps: 2/02/2010

Senate: 24/11/2009

Reps: 26/11/2009

Senate: 2/02/2010

Reps: 19/11/2009

Timeliness

On time

On time

On time

On time

Presented out of session to President of

the Senate

Tabled

Senate: 24/11/2009

Reps: 29/10/2009

Senate: 17/11/2009

Reps: 29/10/2009

Senate: 17/11/2009

Timeliness

On time

On time

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

I

62

The Senate

Environment and Communications Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010)

November 2010

© Commonwealth of Australia 2010

ISBN 978-1-74229-374-5

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

Committee membership

Members Senator Doug Cameron (ALP, NSW) (Chair) Senator Mary Jo Fisher (LP, SA) (Deputy Chair) Senator Scott Ludlam (AG, WA) Senator Anne McEwen (ALP, SA) 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 Environment and Communications Legislation Committee PO Box 6100 Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600

Teh 02 6277 3526

Fax'. 02 6277 5818

Email: ec.sen@aph.gov.au

Internet: www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/ec_ctte/index.htm

iii 65

iv 66

Contents

Committee membership iii

Report to the Senate 1

Introduction 1

Annual reporting requirements 2

Purpose of annual reports 2

Reports referred to the Committee 3

Remarks made in the Senate 4

Timeliness 4

Comments on annual reports 5

Bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate 6

Summary 6

Appendix 1 - Annual reports referred to the Committee 9

v 67

vi 68

Report to the Senate

Introduction

1.1 By virtue of Senate Standing Order 25(20) and Senate orders of

12M ay20101 and 29 September 2010,1 2 the Senate refers to this committee for examination and report the annual reports of departments and agencies of the following three portfolios:

• Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy;

• Climate Change and Energy Efficiency; and

• Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (fonnerly 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 reports tabled in the Senate during the period from 1 November 2009 to 30 April 2010 as required by standing order 25(20)(f).

1 Journals o f the Senate, No. 121, 12 May 2010, p. 3462.

2 Journals o f the Senate, No. 2, 29 September 2010, pp 88-89.

2

Annual reporting requirements

1.4 On 17 June 2009 the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit agreed to revised Requirements for Annual Reports for Department, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies put forward by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Requirements apply to annual reports for departments of state pursuant to

subsection 63(2) and executive agencies pursuant to subsection 70(2) of the Public Service Act 1999. They also apply to prescribed agencies under section 5 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act).

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

1.6 Under section 48 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (the CAC Act), the Minister for Finance outlines the annual reporting requirements for Commonwealth authorities and companies in the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2002. 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 Requirements if their head has the powers of a secretary as defined under the Public Service 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-Statutoiy Bodies. The response was incorporated into the Senate Hansard of 8 December 1987.3 4

Purpose of annual reports

1.9 As stated in the Requirements, the primary purpose of annual reports is accountability, in particular to the Parliament. They inform the Parliament, other stakeholders, education and research institutions, the media and the general public

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

4 Official Senate Hansard, 8 December 1987, pp 2643-45.

70

3

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.5

Reports referred to the Committee

1.10 This report reviews six reports from the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio, and six reports from the former Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts portfolio.6

1.11 The following reports have been referred to the committee:

Department o f State Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts Report of the Independent Review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, October 2009

Energy use in the Australian Government's operations

Prescribed agencies Murray-Darling Basin Authority, including final report of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission Correction: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Great Barrier Reef Outlook

Report 2009

Statutory authorities National Environment Protection Council - Annual Report 2008-2009 Correction: Screen Australia Annual Report 2008-20097

Reports on the operation o f Acts/Agreements Australian Broadcasting Corporation Equity and Diversity Annual Report 1 September 2008 to 31 August 2009

Australian Communications and Media Authority Communications Report 2008-2009

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission Telstra's compliance with the price control arrangements 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009

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

6 On 14 September 2010, this portfolio was renamed the Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio.

7 On 14 September 2010, all arts and cultural related matters were transferred to the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio which is overseen by the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee.

71

Australian Postal Corporation (Australia Post) Equal employment opportunity program - Report for 2008-2009

Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Funding of Research and Consumer Representation in relation to Telecommunications - Annual Report 2008-2009 Report on Digital Television Transmission and Reception, February 2010

1.12 Appendix 1 provides an alphabetical record in more detail, including:

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

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

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

Remarks made in the Senate

1.13 As required under the tenns of Standing Order 25(20)(d), the committee notes that none of the annual reports dealt with in this report were the subject of comment in the Senate.

1.14 However, the committee notes that two annual reports, which were dealt with in the committee's Report No. 1 of 2010, were the subject of comment in the chamber:

• Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Senators Farrell, Fierravanti-Wells and Cameron;8 and

• the NBN Co: Senators Macdonald, Policy and Fisher.9

Timeliness

1.15 As noted above, the annual report requirements state that if a department is unable to meet the tabling deadline, the secretary may seek an extension of time to report by advising 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.10

1.16 All reports reviewed in this report were tabled after the 31 October deadline. The terms of section 9 of the CAC Act, require that annual reports be given to the

4_____________________________________________________________________________________

8 Senate Hansard, 18 March 2010, pp 2319-22.

9 Senate Hansard, 19 November 2009, p. 8472; 11 March 2010, p. 1694; and 18 March 2010, p. 2314.

10 Department o f the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies andFMA Act Bodies, Canberra, 17 June 2009, p. 2.

5

responsible Minister by 15 October. As a matter of policy, they also apply to prescribed agencies under section 5 of the FMA Act. Under section 36 of the CAC Act, the content of annual reports of Commonwealth companies is based on reporting requirements under the Corporation Act 2001.11

1.17 The committee notes that the first annual report of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority did not meet all the reporting deadlines. The report was tabled in the House of Representatives on 23 November 2009 and in the Senate on 24 November 2009, thereby missing the 31 October tabling deadline. The report was submitted to and received by the Minister on 22 October 2009.

1.18 In previous reports on annual reports, the committee has acknowledged advice from the National Environment Council that its enabling legislation requires it to include reports by each member of the Council (ie Commonwealth, State and Territory ministers) in its annual report which leads to its report being tabled after 31 October each year.1 1 12 1 3

1.19 The Requirements state that 'where an agency's own legislation provides a timeframe for its annual report...that timeframe applies... However, it remains the Government's policy that all annual reports should be tabled by 31 October'.1"' The committee encourages agencies to table annual reports in a timely manner.

Comments on annual reports

Murray-Darling Basin Authority

1.20 This is the first annual report of the Authority which was established on 8 September 2008. On 15 December 2008, the Authority subsumed the functions of the former Murray-Darling Basin Commission which then ceased to exist. This report also contains the final report of that Commission.

1.21 The reporting period therefore covers the transition from the former agency to the Authority; the development of its first Corporate Plan to cover the period 2009-13; and the appointment in May 2009 of the Chair and members of the Authority who held the first meeting in June 2009.

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

12 See Environment, Communications and the Arts Legislation Committee, Annual reports (No. 2 o f2009), September 2009; Annual reports (No. 2 o f2008), September 2008; and the Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Legislation Committee, Annual reports (No. 2 o f 2007), September 2007; Annual reports (No. 2 o f 2006), September

2006; Annual reports (No. 2 o f2005), September 2005; Annual reports (No. 2 o f2004), September 2004; Annual reports (No. 2 o f2003), September 2003, p. 4; and Annual reports (No. 2 o f2002), September 2002, pp 28-29.

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

6

1.22 The report notes that the centrepiece of the Authority's activities is the development of a Basin Plan to manage the Basin's surface water and groundwater resources and set sustainable diversion limits based 'on the best scientific, social, cultural and economic knowledge, evidence and analysis'.14

1.23 The report flags a number of developments to be undertaken including:

• stakeholder engagement and community consultation processes during development of the Basin Plan;

• developing a program for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the plan, including reporting requirements for the Commonwealth and Basin states;

• further consolidation and streamlining of the Authority's systems and processes; and

• assessing the most effective ways of delivering reliable water resources to users dependent on the Basin.15

Bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate

1.24 Standing Order 25(20)(h) requires the committee to report to the Senate each year whether there are any bodies which do not present annual reports to the Senate which should present such reports. The committee is aware of no such body.

Summary

1.25 Standing Order 25(20)(a) requires 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.

1.26 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 commendably 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, except where noted above.

14 Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Annual Report 2008-2009, p. v.

15 Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Annual Report 2008-2009, p. x.

74

7

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

Senator Doug Cameron Chair

1

76

APPENDIX 1

Annual reports referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts16 between 1 November 2009 and 30 April 2010

Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio

Name Type17 Dates18 Tabled19

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Equity and D iversity Annual Report 1 Septem ber 2008 to 31 A ugust 2009

Report on the operation o f an Act

A. -

B. 27/01/10 C. 27/01/10

23/02/10

Australian Com m unications and M edia Authority Com m unications Report 2008-09

Report on the operation o f an Act

A. 10/11/09 B. -

C. -

02/02/10 (Received 12/01/10)

Australian Competition & Consum er Com m ission Telstra's com pliance with the price control arrangem ents, 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009

Report under paragraph 151C M (l)(b) o f Trade Practices A ct 1974

A. -

B. 08/02/10 C. 08/02/10

16/03/10

Australian Postal Corporation (Australia Post) Equal em ploym ent opportunity program Report for 2008-09

Report on the operation o f an Act

A. -

B. 29/09/09 C. 29/09/09

02/02/10

Departm ent o f Broadband, Com m unications and the Digital Econom y Funding o f Consum er Representation and

Research in relation to Tele­ com m unications A nnual Report 2008-2009, N ovem ber 2009

Report on the operation o f a Grants Program

A. -

B. 27/01/10 C. 27/01/10

02/02/10

16 On 29 September 2010, the title was change to the Environment and Communications Committee.

17 Statutory Authority includes statutory office-holders.

18 Dates shown are: A The date shown on a letter o f transmittal printed with the annual report (if any) 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) 19 The date in parenthesis shows the date that the report was presented out of session to the

President / Deputy President / Temporary Chairman of Committees.

77

10

Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (formerly Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts) portfolio 2 0

Name Type Dates Tabled

Department o f the Environment, Report on the A. 30/10/09 02/02/10

Water, Heritage and the Arts operation o f an B. - (Received

Report o f the Independent Review o f A ct C. - 21/12/09)

the Environm ent Protection and Biodiversity Conservation A ct 1999, October 2009 Departm ent o f the Environment, Report under A. - 02/02/10

Water, Heritage and the Arts EEGO policy B. - (Received

Energy use in the Australian C. - 23/12/10)

Government's operations Report for 2007-2008 G reat Barrier R eef M arine Park Prescribed A. - 02/02/10

Authority agency B. - (Received

Correction to G reat Barrier R eef C. - 14/12/09)

Outlook Report 2009 M urray-Darling Basin Authority Prescribed A. - 02/02/10

Annual Report 2008-2009 agency B. 22/11/09 (Received

C. 22/11/09 14/12/09)

National Environm ent Protection Statutory A. - 23/02/10

Council A uthority B. 22/01/10 (Received

Annual Report 2008-2009 C. 22/01/10 13/02/09)

Screen Australia"0 A. - 02/02/10

Correction to Annual Report 2008-09 B. - (Received

C. - 03/12/09)

20 On 14 September 2010, all arts and cultural related matters were transferred to the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio which is overseen by the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee.

78

The Senate

Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010)

November 2010

© Commonwealth of Australia 2010

ISBN 978-1-74229-375-2

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.

80

Membership of the Committee

Members

Senator Helen Polley (Chair) ALP, TAS

Senator Mitch Fifield (Deputy Chair) LP, VIC

Senator the Hon John Faulkner ALP, NSW

Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens ALP, NSW

Senator Helen Kroger LP, VIC

Senator Rachel Siewert AG, WA

Secretariat

Ms Christine McDonald

Ms Sophia Fernandes

Ms Victoria Robinson-Conlon

Committee Secretary

Research Officer

Research Officer

iii

81

4

82

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Membership o f the C om m ittee.............................................................................. iii

Report on Annual R eports....................................................................................... 1

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

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

Allocated portfolios........... .....................................................................................2

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

Reports examined................................................................................................... 4

Non-reporting bodies.............................................................................................. 5

Timeliness............................................................................................................... 5

Assessment of reports............................................................................................. 5

Senate debate.......................................................................................................... 6

Assessment of reports............................................................................................. 6

Appendix 1 ................................................................................................................... 9

Dates relating to the timeliness of presentation and debate in the Senate..........9

83

4

84

Report on Annual Reports Introduction

1.1 This is the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee's (the committee) second report on annual reports for 2010. It provides an examination of annual reports for the 2008-09 financial year tabled in the Senate between 1 November 2009 and 30 April 2010. 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.

2

Allocated portfolios

1.3 In accordance with the resolution of the Senate of 13 February 2008, the committee has responsibility during the reporting period for the oversight of the following portfolios:

• Parliament;1

• Prime Minister and Cabinet;

• Finance and Deregulation; and

• Human Services.

