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Public Accounts and Audit—Joint Committee—Report 459—Annual Report 2015-16—October 2016


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The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

Report 459 Annual Report 2015-16

Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit

October 2016 Canberra

© Commonwealth of Australia 2016

ISBN 978-1-74366-557-2 (Printed version)

ISBN 978-1-74366-558-9 (HTML version)

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.

The details of this licence are available on the Creative Commons website: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/au/.

Contents

Chair’s Foreword ................................................................................................................................. v

Committee membership and secretariat ............................................................................................ vii

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

What is the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit? ....................................................... 1

The Committee’s duties .............................................................................................................. 2

2 Summary of Activities for 2015-16 .................................................................... 5

Reviews and inquiries .............................................................................................................. 6

Reviews of Auditor-General’s Reports ................................................................................... 6

Review of Independent Auditor’s Report ................................................................................ 8

Overseeing the Defence Major Projects Report ..................................................................... 8

Inquiry into the development of the Commonwealth Performance Framework (CPF) ............ 9

Responses to the Committee’s reports ................................................................................ 10

Other major Committee activities .......................................................................................... 10

Audit priorities of the Parliament ........................................................................................... 10

Review of the annual budget of the ANAO ........................................................................... 10

Appointment of the Parliamentary Budget Officer ................................................................ 10

Review of the annual budget and work plan of the PBO ...................................................... 11

Annual reporting requirements ............................................................................................. 11

External engagement, communication, and considering broader aspects of public administration ......................................................................................................................... 13

International engagement ..................................................................................................... 13

A Appendix ............................................................................................................ 15

iv REPORT 459 - ANNUAL REPORT 2015-16

v

Chair’s Foreword

It is with pleasure that I present the 2015-16 annual report of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (the Committee), pursuant to Section 8B of the Public Accounts and Audit Committee Act 1951.

This Committee is one the Parliament’s oldest and most significant institutions, with a long history of enhancing accountability and improving efficiency in public administration.

As this report makes clear, 2015-16 was a period of noticeably increased activity for the Committee, with a considerable increase in the number of reports tabled, recommendations made and submissions received by the Committee during the course of the year.

Some of the key activities included:

 undertaking 12 separate inquiries into matters contained in ANAO reports, and considering 35 performance audit reports tabled by the Auditor-General in 2015-16;

 reviewing the annual budget and work plan of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), as well as re-appointing Mr. Phil Bowen as Parliamentary Budget Officer for a further 12 months;

 reviewing the annual budget for the Australian National Audit Office;

 continuing its ongoing inquiry into the development of the Commonwealth Performance Framework (CPF), tabling two reports in Parliament;

 overseeing the Defence Major Projects Report (MPR), and endorsing the guidelines for the 2015-16 MPR; and

vi REPORT 459 - ANNUAL REPORT 2015-16

 approving the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendment (Corporate and Commonwealth Entity Annual Reporting) Rule 2016, which will now apply to the annual reporting requirements for all Commonwealth entities.

The Committee’s work, naturally, was affected by the dissolution of the 44th Parliament on 9 May 2016. I would like to extend my thanks to the former Chairs, Dr Andrew Southcott MP and Hon. Ian Macfarlane MP, the former Deputy Chair Mr Pat Conroy MP and all members of the Committee for their diligent efforts in maintaining its strong tradition of proper scrutiny.

I look forward to working with the members of the Committee in the 45th Parliament to maintain those standards of excellence, and ensuring the proper and efficient use of public resources by the Executive and all Commonwealth agencies.

Senator Dean Smith

Chair

Committee membership and secretariat

45th Parliament 44th Parliament

Chair Senator Dean Smith Chair Hon Ian Macfarlane MP

Dr Andrew Southcott MP

Deputy Chair Mr Julian Hill MP Deputy Chair Mr Pat Conroy MP

Members Ms Gai Brodtmann MP Ms Nicolle Flint MP

Mr Andrew Gee MP

Mr Ross Hart MP

Mr Kevin Hogan MP

Mr Steve Irons MP

Ms Madeline King MP

Mr Andrew Laming MP

Dr John McVeigh MP

Senator Jonathon Duniam

Senator Chris Ketter

Senator Jenny McAllister

Senator Bridget McKenzie

Members Hon Anthony Albanese MP Ms Gai Brodtmann MP

Mr Andrew Giles MP

Dr David Gillespie

Dr Peter Hendy MP

Mr Craig Laundy MP

Mrs Jane Prentice MP

Mr Angus Taylor MP

Mr Ken Wyatt MP

Senator Cory Bernardi

Senator Katy Gallagher

Senator Chris Ketter

Senator Jenny McAllister

Senator Bridget McKenzie

Senator Dean Smith

viii REPORT 459 - ANNUAL REPORT 2015-16

Committee secretariat

Secretary Mr David Brunoro

Research Officers Ms Laura Johnson

Dr Kate Sullivan

Mr Shane Armstrong

Mr Andrew Gaczol

Administrative Officer Ms Tamara Palmer

1

Introduction

What is the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit?

The Committee is the Parliament’s joint public administration committee. Its purpose is to scrutinise the governance, performance and accountability of Commonwealth entities and companies. The Committee focuses on whether public money is used in an efficient, effective, economical and ethical manner.

In line with its establishing legislation, the Public Accounts and Audit Committee Act 1951 (the Act), the Committee consists of six Senators and ten Members of the House of Representatives.

The Committee is one of the oldest of the Parliament, first established in 1913. The Committee is also one of the Parliament’s most autonomous. The Act allows the Committee to initiate its own inquiries, unlike most other parliamentary committees, which receive references from Ministers or a House of the Parliament.

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The Committee’s duties

The Committee’s work can be summarised into five key areas:

 Overseeing the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO)

 Overseeing the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act

2013 (PGPA Act)

 Overseeing the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO)

 Scrutinising Defence acquisition and sustainment

 External engagement, communication, and considering broader aspects

of public administration

Overseeing the ANAO The Committee has a strong, ongoing relationship with the ANAO. This allows the Committee to maintain a broad and informed view of Commonwealth expenditure across the public sector. Similarly, engaging with the Committee helps the ANAO fulfil its own purpose of providing the Parliament with independent assessments of public administration.

The Act outlines the Committee’s official duties at Section 8 and 8A. Through examining the reports tabled by the Auditor-General in Parliament the Committee examines the