1.4 Since the committee's first report on annual reports for 2010 (March 2010), two changes have been made to the portfolios which the committee oversights. First, on 12 May 2010, the Senate agreed to amend the order of the Senate of 13 February 2008 relating to the allocation of departments and agencies to legislative and general purpose standing committees and transferred the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency from the committee's oversight to that of the then Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee.1 2 The amendment of the allocation reflected the establishment of a new Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency in

March 2010.

1.5 The second change arose within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio following the commencement of the 43rd Parliament. Two functions were transferred to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet: the sport outcome from the Department of Health and Ageing; and the arts outcome from the former Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. At the same time the new Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government was established within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio. In addition, on 29 September 2010, the Senate allocated departments to the standing committees for the new Parliament

and as a result the Department of Human Services was allocated to the Community Affairs Committee.

1.6 The changes to the portfolio arrangements and allocation of departments to the standing committees will be reflected in the committee's first report for 2011.

1 As a matter of comity between the Houses, neither House inquires into the operations o f the other House. For this reason, neither the annual report of, nor the proposed expenditure for, the Department of the House of Representatives is referred to a Senate committee for review.

2 Journals o f the Senate, 12 May 2010, p. 3462.

86

3

Method of assessment

1.7 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).

1.8 Statutory authorities report under their respective enabling legislation. For example, the Australian Electoral Commission reports under section 17 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

1.9 The committee also assesses whether reports comply with the Requirements for Annual Reports: for Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies (the PM&C Requirements), issued by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) with the approval of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and

Audit under subsections 63(2) and 70(2) of the Public Service Act 1999. This is the authoritative source outlining the requirements for preparing and presenting annual reports for bodies prescribed under the FMA Act."

1.10 Commonwealth authorities and companies report under the CAC Act and thus have different reporting requirements.

1.11 The annual report of a Commonwealth authority must include a report of operations as set out in the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2008 (otherwise known as the Finance Minister's Orders made under section 48 of the CAC Act),3 4 financial statements and the Auditor-General's report on those financial statements.

1.12 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 2001. Where the auditor's report is not provided by the Auditor- General, the company must also include a report by the Auditor-General.

3 These guidelines may be found at: www.pmc.gov.au/guidelines/docs/annual report requireinents.pdf.

4 These orders may be found at: www.finance.gov.au/financial-framework/cac-legislation/cac- finance-ministers-orders.html.

1

87

4

Commonwealth companies that are wholly-owned by the Commonwealth must also supply any additional information or report required by the Finance Minister's Orders.

1.13 The Finance Minister has a role in the oversight of commonwealth authorities that are also classified as a government business enterprise (GBE) as set out in the CAC Act. The annual reports of GBEs must provide an assessment of the company's financial condition, dividends and community service obligations over the financial year.

Reports examined

1.14 During the period between 1 November 2009 and 30 April 2010, eight annual reports that were tabled in the Senate, or presented out of sittings to the President of the Senate, were referred to the committee for examination. These reports are categorised as follows:

Common wealth authorities

• Australian Industry Development Coiporation—Annual Report 2008-09— pursuant to section 9 of the CAC Act and section 37 of the Australian Industry Development Corporation Act 1970.

Commonwealth companies

• ASC Pty Ltd—Annual Report 2008-09—pursuant to section 9 of the CAC Act; and

• Tuggeranong Office Park Ltd—Annual Report 2008-09—pursuant to section 9 of the CAC Act.

Reports not examined

1.15 The committee is not required to report on Acts, statements of corporate intent, surveys, corporate plans or errata. The following documents were referred to the committee but not examined:

• Australian Public Service Commissioner—State of the Service Report 2008-09;

• Commonwealth Services Delivery Agency— Data-matching program— reports on progress—2004-2007;

• Department of Finance and Deregulation—Campaign advertising by Australian government departments and agencies—Report for the period 1 July to 31 December 2009;

• Department of Finance and Deregulation—Certificate of compliance— Report for 2008-09; and

• Freedom o f Information Act 1982—Report 2008-09 on the operation of the Act.

88

______________________________________________ ___ __________________________________ 5_

Non-reporting bodies

1.16 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.

1.17 The committee continues to approach this in two ways. First, the committee examines the Administrative Arrangements Order for the list of legislation administered by portfolio ministers and consequently, departments and agencies. Second, the committee consults the Department of Finance's listing of Australian Government Bodies. The list identifies the agencies that are required to report and the Acts under which they report.5

1.18 Based on the above checks, the committee considers it has received all reports that it is required to receive.

Timeliness

1.19 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 For example, where the company's financial year ends on 30 June, the report must be furnished to the minister by 31 October.

1.20 Commonwealth authorities are required to report by the 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the financial year, which for authorities reporting on a standard financial year basis would be 15 October.7

Assessment of reports

1.21 The committee determines whether the report of an agency satisfactorily meets reporting requirements by assessing against the PM&C Requirements, in particular, the checklist at Attachment F in the Requirements; its respective enabling legislation; and where necessary, the Corporations Act 2001.8

1.22 The committee has found that one report, ASC Pty Ltd Annual Report 2009, has neglected to include information in accordance with the Freedom o f Information Act 1982? However, all other reports are 'apparently satisfactory'. The committee

5 This list may be found at: httn://www.finance.aov.au/pubiications/fliDchart/index.html (accessed 4 November 2010).

6 Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1999, s. 36.

7 Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1999, s. 9.

8 Corporations Act 2001, chapter 2M.

9 Freedom o f Information Act 1982. ss. 8(1).

u89

6

notes that all financial statements included in the reports received an unqualified report from the Auditor-General.

Senate debate

1.23 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.

Assessment of reports

1.24 The committee has assessed the annual reports tabled between the required period and has selected the annual reports of the Australian Industry Development Corporation and ASC Pty Ltd for detailed scrutiny:

Australian Industry Development Corporation

1.25 In its report, Annual reports (No. 2 o f 2009),10 the committee found that the Australian Industry Development Coiporation's (AIDC) annual report for 2008 did not include information in accordance with the Freedom o f Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), subsection 8(1). The committee is pleased to note that, while the AIDC is in its shut-down phase, the AIDC's annual report for 2009 has provided a clear and adequately detailed statement on FOI matters to meet this requirement.

1.26 The committee also notes that it is stated in the annual report that the AIDC continues to manage down its residual obligations and undertakings with a view to a complete shut-down by 2010. As at the time of reporting, no statement indicating that the shut-down has been completed has been made.

ASC Pty Ltd

1.27 ASC Pty Ltd (ASC) is prescribed under the CAC Act as a Commonwealth company limited by shares under the Corporations Act 2001, and is also classified as a GBE. As such, ASC must fulfil the requirements outlined in the Commonwealth Authorities and Corporations (Report of Operations) Orders and requirements set out under the Corporations Act 2001. '1

1.28 The report includes a thorough breakdown of significant changes in the company's financial structure; uncertainties effecting reported financial information and the amount of dividends paid, as required under the CAC Orders for a GBE. Detailed infonnation on the activities and direction for ASC's two major operations, * 1 1

10 Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee, Annual reports (No. 2 of 2009), September 2009, pp 9-10.

11 These may be found at http://www.finance.gov.au/financial-framework/cac-legislation/cac- fmance-ministers-orders.html.

90

7

submarines and shipbuilding, is clearly provided in the report, facilitating the committee's scrutiny. The committee also notes that the report includes information about the ASC's environmental performance and environmental management system as well as the details of the one environmental incident which occurred during the reporting period.

1.29 The committee commends ASC Pty Ltd on its annual report for 2009.

Senator Helen Polley

Chair

4

92

.

Appendix 1

Dates relating to the timeliness of presentation and debate in the Senate R e p o rtin g Body S ent to M in ister Received by

M in ister

T abled in the Senate o r presented o u t of sitting!*)

C onsideration in the Senate — d ebate

P R IM E M IN IS T E R AND C A B IN E T P O R T F O L IO

Public Service Commissioner - State of the Service Report 05/11/2009 05/11/2009 02/02/2010 -

Freedom of Information Act 1982, Annual Report 2008-09 27/10/2009 27/10/2009 22/12/2009* -

F IN A N C E AND D E R E G U L A T IO N P O R T F O L IO

ASC Pty Ltd 02/10/2009 17/11/2009 17/12/2009* -

Australian Industry Development Corporation 08/09/2009 10/09/2009 02/02/2010

Department of Finance and Deregulation - Campaign advertising by Australian

government departments and agencies - Half year report

09/03/2010 09/03/2010 31/03/2010* -

Department of Finance and Deregulation - Certificate of compliance 2008-09 30/11/2009 30/11/2009 29/01/2010* -

Tuggeranong Office Park Pty Ltd 30/10/2009 30/10/2009 02/02/2010 -

H U M A N S ER V IC ES P O R T F O L IO

;

Commonwealth Services Delivery Agency - Data- matching program - reports on progress 2004-2007

19/11/2009 19/11/2009 16/12/2009*

93

2 ° -

94

The Senate

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010)

November 2010

© Commonwealth of Australia

ISBN 978-1-74229-376-9

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

96

The committee

Senator Mark Bishop. ALP, WA (Chair) Senator Helen Kroger, LP, Vic (Deputy Chair) Senator Michael Forshaw, ALP, NSW Senator Steve Hutchins, ALP, NSW Senator Scott Ludlam, GRN, WA Senator Russell Trood, LP, Qld

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

iii

97

98

Contents

The com m ittee............................................................................................................iii

Preface

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

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

Assessment of annual reports................................................................................. 2

Annual reports considered...................................................................................... 3

General comments on the annual reports............................................................... 3

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

Comments made in the Senate............................................................................ 3

Matters of significance........................................................................................ 3

Bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate.............................................3

Standard of reports.............................................................................................. 3

Chapter 1

Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies................................ 5

Defence portfolio.....................................................................................................5

Director of Military Prosecutions........................................................................... 5

Prosecution policy and the High Court decision................................................. 6

Choice of forum for a hearing............................................................................. 6

Independent review of the military justice system.............................................. 8

ODMP caseload....................................................................................................8

Significant cases.................................................................................................. 9

The command discipline system......................................................................... 9

Recommendations and considerations...............................................................10

Conclusion..........................................................................................................10

ASC Pty Ltd..........................................................................................................11

Collins Class submarine.....................................................................................12

Air warfare destroyer..........................................................................................13

Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal.................................................................13

v

99

Appendix 1

Annual reports referred to the committee............................................................23

Defence portfolio...................................................................................................23

Departments........................................................................................................ 23

Statutory authorities............................................................................................23

Non-statutory authorities and government companies..................................... 23

Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio..................................................................... 24

Department.........................................................................................................24

Statutory authorities............................................................................................ 24

Non-statutory authorities and government companies..................................... 24

Appendix 2

Compliance table of the annual reports referred to the committee for scrutiny for the period 2008-2009...................................................................25

Defence—statutory authorities................................................................. -....... 25

Defence—government company........................................................................25

Appendix 3

Reporting requirements and guidelines................................................................27

Departmental reports............................................................................................27

Authority for requirements.................................................................................27

Commencement and reporting period............................................................... 27

Timetable............................................................................................................ 28

Commonwealth authorities and companies......................................................... 28

Non-statutory bodies.............................................................................................29

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.

101

J

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 Parliam ent (through the responsible M inister), other stakeholders, educational and research institutions, the m edia and the general public about the perform ance o f departments in relation to services provided. Annual reports are a key reference document and a docum ent for internal m anagement. They form part o f the historical record.

Annual reports and Portfolio Budget Statements (PBSs) are the principal formal accountability m echanism s between governm ent and departments and from departments through (or on beh alf of) governm ent to the

Parliam ent.2

Assessment o f 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 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, 17 June 2009, pp. 1 and 2;

• 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

2 Requirements fo r 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 o f the reports referred to the committee for scrutiny.

102

Preface 3

Government Operations on Non-statutory Bodies, Senate Hansard, 8 December 1987, vol sl24, pp. 2643-45 (requirements were modified in 1987).

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:

ASC Pty Ltd Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, and Director of Military Prosecutions.

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.

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.

Bodies not presenting annual reports to the Senate

11. 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 o f 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'.

103

4

104

Chapter 1

Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies

Defence portfolio

Director of Military Prosecutions

1.1 The Annual Report of the Director of Military Prosecutions for the period 1 January to 31 December 2009 was tabled in the Senate on 22 June 2010. This is the third report presented to Parliament by the Director of Military Prosecutions (DMP).

1.2 The Office of the DMP is a statutory body created under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 (DFDA). The position of the DMP was created by section 188G of the DFDA; Brigadier L. A. McDade commenced her five year appointment on 12 June 2006.1 The office holder must be a legal practitioner with not less than five years experience, and be a member of the pennanent navy, regular anny or permanent

air force, or be a member of the reserves rendering full-time service, holding a rank not lower than the rank of commodore, brigadier or air commodore."

1.3 Under section 188GA of the DFDA, the Director of Military Prosecutions has the following functions:

a) to cany on prosecutions for service offences in proceedings before a court martial or a Defence Force magistrate, whether or not instituted by the Director of Military Prosecutions;

b) to seek the consent of the Directors of Public Prosecutions as required by section 63;

c) to make statements or give infonnation to particular persons or to the public relating to the exercise of powers or the performance of duties or functions under this Act;

d) to represent the service chiefs in proceedings before the Defence Force Discipline Appeal Tribunal;

e) to do anything incidental or conducive to the performance of any of the preceding functions.1 2 3

1 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 1.

2 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2007, pp. 1 and 28.

3 Defence Force Discipline Act 1982, section 188GA, subsection (1).

i

105

6 Chapter 1—Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies

1.4 In addition to his or her function under subsection (1), the DMP also has:

a) the function conferred on the Director of Military Prosecutions by or under this Act or any other law of the Commonwealth; and

b) such other functions as are prescribed by the regulations.4

Prosecution policy and the High Court decision

1.5 Brigadier McDade reported that during the period under review, amendments were made to the prosecution policy. The most significant amendment was made after the High Court decision in Lane v Morrison. On 26 August 2009, the High Court of Australia in a unanimous decision declared invalid the provisions of Division 3 of Part VII of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 (DFDA). The effect of that declaration was that the Australian Military Court (AMC) was invalid.5

1.6 As a consequence, the ADF had no superior forum to try service offences referred to the DMP for trial. In September 2009 remedial legislation was passed and commenced on 22 September 2009.6

1.7 The DMP noted that the High Court decision did not effect the role and function of the Office of the Director of Military Prosecutor (ODMP) and that it continued despite the demise of the Australian Military Court:

The return to the com m and system did not present any significant

difficulties to the ODM P. The office quickly adapted its procedures to accord with the legislative am endm ents.7

The challenge was to m aintain control o f the workload, w hilst making sure that there was no dim inution in the standard o f the prosecutorial process and subsequent prosecutions.8

1.8 The DMP thanked all her staff for their work and commitment to the long term military discipline solution.9

Choice offorum for a hearing

1.9 The Committee notes that there has been criticism of the number of courts martial being convened in lieu of Defence Force Magistrate (DFM) hearings.

4 Defence Force Discipline Act 1982, section 188GA, subsection (2).

5 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, pp. 1 and 6.

6 Director o f Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 6.

7 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 6.

8 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 7.

9 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 8.

106

Chapter 1—Annual reports o f statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies 7

1.10 The DMP reported that since the demise of the Australian Military Court, the choice of forum (General Court Martial, Restricted Court Martial or Defence Force Magistrate) for a hearing has become a matter for her to determine. Prior to the creation of the position of DMP, this function was performed by convening authorities.10 1 1

1.11 The DMP explained that, in the interest of military discipline and the understanding of it by the general Defence community, it was important to address these concerns openly and publicly.11

It is the case that if one goes back over the last ten years o f the operation o f the command based system most, if not all, hearings were conducted by DFM. Those num bers have been raised at various forums to justify

criticism o f the use o f general and restricted courts martial. However, the comparison is flawed because no analysis has been undertaken to establish how the forum for trial was selected during that period.

In my experience, the tendency historically was for DFM trials to be recommended to Convening A uthorities, because they were

administratively easier and 'less disruptive to the normal activities o f members o f the Defence Force than is a trial by court m artial'... The result o f this practice may have created a m isapprehension that a DFM was the accepted forum for all nature o f offending, and courts martial were only to be convened in exceptional circumstances.

W hereas the intention o f the Parliament in creating DFM s was not to cease courts martial, but to create a separate tribunal for the trial o f less serious offences for those offences that were not 'manifestly injurious to service

discipline', and generally for administrative convenience.12 1 3

1.12 At a meeting of the Military Justice Coordination Committee (MJCC) in December 2009, Brigadier McDade expressed the view that 'discipline was an inherent function of command and not the sole responsibility or province of legal officers'. She further asserted that it was important that general service officers be

intimately involved in the administration of discipline in the ADF at all levels.lj

1.13 According to the DMP, the MJCC 'supports the DMP's reasoning for factors to be considered when deciding upon an appropriate tribunal to deal with a matter of which she has carriage'.14

10 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 9.

11 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 9.

12 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, pp. 9-10.

13 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, pp. 10-11.

14 Director o f Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, pp. 10-11.

107

8 Chapter 1—Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies

Independent review o f the military justice system

1.14 In March 2008, CDF appointed Sir Laurence Street, AC, KCMG, QC and Air Marshal Leslie Fisher (Retd), AO to undertake a review of the military justice system (the Street/Fisher Review).

1.15 In January 2009, the DMP was given the opportunity by Sir Laurence Street and Air Marshal Leslie Fisher to respond to the proposed recommendation:

DM P discontinue the practice o f appearing in the conduct o f prosecution; a perm anent or reserve officer should be briefed on each occasion to appear for the prosecution.15

1.16 Brigadier McDade disagreed with the recommendation and her response to the proposed recommendation was that, given her statutory independence, the question of whether she prosecutes is her decision. She explained:

The DFDA provides me with the legislative authority to prosecute by virtue o f section 188GB.

I have carefully selected the m atters that I have personally prosecuted. From the tim e o f my appointm ent I have prosecuted six matters and

appeared in the DFDAT on nine occasions.

It was pleasing that this recom m endation was not accepted by Defence. I will continue to prosecute and appear in the D F D A T ...T he role o f DM P is not solely adm inistrative.16

1.17 The DMP concluded her remarks on the subject by stating that she firmly believed that a DMP who does not prosecute cannot properly discharge his or her statutory function.17

ODMP caseload

1.18 Brigadier McDade noted that during the reporting period all legal officers at ODMP either already held, or obtained soon after their posting, an ACT practising certificate.18 She also provided the following caseload data for the reporting period:

• From 1 January to 26 August 2009, five jury trials, nine judge alone trials, and nineteen sentencing hearings were conducted at various locations in Australia.

• Post Lane v Morrison, ten Defence Force Magistrate hearings were held, one Restricted Court Martial and five General Court Martials.

15 Director o f Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 12.

16 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, pp. 12-13.

17 Director o f Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 13.

18 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 3.

108

Chapter 1— Annual reports o f statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies 9

• Sixty nine matters were not proceeded with due to the determination that there was no reasonable prospect of success, or that to prosecute would not have enhanced or enforced discipline.

• Forty five matters were referred back for summary disposal.

• Eleven matters were referred to civilian Directors of Public Prosecution for prosecution pursuant to the extant memorandum.

• As at 31 December 2009, the ODMP had ninety open matters.19 2 0 2 1

Significant cases

1.19 The DMP's report cited a number of significant cases heard during the reporting period; in particular Lane v Morrison, and, Flynn v Chief o f Army. These cases provide a valuable insight into matters coming before the military courts and hopefully will go some way to educating members of the ADF about their military

discipline system."0

The command discipline system

1.20 The DMP observed that much of the reported offending involved assaults resulting in serious injury. She noted that such an offence is 'manifestly injurious to service discipline and therefore appropriately referred to a court martial for hearing'. She noted that in light of the High Court decision in respect of the Australian Military Court, it was 'essential that rigorous consideration be given to the choice of appropriate forum and that administrative convenience be but one factor to consider, rather than the determinative consideration'." She explained:

The com m and-based discipline system has worked well since its

resumption. It is a fully deployable system, and less likely post the

decisions in White and Lane to be subject to further successful legal

challenge. It is and has been a fair and impartial system that has in my view been unfairly criticised because o f its association with other areas o f 'military justice', in particular adverse administrative procedures and

Redresses o f Grievance (ROG). In my view there w as nothing

fundamentally w rong with the command-based discipline system before the AM C stood up, and there is nothing fundamentally wrong with it now .22

1.21 According to the DMP’s report the misuse of the Defence Travel Card, which made up 25 per cent of briefs of evidence in the previous reporting period, had declined to only 7.5 per cent. She welcomed a recent amendment to the Defence Force

19 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, pp. 5-6.

20 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, pp. 6-12.

21 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 11.

22 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, pp. 11-12.

109

10 Chapter 1— Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies

Regulations that would permit Summary Authority trial of this type of misuse where circumstances do not warrant a trial by Court Martial or Defence Force Magistrate.2'

Recommendations and considerations

1.22 In her report, the DMP highlighted a number matters for consideration:

• providing for the prosecution's right of appeal against sentence which would enable the DMP to challenge 'manifestly inadequate punishments';2 3 24

• having an explicit provision in section 70 DFDA to permit the circumstances of a victim to be considered by a service tribunal. In her view this 'would eminently serve to enhance the discipline of the ADF, both by permitting a service tribunal to have a more complete picture of the effect of the offending and by affording a victim the opportunity to be heard'.25

• adopting the practice of appointing senior officers to be Presidents of Courts Martial as their final posting. In her view such a model would permit the development of experience and expertise in Courts Martial which is not otherwise likely, and reduce the disruption to the 'cadre of senior officers currently called upon on an ad hoc basis to serve as President'.26

• including aggravated assault provisions in the DFDA so that the criminal responsibility for aggravated assault and common assault are uniform;27 and

• including global punishments in the DFDA which would enable 'a court to properly sentence a convicted person found guilty of having committed "overlapping" offences—that is, offences that have common elements'. Such a provision would also permit 'the imposition of a total sentence for a related course of offending, without requiring recourse to the reduction of individual punishments or orders for partial or total concurrency’.28

Conclusion

1.23 In conclusion, Brigadier McDade stated that:

In my previous report, I indicated that ODM P had undergone a period o f grow th and consolidation. M y previous report also expressed confidence that greater openness, transparency and independence in the m ilitary discipline system and the prosecution process would serve to enhance

Service discipline.

23 Director o f Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 13.

24 Director o f Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 14.

25 Director o f Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 15.

26 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, pp. 15-16.

27 Director o f Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, pp. 16-17.

28 Director o f Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, pp. 17-18.

110

Chapter 1—Annual reports o f statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies 11

I remain hopeful that the Governm ent will settle on a constitutionally sound system o f m ilitary discipline that is able to meet the dem ands o f future m ilitary operations and the expectations o f the Australian and international com m unities...it is my view that the com m and-based system currently

operating adequately meets the A ustralia Defence Force's discipline needs.29 3 0 3 1 3 2 3 3 3 4

1.24 The report clearly describes the operation and financial position of the Office of the DMP (ODMP) for the reporting period. The office was adequately funded during the reporting period and complied with Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA A ct)/0

ASC Pty Ltd

1.25 The ASC Pty Ltd Annual Report 2009 was received on 17 December 2009 and tabled in the Senate on 2 February 2010.

1.26 The ASC Pty Ltd (formerly known as Australian Submarine Corporation), was established in 1985. It is a designer, builder and maintainer of the Royal Australian Navy's submarines and surface ships. It is responsible for the design and build of the Collins Class submarines/1

1.27 It is a non-statutory, proprietary company limited by shares registered under the Corporations Act and is subject to the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act). All the shares issued in the capital of ASC are owned by the Minister for Finance and Deregulation. In accordance with its constitution, ASC is

subject to direction by the minister/2 On 11 June 2004, ASC was proclaimed as a government business enterprise under the CAC A ct/3

1.28 In his chairman's report, the incoming Chairman, Vice Admiral Chris Ritchie, AO, stated that 'ASC has begun to chart a new course in its twenty-fourth year':

While our submarine and shipbuilding businesses remain at the forefront o f Australia's naval defence industry, we recognise that there is m uch we can do to improve and help our customers achieve their goals. '4

1.29 He noted the Commonwealth Government's February 2009 announcement that it had decided to defer the privatisation of ASC. In his view, this decision has created a clearer framework for ASC to operate within for the foreseeable future. The Chairman stated:

29 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 19.

30 Director of Military Prosecutions, Annual Report 2009, p. 19.

31 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 2.

32 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 11.

33 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 11.

34 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 4.

111

12 Chapter 1—Annual reports o f statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies

While we will always strive to provide the best financial return to our shareholder, the Government's decision now allows us to devote our full attention to working with our customers, Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Thus our energies are now focussed on delivering the best outcomes for our customers with a particular initial emphasis on improvement in the activities associated with Collins Class submarine through-life support (TLS) program.35

1.30 The Chairman concluded his remarks by stating that as a first step in this direction, a restructure of the company, commencing in June 2009, means that ASC will be better able to deliver value for money/6

1.31 In his Director's report, Mr Graeme Bulmer, reported on ASC’s two main activities—the Collins Class submarines and the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) Program/7 3 8

Collins Class submarine

1.32 ASC carries out maintenance, upgrade, design and engineering activities for the Collins Class submarine under a multi-billion Through-life Support agreement with Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO)j8. This contract is due to expire in 2018, subject to exercise of options for two further five-year periods.39

1.33 According to the report, during 2008-2009 ASC commenced 12 maintenance activities of which eight were completed during the year. Activities undertaken from ASC’s Western Australian facility, ASC West, were:

• one mid-cycle docking

• one intermediate maintenance availability; and

• personnel support for five self-maintenance periods conducted in Western Australia and Hawaii.40

1.34 Activities conducted at ASC’s South Australian submarine facility, ASC Osborne, consisted of:

• two full-cycle dockings;

• one mid-cycle docking;

• one full-cycle docking preparation and lay-up period; and

35 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 4.

36 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 4.

37 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 15.

38 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 6.

39 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 15.

40 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 7.

Chapter 1—Annual reports of statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies 13

• one self-maintenance period,41

Air Warfare Destroyer

1.35 ASC entered into an alliance based contract in October 2007 for the design and construction of three Hobart Class air warfare destroyers (AWDs).42 4 3 They are to be built at Osborne South Australia. According to the annual report their construction 'will be one of the most significant shipbuilding projects ever undertaken in A ustralia'.T he report noted that key milestones have been completed according to plan, most notably the integrated Baseline Review in July 2008 and the Preliminary

Design Review in December 2008.44 It stated further:

Procurem ent o f m ajor Com bat System and Platform equipm ent is well in hand, and preparations are advanced for the com m encem ent o f ship construction activities during calendar year 2009. Shipyard developm ent is proceeding to plan, the Adm inistration Building has been com pleted and

occupied, and com pletion o f the remainder is scheduled before the end o f N ovem ber 2009.45

1.36 In conclusion, the committee notes that ASC continues to record sound financial results:

...recording a profit for 2009 o f $18.4 million, compared to last year's figure o f $29.7 million. Our consolidated revenue was $352 m illion (2008: $325 million) and our dividend was $11.1 m illion (2008: $17.9 m illion).46

1.37 ASC Pty Ltd has presented a comprehensive and informative report. The committee finds that it adequately complies with all reporting requirements for a non- statutory company.

Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal

1.38 The Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal Twenty-fourth Report 2008-2009 was received on 22 December 2009 and tabled in the Senate on 2 February 2010. The Tribunal was established in 1984 under section 58H of the Defence Act 1903.

1.39 The functions of the Tribunal under the act are 'to inquire into and determine the salaries and relevant allowances to be paid to members of the Australian Defence

41 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 7.

42 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 16.

43 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 8.

44 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 16.

45 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 16.

46 ASC Pty Ltd, Annual Report 2009, p. 4.

Force, and, to inquire into and make determinations in respect of prescribed matters that have been referred to the Tribunal'.47

1.40 The Tribunal consists of three members appointed by the Governor-General. In accordance with the relevant legislation, the President is a presidential member of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. The other members are to include a person who is experienced in industrial relations matters and a person who has been a

member of the ADF.48

1.41 During 2008-2009, the Tribunal continued with the review of the ADF salary structure, noting that:

The Tribunal has com pleted a fundamental review o f the Other Ranks salary structure resulting in a contem porary placem ent for the Other Ranks em ploym ent categories.

The work o f the Tribunal over the last year has been com plex and intense. It is the diligence and high standard o f presentations by the ADF and the C om m onw ealth which has assisted the Tribunal and has allowed all matters to be dealt with in a tim ely fashion.49

1.42 In its report, the Tribunal provided a thorough account of all 'matters considered' during the reporting year. It disclosed information on the outcomes of each review and on the negotiating process that occurred between the parties involved. The Tribunal also described the various inspections and visits which were conducted as part of their decision-making process.50

1.43 The Tribunal has again presented a report that is well structured and provides clear and concise information in an easy-to-use format. The committee finds that this report adequately complies with all reporting requirements for statutory bodies.

14 Chapter 1— Annual reports o f statutory and non-statutory authorities and government companies

Senator Mark Bishop

Chair

47 Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, Twenty-fourth Report, 2008-2009, p. 1.

48 Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, Twenty-fourth Report, 2008-2009, p. 2.

49 Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, Twenty-fourth Report, 2008-2009, p. 4.

50 Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal, Twenty-fourth Report, 2008-2009, pp. 5-21.

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 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

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

Non-statutory authorities and government companies

ASC Pty Ltd, formerly known as Australian Submarine Corporation Pty Limited

Appendix 1

16 Appendix 1—Annual reports referred to the Committee

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

TV on-statutory authorities ami government companies

Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID)

116

Appendix 2

Compliance table of the annual reports referred to the committee for scrutiny for the period 2008-2009

Scrutiny o f reports tabled after 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 a n d

tim e lin e s s

D a te on le tte r

o f t r a n s m i t t a l

@ D a te r e p o r t

s u b m itte d to

m in is te r ( if

k n o w n ) % D a te r e p o r t

r e c e iv e d b y m in is te r ( if

k n o w n )

* D a te r e p o r t

p r e s e n te d to

P r e s id e n t

# D a te ta b le d in

th e S e n a te

Λ D a te ta b le d in

H /R e p re s e n ta tiv e s

D e fe n c e — sta tu to ry a u th o ritie s

D irector o f Military Prosecutions Defence Force Discipline Act 1982,

section 196B. As soon as practicable after 31 December each year.

05 M ay 10 # 2 2 Jun 10

Defence Force Remuneration T ribunal

Established in 1984 under Part IIIA, Division 2 o f the Defence Act 1903 (by 31 Oct).

30 O ct 09 * 22 Dec 09

# 0 2 Feb 10

D efen ce— g o v e r n m e n t c o m p a n y

lASC Pty Ltd ASC Pty Ltd is a

proprietary company limited by shares registered under the Corporations Act and is

subject to the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.

02 O ct 09 * 17 Dec 09

# 0 2 Feb 10

118

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 Service 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 annual 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 annual 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 Service Act 1999) that is neither prescribed under

Appendix 3

1 Excerpt from the Requirements fo r annual reports fo r departments, executive agencies and FM A A ct bodies, Departm ent o f Prime M inister and Cabinet, 17 June 2009, pp. 1 and 2.

119

20 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.

120

Appendix 3—Reporting requirements and guidelines 21

• 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 of 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.

22 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.

The Senate

Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010)

November 2010

© Commonwealth of Australia

ISBN: 978-1-74229-377-6

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

124

MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE Members Senator Patricia Crossin, Chair, ALP, NT

Senator Guy Barnett, Deputy Chair, LP, TAS

Senator Mark Turner, ALP, QLD

Senator Scott Ludlam, AG, WA

Senator Stephen Parry, LP, TAS

Senator Louise Pratt, ALP, WA

Secretariat Ms Julie Dennett

Ms Margaret Cahill

Ms Kate Middleton

Secretary

Research Officer

Administrative Officer

Suite S1.61 Telephone: (02) 6277 3560

Parliament House Fax: (02) 6277 5794

CANBERRA ACT 2600 Email: legcon.sen@aph.gov.au

iii 125

126

I

TABLE OF CONTENTS

MEMBERS OF THE COM M ITTEE.................................................................. iii

PREFACE..................................................................................................................vii

Terms of reference................................................................................................ vii

Role of annual reports.........................................................................................viii

Annual reporting requirements............................................................................viii

'Apparently satisfactory'......................................................................................viii

Timeliness.............................................................................................................. ix

CHAPTER 1 ................................................................................................................ 1

ANNUAL REPORTS OF STATUTORY AUTHORITIES................................. 1

Attorney-General's Portfolio...................................................................................1

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service...............................................2

Australian Human Rights Commission.................................................................. 3

Family Law Council............................................................................................... 4

High Court of Australia.......................................................................................... 5

Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.............................. 7

CHAPTER 2 ................................................................................................................ 9

REPORTS ON THE OPERATION OF ACTS AND PROGRAMS....................9

Protection visa processing taking more than 90 days and refugee reviews taking more than 90 days................................................................................................... 9

APPENDIX 1 ............................................................................................................. 13

ANNUAL REPORTS REFERRED...................................................................... 13

Annual reports referred by the Senate to the committee during the period 1 November 2009 and 30 April 2010................................................................... 13

List of reports on the operation of acts................................................................. 14

127

128

PREFACE

Terms of reference

On 29 September 2010, 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.

vii 129

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.

Annual reporting requirements

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 Requirements for Annual Reports) 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 3

Orders made by the Minister under section 48 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act) set out guidelines for the annual reports of Commonwealth authorities. The content of annual reports of Commonwealth companies is based on the reporting requirements under the Corporations Act 2001, in accordance with section 36 of the CAC Act.

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/

'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.

The reports examined by the committee in this report were found to be of a satisfactory standard, adequately describing the functions, activities and financial

1 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports, 23 June 2010, Part 1, Section 4.

2 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.

viii 130

positions of the departments and agencies. The committee finds all submitted annual reports to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

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 Requirements for Annual Reports published in 2009 state that:

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.4

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.5

The committee is pleased to note that the most recent guidelines (issued June 2010) have been amended to include the following advice in addition to that set out above:

If Senate Estimates is scheduled to occur prior to 31 October, it is best practice for annual reports to be tabled prior to those hearings.6

The amendment reflects the fact that supplementary budget estimates hearings are now generally held in late October rather than November as was previously the case.

Some Senators experienced frustration at the hearings for the supplementary budget estimates round on 19 and 20 October 2009 in relation to the lack of availability of departmental and agency annual reports:

Senator BARNETT—Mr Wilkins, we have heard from a range of agencies this morning regarding annual reports that were forwarded to the department as long ago as early September, in one instance. It is now 19 October and here we are at estimates without any annual reports from

Attorney-General's or its agencies. In our annual committee report on the annual reports we strongly encouraged agencies of the department to table annual reports before Senate estimates. No doubt you have read that annual report of the legal and constitutional affairs committee. Is there a particular reason why these reports have not been tabled and made available to our committee prior to these estimates?

Mr Wilkins—There is no reason of that sort. I take my obligation to be to comply with the law, and the law says it needs to be in by the 31st, as I understand, and that is what we are working towards.7

4 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports, 17 June 2009, Part 1, Section 4.

5 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports, 17 June 2009, Part 1, Section 4.

6 Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports, 23 June 2010, Part 1, Section 4.

7 Committee Hansard, 19 October 2009, p. 103.

ix

131

Mr Wilkins—...I take my portfolio responsibilities seriously. The key issue for us is making sure that they are tabled within the statutory time, and you will probably find that is a general view of secretaries. As I said to

you, if you have a report that says something different, maybe it is a good idea to actually flag that in the law.

Senator BARNETT—...Together with other committee members, I take my position on the committee seriously, and that is why in our annual report on annual reports we strongly encourage them to be tabled as soon as possible so that we can consider them before estimates. Please bear in mind the views of our committee.

Mr Wilkins—I have taken that on board.

Senator BARNETT—Thank you.8

The revised Requirements for Annual Reports issued on 23 June 2010 will apply to annual reports for the financial year ending on 30 June 2010. The committee encourages departments and agencies to prepare, and ministers to table, annual reports as soon as possible so that they can be considered during the committee's examination of supplementary budget estimates.

Subsection 9(1) of the CAC Act requires the director of a Commonwealth authority to:

(a) prepare an annual report in accordance with Schedule 1 for each financial year; and (b) give it to the responsible Minister by the deadline for the financial year for presentation to the Parliament.

(2) The deadline is: (a) the 15th day of the 4th month after the end of the financial year; or (b) the end of such further period granted under subsection 34C(5) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

Under section 36 of the CAC Act:

(1) A Commonwealth company must give the responsible Minister: (a) a copy of the company's financial report, directors' report and auditor's report that the company is required by the Corporations Act 2001 to have for the financial year (or would be required by that Act to have if the company were a public company); and (b) any additional report under subsection (2); and (c) in the case of a wholly-owned Commonwealth company— any additional information or report required by the Finance Minister's Orders.

(1A) The Commonwealth company must give the reports and information by: .

8 Committee Hansard, 19 October 2009, p. 104.

x

132

(a) if the company is required by the Corporations A ct 2001 to hold an annual general m eeting— the earlier o f the following:

(i) 21 days before the next annual general m eeting after the end o f the financial year; (ii) 4 months after the end o f the financial year; and (b) in any other case— 4 m onths after the end o f the financial year; or the end o f such further period granted under subsection 34C(5) o f the Acts

Interpretation A ct 1901.

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) between 1 November 2009 and 30 April 2010, and which have been referred to the committee for examination, can be found at Appendix 1,9

A number of annual reports for 2008-09 referred to the committee were tabled in the Senate after 31 October 2009. The committee notes that, among these reports, the following prescribed agencies under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) tabled their reports in the Senate after 31 October 2009:

• Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity;

• Australian Crime Commission;

• Australian Customs and Border Protection Service;

• Australian Human Rights Commission; and

• Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

However, the committee also acknowledges that the annual reports of all of the agencies above, except for the Australian Crime Commission, were tabled in the House of Representatives on 29 October 2009.

9 This table also includes the reports on the operation of acts or programs.

xi 133

134

ANNUAL REPORTS OF STATUTORY AUTHORITIES

CH APTER 1

1.1 The reports of the following statutory authorities for the financial year 2008-09 were referred to the committee for examination and report:

Attorney-General's Portfolio

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner—Native title report for 2009

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner—Social justice report for 2009

• Audio-Visual Copyright Society Limited (Screenrights)

• Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity

• Australian Crime Commission

• Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

• Australian Human Rights Commission

• Copyright Agency Limited

• Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

• Family Law Council

• High Court of Australia

1.2 As in previous reports of the committee, it has decided to select a small number of annual reports for closer examination. On this occasion, the reports of the following agencies will be examined:

• Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

• Australian Human Rights Commission

• Family Law Council

• High Court of Australia

• Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

1.3 The committee has determined to consider, but not to report on, the annual reports of the Australian Crime Commission and Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, as other parliamentary committees (the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Crime Commission and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity respectively) have specific responsibility for overseeing these agencies.

Page 2

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

1.4 The report of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service was tabled in the Senate on 17 November 2009 and in the House of Representatives on 29 October 2009.

1.5 The committee was impressed with the report's detailed description of performance and activities for 2008-09. Results were presented against targets for key performance indicators were listed in the Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS). This section also presented trend information for a range of activities undertaken by the agency.

1.6 The committee was pleased to see the inclusion of'improvement priorities for 2009-10' for each output group and will monitor progress on these in future annual reports presented by Customs.

1.7 The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) outlined performance highlights for the year under review. Among the range of items listed were impressive results in regard to the processing of 24.33 million international air and sea passengers with 97.4 per cent of incoming air passengers processed within 30 minutes of joining the inwards queue. This was only slightly lower than last year's result but exceeded the target of 95 per cent.1 The agency achieved a traveller satisfaction rating of 98 per cent which was slightly higher than last year's result of 97 per cent.1 2

1.8 The CEO also highlighted the refinement of strategies to improve performance, citing the example of the development of the refined cargo intervention strategy which was introduced on 1 July 2009 and takes a risk-based approach.3 The committee examined the development of this strategy during hearings on the budget estimates 2009-104 5 and will look to next year's report for an assessment of its

implementation.

1.9 In the agency's overview of financial performance for 2008-09, it reported an operating deficit of $11.8 million for the 2008-09 financial year. In his review, the CEO advised that the ongoing financial sustainability of the agency was strong and that the deficit was:

...principally the result o f adjustm ents flowing from a num ber o f m ajor reviews conducted during the year o f our balance sheet position. The adjustm ents were non-cash based and largely one-off in nature.3

1 Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Annual Report 2008-09, p. 18.

2 Australian Customs and Border Protection Sen’ice Annual Report 2008-09, p. 4.

3 Australian Customs and Border Protection Sendee Annual Report 2008-09, p. 5.

4 Committee Hansard, 26 May 2009, pp 80-83.

5 Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Annual Report 2008-09, p. 6.

136

1.10 The report is well presented and closely follows the Requirements for Annual Reports. Accordingly, the committee considers it to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

Australian Human Rights Commission

1.11 The Commission's annual report was tabled in the Senate on

17 November 2009 and in the House of Representatives on 29 October 2009.

1.12 The Commission has again produced an informative report with a high standard of presentation. The agency has five key performance indicators (KPI) for Output 1 listed in the PBS and appears to have exceeded four targets for 2008-09. Three of these KPI relate to the Complaint Handling Section and results were presented against the set targets.6

1.13 Another KPI related to the extent of contact the Commission has with government, community and industry groups. The 2008-09 target was to ensure that more than 70,000 publications are distributed to these groups Australia-wide per annum and to aim for more than 4 million pages view (35 million website hits).7

1.14 The report noted that:

In 2008-09, a total o f 75,021 publications were sent out to 4868 requests. This is an increase in the num ber o f publications distributed in 2007-08.8

During 2008-09, the site received approximately 18,460, 234 page views on the server. This equates to approximately 93,769,855 hits on the site in total and 3,300,132 unique visits.9

1.15 Unfortunately, these impressive results appear not to be linked back to the 2008-09 performance targets as set out in the Portfolio Budget Statements; however, the Committee notes that the Commission appears to have significantly exceeded the set targets.

1.16 While pleased with the report's overall adherence to the Requirements for Annual Reports, the committee would have preferred to see the inclusion of a discussion of the Commission's financial performance for the year. Given the agency's tight budgetary situation,10 a discussion which addresses any significant changes in

financial results from the previous year or from the budgeted financial statements would be a useful inclusion. The committee notes that the Commission's income

_______________________________________________________________________________ Page 3

6 Australian Human Rights Commission Annual Report 2008-09, p. 44.

7 Portfolio Budget Statements 2008-09, Attorney-General's Portfolio, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, p. 292.

8 Australian Human Rights Commission Annual Report 2008-09, p. 18.

9 Australian Human Rights Commission Annual Report 2008-09, p. 22.

10 Australian Human Rights Commission Annual Report 2008-09, p. xi.

137

Page 4

statement for the period ended 30 June 2009 indicates a deficit result for the last two financial years.11

1.17 The committee considers the Commission's report to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

Family Law Council

1.18 The Council is a statutory authority established under section 115 of the Family Law Act 1975 which commenced operation in November 1976. The Council advises and makes recommendations to the Attorney-General in relation to :

• the operation of the Family Law Act and in relation to other family law legislation;

• legal aid as it applies to family law; and

• any other matters relating to family law.

1.19 The Council may provide advice and recommendations either of its own motion or at the request of the Attorney-General.1 1 12 1 3

1.20 The Council is resourced by the Attorney-General's Department, with a secretariat based in the Family Law Branch, and its expenditure forming part of the Department's financial statement.

1.21 The annual report of the Family Law Council was tabled in the Senate on 2 February 2010, having been presented to the President out of session on 18 December 2009. The report was also tabled in the House of Representatives on 2 February 2010. The report is prepared in accordance with subsection 115(9) of the Family Law Act which requires the Council to:

As soon as practicable after 30 June in each year, prepare and furnish to the A ttorney-General a report o f the operations o f the Council during the year that ended on that 30 June.

The Attorney-General shall cause a copy o f a report furnished under subsection (9) to be laid before each House o f the Parliam ent within 15 sitting days o f that House after the receipt o f the report by the A ttorney- General.

1.22 The committee notes that, while the Council appears to have met its tabling requirements, this year's report was tabled considerably later than other recent reports of the Council.1"'

11 Australian Human Rights Commission Annual Report 2008-09, p. 201.

12 Section 3, Family Law Act 1975.

13 See for example Senate tabling dates for annual reports for the following years: 2006-07, tabled 7 November 2006; 2007-08, presented 31 October 2008.

138

Page 5

1.23 The report provides a good account of the activities of the Council during the year. Appendix C of the report provides some information required under the Requirements for Annual Reports.

1.24 In line with its statutory functions under subsection 115(3) of the Family Law Act, the Council provided four letters of advice to the Attorney-General on matters relating to family law. Areas of advice for 2008-09 included arbitration, kinship carers for indigenous children, binding financial agreements, and mental health in the family

law system.14

1.25 As well as a description of activities for the year under review, the Council's annual report also forms an ongoing account of the work of the Council. The report includes statistics of the implementation of Council recommendations and a list of all reports and papers published by the Council since 1976. While the committee would not encourage agencies to include excessive historical detail in their annual reports, it considers this inclusion appropriate in the Council's case given the modest size of the report.

1.26 The Council (three non-judicial members) also provided a submission in response to the consultation paper Improving Access to Justice: A better Framework for the Family Courts (the Semple Report).15

1.27 The Committee considers the annual report of the Family Law Council to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

High Court of Australia

1.28 The High Court of Australia's annual report for 2008-09 is submitted in accordance with section 47 of the High Court o f Australia Act 1979. The Court is not a prescribed agency under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, due to its status under its enabling legislation.16 Therefore, the Requirements for Annual Reports do not apply to the annual report of the Court. However, subsection 3(3) of the Requirements for Annual Reports provides:

In the case o f an agency (including an executive agency established under section 65 o f the Public Service Act 1999) that is neither prescribed under the FMA Act nor comes within the 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).17

14 Family Law Council Annual Report 2008-09, pp 11-12.

15 Family Law Council Annual Report 2008-09, p. 12.

16 See Chart o f 104 Agencies under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997, Department of Finance and Deregulation, 27 July 2010.

17 Requirements for annual reports fo r departments, executive agencies and FMA Act bodies, June 2009.

139

Page 6

1.29 The Court's report provides a clear and concise account of the year in review, including detailed statistics for judicial workload.

1.30 Statistics relating to the judicial business of the Court during the year under review were provided. It was noted that during this period the Court delivered judgements in 60 appeals and in five other matters, and decided 569 Special Leave Applications. It was further noted that 95 per cent of the applications for leave or

special leave to appeal and 92 per cent of the appeals decided during this period were completed within nine months of filing. This compared favourably with the figures of 86 per cent and 80 per cent respectively for the previous year.18 While the inclusion of statistics on timeliness is useful, the committee considers that an assessment against target timeframes would enhance the report.

1.31 The report was tabled in both the Senate and the House of Representatives on 2 February 2010 and was received by the President of the Senate out of session on 11 December 2009. Despite being tabled well after 31 October 2009, the Court has satisfied its reporting requirements in accordance with its enabling legislation. Nevertheless, the committee encourages agencies not subject to the Requirements for Annual Reports to table their reports as close as possible to the 31 October timeframe,

in accordance with Government policy. The committee further notes, however, that the tabling time of this year's report is an improvement on the Court's tabling of annual reports in recent years.19 The committee considers that timeliness in annual reporting is an important element of accountability.

1.32 The report notes the changes to the composition of the Court during 2008-09: the appointment of Chief Justice Robert French and Justice Virginia Bell, and the retirement of Chief Justice Murray Gleeson and Justice Michael Kirby.20 2 1

1.33 The Court's budget and resourcing levels have been the subject of some attention in recent years and have been raised at estimates hearings of this committee."1 The committee notes that the court continued to operate at a deficit and reported an operating loss of $1,493,850 in 2008-09.22 2 3 The annual report also

indicates that the Court had obtained approval for a further operating loss in 2009-10 and that increasing operating losses were likely in the f u t u r e . Th e Chief Justice advised in his overview that the Court had '[ajpproached the Government during the

18 High Court o f Australia Annual Report 2008-09, p. 40.

19 The Court's annual report has been tabled on the following dates: 05/06, tabled 6/2/2007; 06/07, tabled 11/3/2008; 07/08, presented 16/12/2008 and tabled 3/2/2009.

20 High Court o f Australia Annual Report 2008-09, pp 18-20.

21 See, for example, Committee Hansard, 27 May 2009, pp 17-18.

22 High Court o f Australia Annual Report 2008-09, p. 20.

23 High Court o f Australia Annual Report 2008-09, p. 20.

140

year with a view to seeking rebasing of its funding and a separate Appropriation Act'.24

1.34 The Chief Justice provided an update on the maintenance and repair work to the High Court building and surrounds which was undertaken during 2008-09. This included repair of leaks within the building and the restarting of the fountain. He further noted, however, that the fountain and parts of the forecourt still require remediation work.25 The committee has examined this matter in some detail at recent estimates hearings26 and will continue to monitor the Court's progress in completing this work.

1.35 The committee considers the report of the High Court to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

Office of the Commonwealth Director o f Public Prosecutions

1.36 The annual report of the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions was tabled in the Senate on 17 November 2009 and in the House of Representatives on 29 October 2009.

1.37 The report noted the Office's 25th anniversary which was celebrated in March 2009.

1.38 The Director highlighted the release in March 2009 of the revised Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth during the year. The policy:

.. .provides guidelines for the making o f decisions regarding the prosecution process and serves two main purposes, namely to promote consistency in decision making, and to inform the public o f the principles upon which the CDPP performs its statutory functions.27

1.39 The Director also explained that the revised prosecution policy is a refinement of the previous policy, with the introduction of new sections on victims and prosecution disclosure. However, the fundamental principles underlying the prosecution policy, including the test for commencement of prosecution, have not changed.28

Page 7

24 High Court o f Australia Annual Report 2008-09, p. 12.

25 High Court o f Australia Annual Report 2008-09, p. 12.

26 See Committee Hansard 23 February 2009, pp 190-195; 27 May 2009, pp 16-27; 8 February 2010 pp 40-44; and 24 May 2010, p. 71.

27 Commonwealth Director o f Public Prosecutions Annual Report 2008-09, p. ix.

28 Commonwealth Director o f Public Prosecutions Annual Report 2008-09, p. 5.

Page 8

1.40 The Director noted in his Overview the release of the Victims of Crime Policy which has been developed in response to the changing nature of the Office's legal practice and the increasing number of offences involving individual victims.29 3 0

1.41 Both of these policies are included as appendices to the report.

1.42 Performance information was clearly presented against key performance indicators as listed in the Portfolio Budget Statements. The inclusion of results for the previous financial year provides a useful reference. The Office exceeded all performance targets for 2008-09."'°

1.43 The committee congratulates the Office on presenting a report that is informative, attractively presented and which closely adheres to the Requirements for Annual Reports. The committee considers the annual report to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

29 Commonwealth Director o f Public Prosecutions Annual Report 2008-09, p. x.

30 Commonwealth Director o f Public Prosecutions Annual Report 2008-09, p. 104.

C H A PTER 2

REPORTS ON THE OPERATION OF ACTS AND PROGRAMS

2.1 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 which are submitted in

accordance with the Migration Act 1958 (Migration Act):

« Report pursuant to Section 91Y of the Migration Act on Protection Visa Processing Taking More Than 90 days for the period 1 July to 31 October 2009 (published by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC));

• 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 July to 31 October 2009 (published by the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT)).

Protection visa processing taking more than 90 days and refugee reviews taking more than 90 days

2.2 Section 65A of the Migration Act 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, the Secretary of DIAC is required, under section 91Y of the Migration Act, to report on protection visa applications for which

decision making has taken over 90 days. Similarly, section 440A requires the RRT to report on reviews not completed within 90 days.

2.3 DIAC and the RRT are required to report every four months, with the latest reports reviewed by the committee covering the period 1 July 2009 to 31 October 2009. " ’

2.4 The committee monitors these periodic reports to the Minister, which are tabled in the Parliament, and considers the timeliness of both decisions on protection visa applications and RRT reviews as, not only beneficial to the applicant, but also a

demonstration of the agencies' commitment to improving efficiency. These reports ensure that the processes within the department and tribunal are open and accountable.

Page 10

Protection visa processing taking more than 90 days

2.5 The table below compares protection visa processing by DIAC taking more than 90 days for the three previous reporting periods:

1 November 2008 1 March 2009 to 1 July 2009 to 31 to 28 February 2009 30 June 2009 October 2009

Total number undecided outside of 90 day period

324 480 524

Total number decided outside of 90 day period

409 488 582

Total number processed outside of 90 day period

733 968 1106

Percentage of total applications processed outside of 90 day period

21% 25% 25%

2.6 The committee was pleased to note that the number of delays attributable to departmental processing delays has fallen since the previous report. The current report identified 308 delays in this category compared to 342 in the previous report.1

2.7 The report advised that most of the applications not decided within 90 days due to factors within DIAC's control had sound reasons for deferral. For example, they included:

...applications requiring DIAC exploration o f complex character issues w hich might warrant visa refusal, and application where it is prudent to aw ait the outcome o f serious criminal charges.1 2

1 Protection Visa Processing Taking More Than 90 Days fo r the report period 1 July 2009 to 31 October 2009, Letter of transmittal, p. 2.

2 Protection Visa Processing Taking More Than 90 Days fo r the report period 1 July 2009 to 31 October 2009, Letter of transmittal, p. 2.

144

Page 11

2.8 The committee will continue to monitor these reports and hopes to see a decrease in delays and a larger percentage of applications processed within the 90 day processing timeframe.

Refugee Review Tribunal reviews not completed within 90 days

2.9 This table outlines the number of RRT reviews not completed within 90 days for the previous three reporting periods:

1 November 2008 - 28 February 2009

1 March 2009 to 30 June 2009 1 July 2009 to

31 October 2009

Reviews completed outside of 90 days 197 (25%) 287 (31%) 247 (36%)

Reviews completed within 90 days 601 (75%) 634 (69%) 448 (64%)

Total 798 921 695

2.10 The committee notes the increasing percentage of reviews being completed outside of 90 days. The committee further notes that the reasons for reviews not being completed within the 90-day timeframe can include factors outside the RRT's control (such as matters relating to the applicant or the legal adviser or matters which relate to third parties)/

Senator Trish Crossin Committee Chair 3

3 Report Pursuant to Section 440A o f the Migration Act on the Conduct o f Refugee Review Tribunal Reviews Not Completed Within 90 Days fo r the Period l July 2009 to 31 October 2009, Letter of Transmittal.

145

<

146

APPENDIX 1

ANNUAL REPORTS REFERRED

Annual reports referred by the Senate to the committee during the period 1 November 2009 and 30 April 2010

Department/authority Date

submitted to Minister (if known)

Date

received by Minister (if known)

Date tabled in Senate (Received in Senate out of

session)

Attorney-General's Portfolio

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner—Native title report for 2009

2/2/2010 (20/1/2010)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner—Social justice report for 2009

2/2/2010 (20/1/2010)

Audio-Visual Copyright Society Limited (Screenrights) - Report for 2008-09 2/12/2009 6/1/2010 3/2/2010

Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity - Report for 2008­ 09'

16/10/2009 21/10/2009 17/11/2009

Australian Crime Commission - Report for 2008-092 17/11/2009 17/11/2009 25/11/2009

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service - Report for 2008-09 7/10/2009 19/10/2009 17/11/2009

Australian Human Rights Commission - Report for 2008-09 21/10/2009 26/10/2009 17/11/2009

Also stands referred to the Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, under the Law Enforcement Integrity Commissioner Act 2006.

Also stands referred to the Joint Committee on the Australian Crime Commission, under the Australian Crime Commission Act 2002.

147

Page 14

Copyright Agency Limited - Report for 2008-09 6/1/2010 6/1/2010 3/2/2010

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions - Report for 2008-09 19/10/2009 20/10/2009 17/11/2009

Family Law Council - Report for 2008­ 09

2/2/2010 (18/12/2009)

High Court of Australia - Report for 2008-09

2/2/2010 (11/12/2009)

List of reports on the operation of acts

Act Date

submitted to Minister (if known)

Date

received by Minister (if known)

Date tabled in Senate (Received in Senate out of

session)

Attorney-General's Portfolio

Australian Federal Police A c t 1979— Report for 2008-09 on the Ombudsman's activities under Part V of the Act

2/2/2010 (18/12/2009)

Crimes A ct 1914—Ombudsman's report for 2008-09 on controlled operations [Monitoring controlled operations by Australian Crime Commission, Australian Federal Police and Australian Commission

for Law Enforcement Integrity]

18/11/2009

Crimes A c t 1914—Authorisations for the acquisition and use of assumed identities [Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity] - Report for 2008­ 09

2/11/2009 2/11/2009 2/2/2010

Crim inal Code A c t 1995—Preventative detention and control orders [Australian Federal Police] — Reports for 2008-09

27/10/2009 27/10/2009 24/11/2009

N ational Security Inform ation (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) A ct 2004—Non­ disclosure and witness exclusion certificates - Report for 2008-09

27/10/2009 27/10/2009 24/11/2009

148

Page 15

Surveillance Devices A c t 2004 - Report for 2008-09 on the operation of the Act 10/12/2009 10/12/2009 23/2/2010

Telecommunications (Interception) A ct 1979—Report for 2008-09 under Division 2 of Part IX - on the operation of the Act

10/12/2009 10/12/2009 23/2/2010

Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio - Migration Act 1958

Section 91Y — Department of Immigration and Citizenship—Protection visa processing taking more than 90 days -

Report for the period 1 July to 31 October 2009

15/12/2009 15/12/2009 16/3/2010

Section 440A - Department of Immigration and Citizenship—Refugee Review Tribunal reviews not completed within 90 days - Report for the period 1 July to 31 October 2009

15/12/2009 15/12/2009 16/3/2010

Section 4860—Ombudsman's report on appropriateness of detention arrangements Personal identifier: 574/09 to 580/10

24/2/2010 24/2/2010 10/3/2010

Section 4860—Government response to Ombudsman’s report on appropriateness of detention arrangements Personal identifier: 574/09 to 580/10

24/2/2010 24/2/2010 10/3/2010

Section 4860—Ombudsman’s report on appropriateness of detention arrangements Personal identifier: 568/09 to 573/09

12/11/2009 12/11/2009 18/11/2009

Section 4860—Government response to Ombudsman’s report on appropriateness of detention arrangements Personal identifier: 568/09 to 573/09

12/11/2009 12/11/2009 18/11/2009

149

150

The Senate

Rural Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee

Annual reports (No. 2 of 2010)

November 2010

© Commonwealth of Australia

ISBN 978-1-74229-378-3

This document was produced from camera-ready copy prepared by the Senate Rural Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, and printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Department of the Senate, Parliament House, Canberra.

Membership of the Committee

Members

Senator Glenn Sterle

Senator the Hon. Bill Heffeman

Senator Trish Crossin

Senator Steve Hutchins

Senator Fiona Nash

Senator Rachel Siewert

ALP, Western Australia

LP, New South Wales

ALP, Northern Territory

ALP, New South Wales

NPA, New South Wales

AG, Western Australia

Chair

Deputy Chair

Participating Members

Senator Abetz Senator Adams Senator Back Senator Barnett Senator Bernardi 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 Coonan Senator Cormann Senator Eggleston Senator Faulkner Senator Ferguson Senator Fielding Senator F ierravanti-W ells

Senator Fifield Senator Fisher Senator Forshaw Senator Fumer Senator Hanson- Young

Senator Humphries Senator Hurley Senator Johnston Senator Joyce Senator Kroger Senator Ludlam Senator Macdonald Senator McEwen Senator McGauran Senator McLucas Senator Marshall Senator Mason Senator Milne Senator Minch in Senator Moore Senator O'Brien

Senator Parry Senator Payne Senator Polley Senator Pratt Senator Ronaldson Senator Ryan Senator Scullion Senator Stephens Senator Troeth Senator Trood Senator Williams Senator Wortley Senator Xenophon

iii 153

Committee Secretariat

Ms Jeanette Radcliffe, Secretary Ms Jenene James, Research Officer Ms Cassimah Mackay, Research Officer

PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

phone: (02) 6277 3511 fax: (02) 6277 581 1 e-mail: rat.sen@aph.gov.au internet: www.aph.gov.au/senate rat

iv 154

Table of Contents

Membership of the Committee...................................................................... iii

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.............................................................................................. 5

Senate remarks on annual reports......................................................................... 10

Comment on significant matters........................................................................... 10

Chapter 2 ..........................................................................................................11

Annual reports of agencies............................................................................. 11

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio....................................................... 11

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio.................................................................................................................18

Appendix 1.... 21

List of annual reports referred to the committee during the period 1 November 2009 to 30 April 2010.............................................................................................. 21

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio.......................................................21

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio................................................................................................................ 24

-

vi 156

List of Abbreviations

AFMA Australian Fisheries Management Authority

AMS A Australian Maritime Safety Authority

ARTC Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd

ANAO Australian National Audit Office

CAC Act Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997

CAC Orders Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2005

CCRSPI Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries Program

CEO Chief Executive Officer

CROC Cotton Research and Development Corporation

DAFF Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

DCC Department of Climate Change

EPBC Act Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

FMA Act Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

FOI Act Freedom o f Information Act 1982

FRDC Fisheries Research and Development Corporation

CROC Grains Research and Development Corporation

GWRDC Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation

LWA Land and Water Australia

MCV Managing Climate Variability Program

OH&S Act Occupational Health & Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act 1991

vii 157

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

RD&E Research, development and extension

Requirements for Requirements fo r Annual Reports for Departments, Executive Annual Reports Agencies and FMA Act Bodies

RIRDC Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

SRDC Sugar Research and Development Corporation

Strategy Commonwealth Disability Strategy

viii 158

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 (from 14 September 2010, Infrastructure and Transport).

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

159

2

(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 of Operations) Orders 2008 (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 30 April each year by the tenth sitting day after 30 June of that year. This year, that date was originally 22 September 2010. Following the prorogation of parliament due to the Federal election, this date changed to 17 November 2010. The

1 Standing orders and other orders o f 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).

160

3

committee is also required to report on annual reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the following year.

1.6 This report considers annual reports which were tabled in the Senate or presented to the President of the Senate between 1 November 2009 and 30 April 2010. It includes annual reports submitted to the Minister before 31 October 2009, but tabled after that date and therefore not considered as part of the committee's report Annual reports (No. 1 o f 2010).

1.7 The committee examined thirteen annual reports of agencies within the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio and two annual reports of agencies within the Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio, as follows:

• Cotton Research and Development Corporation—Report for 2008-09;

• Fisheries Research and Development Corporation—Report for 2008-09;

• Grains Research and Development Corporation—Report for 2008-09;

• Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation—Report for 2008-09;

• Land and Water Australia—Report for 2008-09;

• Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation—Report for 2008-09;

• Sugar Research and Development Corporation—Report for 2008-09;

• Australian Fisheries Management Authority—Report for 2008-09;

• Australian Landcare Council—Report for 2008-09;

• Australian Livestock Export Corporation (LiveCorp)—Report for 2008­ 09;

• National Rural Advisory Council—Report for 2008-09;

• Northern Territory Fisheries Joint Authority—Report for 2007-08;

• Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority—Report for 2007-08;

• Australian Maritime Safety Authority—Report for 2008-09; and

• Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd—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 nine documents were referred to the committee but have not been examined:

161

4

• Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997—Report to Parliament on Live-stock Mortalities for Exports by Sea for the Reporting Period 1 July to 31 December 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 (LiveCorp)—Report for 2008-09;

• Dairy Australia: Delivering for the dairy industry—Report for 2008-09;

• Daily Produce Act 1986—Report to Parliament in relation to statutory funding agreement with Daily Australia Limited—Report for 2008-09;

• National Residue Survey—Report for 2008-09;

• Airservices Australia—National Equity and Diversity Program 2007­ 2010—Progress Report 2008-09;

• Auslink—Report for 2007-08;

• Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997-—quarterly report on the maximum movement limit for the period 1 July to 30 September 2009; and

• Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997—quarterly report on the maximum movement limit for the period 1 October to 31 December 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 3 Those agencies reporting under the CAC Act 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.

1.12 As noted in the committee's report Annual reports (No. 1 o f 2010), a number of annual reports were tabled in the Senate after the appropriate deadlines and will be examined in this report.4

2 D ep a rtm e n t o f P rim e M in iste r an d C a b in e t, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, Ju n e 2 0 0 9 , p. 1 (sec tio n 4).

3 Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997, s. 9.

4 S enate R ural an d R eg io n al A ffairs an d T ra n sp o rt L eg islatio n C o m m itte e , Annual reports (No. 1 o f 2010), M a rc h 2 0 1 0 , p. 5.

162

5

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 2007-08;

• Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority—Report for 2007-08; and

• AusLink—Report for 2007-08.

1.14 The committee notes that while the Australian Fisheries Management Authority—Report for 2008-09 met the reporting timeframes in AFMA's own legislation, it was tabled in the Senate on 17 November 2009. 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.5 6

Comments on reports

1.15 Under Standing Order 25(20)(a) the committee is required to scrutinise annual reports and inform 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. 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 Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) and the

5 D e p a rtm e n t o f P rim e M in iste r a n d C ab in et, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, Ju n e 2 0 0 9 , p. 1 (sec tio n 4).

6 D ep a rtm e n t o f P rim e M in iste r a n d C ab in et, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, Ju n e 2 0 0 9 , pp 4 an d 16.

163

6

Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) 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.7 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, and notes that the compliance indexes of the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC), the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), and the GWRDC annual reports were exemplary. 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.

1.21 The committee is disappointed that despite comments made in its previous reports, the ARTC again failed to include a compliance index in its annual report.8 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.9

7 S ee fo r e x a m p le , S en ate R u ral a n d R e g io n a l A ffairs a n d T ra n sp o rt L eg islatio n C o m m ittee, Annual reports (No. 1 o f 2010), p. 6.

8 S en a te R u ral an d R e g io n a l A ffa irs an d T ra n sp o rt C o m m itte e , Annual reports (No. 2 o f2006), p. 5; Annual reports (No. 2 o f 2007), p. 6; Annual reports (No. 2 o f2008), pp 6 - 7 ; an d Annual reports (No. 2 o f2009), p. 6.

9 Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2005, p ara . 1 0 (l)(a ).

164

7

Legislative requirements fo r 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:10 1 1

• Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) section 5 16A;

• 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. These requirements also apply to departments, executive agencies and FMA Act bodies, as specified in the Requirements for Annual Reports.11

1.25 The committee reminds agencies that they are required to report on all five requirements under subsection 516A(6) of the EPBC Act, as exemplified in the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) and AFMA reports. 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 notes that several agencies did not adequately address all requirements under subsection 8(1) of the FOI Act. In particular, the committee observes that a number of bodies omitted to provide information on arrangements that exist for others to participate in the agency's policy formulation process. The

committee notes that AFMA addressed the FOI requirements comprehensively.

1.27 Omissions were again noted in most agencies' attempts to report against the OH&S Act, particularly in relation to information about health and safety management arrangements under paragraph 74(1 )(c). The committee considers that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and RIRDC annual reports provide good examples of how OH&S requirements should be addressed.

Commonwealth Disability Strategy

1.28 Under the Requirements for Annual Reports and section 18 of the CAC Orders, an assessment of an agency's performance in implementing the Commonwealth Disability Strategy (the Strategy) must be provided in accordance

10 Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2005, s. 17.

11 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, pp 13— 14 and 20-23.

165

8

with the terms set out in the Guide to the Performance Reporting Framework.12 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 AFMA 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.13 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 infonnation 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 AFMA for fully 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:

C E O s o f a g e n c ie s c o v e r e d b y t h e C o m m o n w e a lth F r a u d C o n tr o l G u id e l in e s

a r e to c e r tif y to th e ir M in i s te r o r P r e s id in g O f f ic e r in t h e ir a g e n c y 's a n n u a l

r e p o r t t h a t t h e y a re s a tis f ie d t h a t th e ir a g e n c y h a s p r e p a r e d f r a u d r is k

a s s e s s m e n ts a n d f r a u d c o n tr o l p la n s , a n d h a s in p la c e a p p r o p r ia te f ra u d

p r e v e n tio n , d e t e c tio n , in v e s tig a tio n , r e p o r tin g a n d d a t a c o l le c tio n

12 D e p a rtm e n t o f P rim e M in iste r an d C a b in e t, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments. Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, Ju n e 2 0 0 9 , p. 13; an d Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report o f Operations) Orders 2005, s. 18. T h is G u id e can b e a c ce sse d on the C o m m o n w e a lth D isa b ility S tra te g y w e b site at h ttp ://w w w .fa c s.g o v .a u /c d s .

13 D ep a rtm e n t o f P rim e M in iste r a n d C a b in e t, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments. Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, Ju n e 20 0 9 , pp 1 0 -1 2 an d 2 4 -2 7 .

166

9

procedures and processes that meet the specific needs of the agency and comply with the Guidelines.14 1 5

1.33 The committee encourages agency heads to make a specific certification in keeping with the guidelines. The committee highlights the AFMA annual report as an example 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 accountability process would be enhanced if both the fonner 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.16 In addition, agencies are encouraged to provide information on expenditure by outcome/output in a form that is comparable with budget documentation.

14 A tto rn ey -G en e ra l's D e p a rtm e n t, Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines 2002, M ay 2002, p. 2. See also D ep a rtm e n t o f P rim e M in ister a n d C ab in et, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, Ju n e 20 0 9 , p. 7.

15 S enate S tan d in g C o m m itte e on F in an ce and P u b lic A d m in istra tio n , Transparency and accountability o f Commonwealth public funding and expenditure, M a rc h 2007, p. 64.

16 D ep a rtm e n t o f P rim e M in iste r an d C abinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, Ju n e 2 0 0 9 , p. 5.

167

10 Senate remarks on annual reports

1.38 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

1.39 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.

1.40 In Chapter 2, the committee has considered the annual reports of the following agencies:

• Cotton Research and Development Corporation—Report for 2008-09;

• Fisheries Research and Development Corporation—Report for 2008-09;

• Grains Research and Development Corporation—Report for 2008-09;

• Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation—Report for 2008-09;

• Land and Water Australia—Report for 2008-09;

• Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation—Report for 2008-09;

• Sugar Research and Development Corporation—Report for 2008-09;

• Australian Fisheries Management Authority—Report for 2008-09;

• Australian Maritime Safety Authority—Report for 2008-09; and

• Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd—Report for 2008-09.

168

Chapter 2

Annual reports of agencies

1.1 The committee considered all of the following reports to be 'apparently satisfactory'.

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio

Commonwealth authorities

Cotton Research and Development Corporation

1.2 The committee commends the CRDC for consistently producing a clear, concise and well constructed annual report. Once again, the compliance index greatly assisted the committee in determining whether reporting requirements had been met. The committee found the compliance index to be accurate, detailed and easy to follow, with separate sections for compliance under the CAC Act and the Primary Industries and Energy Research and Development Act 1989 (PIERD Act). The

committee also observes that the CRDC has improved its reporting under the EPBC Act.

1.3 The committee notes that 2008-09 was the first year of the CRDC 2008-2013 Strategic R&D plan. The CRDC stated that the new plan was developed through a comprehensive consultative process involving participants throughout the industry supply chain and incorporating Government and industry R&D priorities, in addition to advice from the Minister.1

1.4 The committee notes that after the closure of Land and Water Australia was announced, the CRDC successfully sought to take on the managing agent role for the National Program for Sustainable Irrigation, starting from 2009-10C

1.5 The CRDC reported one significant change in its state of affairs in 2008-09. In November 2008, the CROC's industry body, the Australian Cotton Growers Research Association, merged with Cotton Australia. On 17 March 2009, the Minister notified the CRDC of a declaration under the PIERD Act, formalising Cotton Australia as the CROC's new industry body/

1.6 The committee notes that the CROC's final expenditure on outputs was $9.41 million, three percent below budget expectations. The CRDC reported that revenue for the year was $7.68 million, 19.4 percent higher than the budgeted income of $6.43 million due to a higher percentage of crop revenue being collected than 1 2 3

1 Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 2 and 4.

2 Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 6.

3 Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 28 and 95-96.

169

12

forecast. Following a drought-affected season in 2007-08, the 2008-09 growing season was also affected by drought, but not to the same degree. The actual crop size was 1.39 million bales, relatively in line with the forecast production of 1.50 million

bales.4

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation

1.7 The committee is pleased to note that following comments made in the committee's previous reports, the FRDC has improved its compliance index. The FRDC’s compliance index was thorough, easier to navigate, and more closely aligned with the reporting requirements as set out in the CAC Act, the CAC Orders and the PIERD Act.

1.8 The committee is also pleased to observe that the FRDC’s reporting under subsection 8(1) of the FOl Act has been included in an appendix to its annual report, instead of referring readers to its website for details.

1.9 The committee notes that the FRDC has omitted to include the statement that directors are responsible under section 9 of the CAC Act for the preparation and content of the report of operations, and did not specify whether the report was made in accordance with a resolution of the directors. The committee reminds the FRDC that these are requirements under paragraphs 4(1 )(a) and (d) of the CAC Orders.

1.10 In its previous reports, the committee noted that the FRDC was introducing and implementing a new funding framework. The FRDC reported that:

H is to r ic a ll y , F R D C in v e s tm e n t w a s b a s e d o n a s in g le a n n u a l o p e n c a ll f o r

s u b m is s io n s . T h e n e w f u n d in g f r a m e w o r k p r o v id e s a m ix t u r e o f in v e s tm e n t

m e th o d s to m e e t s ta k e h o l d e r n e e d s a n d e n s u r e t h a t th e F R D C

c o m p r e h e n s i v e ly a d d r e s s e s n a t io n a l , p u b lic g o o d , f is h e r ie s m a n a g e m e n t

a n d in d u s tr y n e e d s .5

1.11 The new funding framework includes an annual competitive open round; a tactical research fund investing in small projects; national strategic investment addressing areas of high public good, such as climate change and aquatic animal health; major partnerships with large sectors like Atlantic Salmon, Southern Rocklobster and Southern Bluefin Tuna; and a People Development Program.6

1.12 The FRDC reported that climate change is now a major issue ’leading to some uncertainty for aspects of fisheries and aquaculture'. In response to the need for more knowledge to inform climate change based decisions, the FRDC has been working with industry, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), the

Department of Climate Change (DCC), and fisheries managers to develop a national

4 Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 19 and 20.

5 Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 4.

6 Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 4-5.

170

13

climate change RD&E7 program to coordinate national investment and ensure adoption. The FRDC Board has committed a minimum of $2.7 million over the next three to four years to climate change RD&E.8

Grains Research and Development Corporation

1.13 The committee found the GRDC's report to be, overall, very well presented and informative, consistent with the standard of previous reports. The report contained a useful compliance index which aided the committee in its assessment of the report. In addition, the inside cover of the report contained a concise summary of highlights of 2008-09, including the successes and challenges faced.

1.14 The committee is pleased to note that following comments made in its report Annual Reports (No.l o f 2009), the GRDC has improved its reporting under the FOI Act. The GRDC has included information about arrangements for others to participate in the Corporation's policy formulation processes and facilities available for physical

access to documents. The committee also commends the GRDC for its thorough reporting under the OH&S Act.

1.15 The committee notes the reporting of one new ministerial direction involving the Australian Government Bargaining Framework, which the GRDC is now in the process of adopting.9

1.16 The committee notes that following the announcement of the closure of Land and Water Australia, the GRDC has assumed the lead role for the Managing Climate Variability (MCV) program and the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Farms program website.10 1 1 The GRDC reported that following a request from the Minister, the GRDC has assumed responsibility for the Wheat Variety Classification, which was previously managed by AWB International.11

1.17 The committee notes that one of the principal challenges facing the Australian grains industry is a declining rate of growth in total factor productivity. The GRDC points to a number of reasons for this, including the impact of the recent severe droughts and reduced levels of farm inputs. The GRDC has entered into a major study with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) to

better understand the factors contributing to the decline and to develop strategies to increase the rate of productivity growth.12

7 Research, development and extension

8 Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 2-3.

9 Grains Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 104.

10 Grains Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 15.

11 Grains Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 14 and 16.

12 Grains Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 15.

171

14 Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation

1.18 The committee is pleased to note that following comments made in the committee's previous reports, the GWRDC has considerably improved its compliance index. The GWRDC's compliance index was comprehensive and easy to use and more closely aligned with the reporting requirements as set out in the CAC Act, the CAC Orders and the PIERD Act. This greatly assisted the committee in determining whether reporting requirements had been met, particularly in relation to the PIERD Act.

1.19 The GWRDC reported that despite continuing drought conditions and low allocations of water throughout many viticultural regions, its financial position at the end of June 2009 was more favourable than projected in the Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS). The GWRDC's revenue for the year was $27.6 million instead of $24 million. This was due to higher than expected levy receipts based on a wine-grape crush of more than 1.9 million tonnes (instead of the forecast 1.6 million tonnes); significant refunds from research organisations; and timing differences in grant monies received under DAFF's Irrigated Industries Workshop Program - Wine Industry Project.Ij

1.20 The committee notes that towards the end of the financial year, the GWRDC successfully applied for funding under the Climate Change Research Program, part of DAFF's Australia's Farming Future initiative. This will contribute additional revenue of $1.2 million over three years.1 3 14 1 5

Land and Water Australia

1.21 In a previous report, the committee was disappointed to find that LWA's annual report for 2007-08 no longer contained a compliance index. The committee commends LWA for including a compliance table with page references in its 2008-09 report. The table was well presented, easy to follow and clearly set out the reporting requirements being addressed, with separate sections for the CAC Orders, PIERD Act and other legislation.

1.22 LWA reported that in April 2009, the Minister advised that 'a significant savings measure in the 2009 Commonwealth budget was to be cessation of annual appropriation funding for Land & Water Australia'. A special appropriation budget for 2009-10 of $6.7 million was secured under the 2009 budget to assist the orderly transition and wind-up of LWA's significant investments, with a view to ceasing all

operations by 31 December 2009.'“

13 Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 4 and 12-13.

14 Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 14.

15 Land and Water Australia, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 13.

172

15

1.23 The committee notes that LWA's revenue for the year was $24.51 million, $0.4 million less than forecast in the PBS and LWA's annual operational plan. Total expenditure for 2008-09 was $29.54 million, $4.6 million higher than planned. This was due to increased expenditure on research ($1.7 million) and programs under the Knowledge into Practice strategy ($0.5 million), as well as unplanned expenditure of

$2.4 million directly related to winding-up LWA.16

1.24 Throughout its report of operations, LWA has provided a status report on the future of individual programs, while the details of individual projects are included in an appendix. The committee found this information useful, noting that the partner organisations in the Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries Program (CCRSPI) have agreed in-principle to continue the program for another five years, with funding of $0.95 million per year. An expression of interest process is

underway to find a new host for the program from within the existing partners. The new host will be determined by a joint committee set up by the Council of Chairs of Rural Research Development Coiporations and the Primary Industry Standing Committee R&D Sub-Committee.17

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

1.25 The committee commends the RIRDC for its comprehensive reporting under the EPBC and the OH&S Acts, which was clearly laid out and addressed all of the requirements.

1.26 The committee is pleased to note an improvement in the RIRDC's reporting on the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In addition, the RIRDC has improved its reporting under the FOI Act, providing information on facilities for physical access to documents. However, the committee reminds the RIRDC that its report is required to contain information about arrangements for others to participate in the Corporation's policy formulation process.

1.27 The RIRDC reported on the challenges and highlights of the financial year, observing that while drought continued to severely impact the irrigation-dependent rice industry, most other industries experienced significantly improved production conditions.18

1.28 The RIRDC reported that its Commonwealth Government funding has been reduced by $3 million per annum starting from 2009-10. As a result of this decision, the RIRDC has revised its 2009-10 Annual Operation Plan, and is focused on continuing to deliver on its priority objectives, reducing costs and increasing

efficiency.19

16 Land and Water Australia, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 14.

17 Land and Water Australia, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 6 and 44.

18 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 6.

19 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 9 and 69.

.L

173

16

1.29 The committee notes that the RIRDC has implemented a new Evaluation Framework which sets out a process for reviewing each of the RIRDC's programs in the final year of its five-year plan, with three programs evaluated during 2008-09. This Framework includes a performance review and an impact assessment and also meets the reporting requirements for the Council of Rural Research and Development

Corporations' Chairs.20 2 1

Sugar Research and Development Corporation

1.30 The committee again reminds the SRDC that its annual report would benefit from a more comprehensive compliance index, with separate sections for compliance under the CAC Act and the PIERD Act.

1.31 The SRDC reported higher income than expected from the Commonwealth Government due to funding for the Regional and Community Program and the gross value of production for the financial year, while the industry contribution was significantly lower as a result of the decrease in the total crop crushed in 2008."1 The committee notes a slight decrease in expenses for employee benefits and research and development grants; and a rise in depreciation from the previous year.22 2 3

Prescribed agencies

Australian Fisheries Management Authority

1.32 The committee notes that on 1 July 2008, new governance arrangements for AFMA came into effect. AFMA changed from a statutory authority under the CAC Act to a prescribed agency under the FMA Act. The existing board of directors was replaced by a commission, responsible for domestic fisheries management, and a Chief Executive Officer, responsible for foreign compliance and assisting the commission.2j

1.33 Once again, the committee commends AFMA on its consistently high standard of reporting. AFMA's reporting on perfonnance and under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy and the EPBC and FOI Acts was particularly thorough. The report also included a detailed, well set out compliance index with

separate sections for compliance under the FMA Act and the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 (AFMA's enabling legislation).

1.34 The committee is pleased to note that AFMA has fully complied with the requirements relating to consultancy contracts. As well as the summary statements for new and ongoing consultancies, a listing of individual consultancies was provided in

20 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 16.

21 Sugar Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 13.

22 Sugar Research and Development Corporation, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 67 and 85.

23 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 6.

174

17

accordance with the mandatory proforma set out in the Requirements for Annual Reports.

1.35 While AFMA has included an outcome resources table containing details of the cost of outputs and revenue received, the committee notes that this information is not in accordance with the suggested format in the Requirements for Annual Reports. From 2008-09 onwards, agencies are required to include two tables, a resources for outcomes table and a separate agency resource statement table, which should both be consistent with corresponding tables in the PBS.24

1.36 The committee notes that AFMA has provided some of the information required under the OH&S Act, however, there was little detail of the initiatives taken during the year to ensure the OH&S of employees. The committee encourages AFMA to provide this information in upcoming reports.

1.37 While AFMA's compliance index was generally well presented, the committee notes the omission of one item under AFMA's enabling legislation: any directions given to the Authority by the Minister under section 91 during that year.25

1.38 AFMA reported that during 2008-09, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) carried out a performance audit of AFMA's management of domestic fishing compliance. The committee discussed the findings of the ANAO Audit Report No. 47 of 2008-09, Maitagement o f Domestic Fishing Compliance, in its Annual Reports (No.l o f 2010) 26

1.39 In a previous report the committee noted that AFMA had developed harvest strategies for all Commonwealth Fisheries, as part of its response to the December 2005 Ministerial Director to end overfishing.27 In its 2008-09 report, AFMA indicated that 13 harvest strategies for fish stocks have now been implemented in 11 fisheries.

During the coming year the focus will be on reviewing harvest strategies and improving efficiency and consistency in their application.28

1.40 The committee notes that AFMA reported an operating loss of $6.1 million for 2008-09, in accordance with budget expectations. This reflected AFMA's investment in a number of key business improvement projects, such as the development of IT systems, co-management, and bycatch and discard programs.

24 Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Requirements fo r Annual Reports fo r Departments, Executive Agencies and FMA Act Bodies, June 2009, pp 6-7 and 28-30.

25 Fisheries Administration Act 1991 s. 87 (2)(iv).

26 Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, Annual Reports (No.l o f 2010), March 2010, p. 15.

27 Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, Annual reports (No. 2 o f 2009), September 2009, p. 17.

28 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 14, 20-21, and 29.

18

AFMA's total funding of $46.4 million was $8.1 million less than the previous year, mainly due to savings and adjustments to its administered funding.29

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio

Commonwealth authorities

Australian Maritime Safety Authority

1.41 The committee commends AMSA for providing a thorough review of its performance, including the challenges faced during 2008-09. Overall, its report was well presented and easy to read.

1.42 The committee is pleased to note AMSA's statement that the committee's comments on its previous annual report 'were taken into consideration when drafting this annual report'. However, the committee is disappointed to find that AMSA's compliance index was still difficult to follow and incomplete, as in many cases it did not reflect the wording of the requirements in the CAC Act and the CAC Orders.

1.43 In particular, a number of items were not clearly identified in the compliance index, even though they were addressed in the body of the report. These included:

• certification by the directors (there was only a reference to 'letter of authority');

• Auditor-General's report;

• location of major activities and facilities;

• factors, events and trends influencing performance over the financial year;

• significant events referred to in section 15 of the CAC Act (only significant changes in the authorities state of affairs were included in the compliance index);

• developments since the end of the financial year; and

• reviews by outside bodies. The reference to judicial decisions and reviews by outside bodies only contained information about judicial decisions and decisions of administrative tribunals. Information about reviews by parliamentary committees and the Auditor-General was provided separately under 'Corporate Governance Arrangements' but not listed in the compliance index.

1.44 In addition, the following requirements of the CAC Orders do not appear to have been addressed in the report:

29 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Annual Report 2008-09, p. 3.

176

19

• indemnities and insurance premiums in place for officers (only details of workers' compensation premiums were given); and

• while ministerial directions under AMSA's enabling act were addressed, there was no reference in the text to ministerial directions under section 28 of the CAC Act.

1.45 Once again, the committee commends AMSA for its thorough reporting under the OH&S Act. AMSA's reporting under the FOI Act was also comprehensive, however, as mentioned in the committee's previous report, details of arrangements for outside bodies to participate in policy formulation were provided in a separate section under 'Our Stakeholders' and were not listed in the compliance index. The committee encourages AMSA to provide a cross-reference to this section in future reports.j0

1.46 The committee notes that AMSA recorded a net deficit of $7,058 million compared to a budgeted deficit of $8,330 million in 2008-09. Both expenditure and revenue were higher than originally expected. Revenue increased by $21.211 million or 18.1 percent over the previous year, due to stronger than expected levy collections. This was despite a significant decline in traffic by all major ship types other than bulk carriers and oil tankers over the first half of 2009, as a result of the global financial crisis. Increased expenditure was driven by a combination of factors including

unexpected expenditure in relation to the Pacific Adventurer oil spill and inflation factors across all contracts."1

Commonwealth companies

Australian Rail Track Corporation

1.47 The committee notes that while not mandatory, the ARTC's annual report would benefit from the inclusion of both an alphabetical and compliance index. In the absence of an index, the committee had difficulty in determining whether all the reporting requirements of the Corporations Act 2001 had been met. "'"

1.48 The committee again encourages the ARTC to comply with the Printing standards for documents presented to Parliament, which specify that all documents to be presented in Parliament must be printed in international B5 size.

Senator Glenn Sterle Chair

30 Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport, Annual reports (No. 1 o f2009), March 2009, p. 27.

31 Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Annual Report 2008-09, pp 12-13.

32 In particular, section 300 (l)(ca) and (d) ofthe Corporations Act 2001.

177

20

178

Appendix 1

List of annual reports referred to the committee during the period 1 November 2009 to 30 April 2010

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio

Legislation Letter of Date Sent Date Tabling

transmittal to received by date*

date Minister Minister

Commonwealth authorities

Cotton Research and PIERD Act 1989 5/10/09 15/10/09 22/10/09 16/11/09*

Development Corporation— Report for 2008-09 CAC Act 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 CAC Act 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 CAC Act 1997

Grape and Wine Research PIERD Act 1989 23/09/09 9/10/09 20/10/09 16/11/09*

and Development Corporation—Report for CAC Act 1997 (received

2008-09 5/11/09)

Land and Water Resources PIERD Act 1989 13/10/09 9/10/09 22/10/09 16/11/09*

Research and Development Corporation (Land and CAC Act 1997 (received

Water Australia) —Report 12/11/09)

for 2008-09

Rural Industries Research PIERD Act 1989 30/09/09 12/10/09 20/10/09 16/11/09*

and Development Corporation—Report for CAC Act 1997 (received

2008-09 5/11/09)

Sugar Research and PIERD Act 1989 30/09/09 15/10/09 22/10/09 16/11/09*

Development Corporation— Report for 2008-09 CAC Act 1997 (received

12/11/09)

179

22

Prescribed agencies

Australian Fisheries Management Authority— Report for 2008-09

Fisheries Administration Act 1991

FMA Act 1997

24/09/09 24/09/09 24/09/09 17/11/09

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)

Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997-Report to Parliament on Live-stock Mortalities for Exports by Sea for the Reporting Period 1 July to 31 December 2009

Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997

n/a 3/02/10 4/02/10 9/03/10

Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 7997-Report to Parliament in relation to statutory funding agreement with the Australian Livestock Export Corporation Limited (LiveCorp)— Report for 2008-09

Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Act 1997

n/a 18/03/10

Dairy Australia Limited— Report for 2008-09 Dairy Produce Act 1986

Corporations Act 2001

23/10/09 30/10/09 12/11/09 24/11/09

Dairy Produce Act 1986— Report to Parliament in relation to statutory funding agreement with Dairy Australia Limited—Report for 2008-09

Dairy Produce Act 1986

n/a 18/03/10

180

23

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 li·. 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.

181

24

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio (fro m 1 4 S e p te m b e r 2 0 1 0 , I n fr a s tr u c tu r e a n d T r a n s p o r t p o r tfo lio )

Legislation Letter of

transmittal date

Date Sent to Minister

Date

received by Minister

Tabling date*

C om m onw ealth au thorities

Australian Maritime Safety Authority—Report for 2008­ 09

Australian Maritime Safety A uthority Act 1990

CACAct 1997

23/09/09 15/10/09 15/10/09 17/11/09

Com m onw ealth com panies

Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd—Report for 2008-09

Corporations Act 2001 13/11/09 13/11/09 24/11/09

O ther

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 08 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

Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997— quarterly report on the maximum movement limit for the period 1 October to 31 December 2009

Sydney Airport Demand Management Act 1997

n/a 5/02/10 8/02/10 10/03/10

* An asterisk denotes reports presented to the President out-of-session.

182

183

184

r

ί

■

ax

i*

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

PARLIAMENTARY PAPER No. 334 of 2010 ORDERED TO BE PRINTED

ISSN 0727-4181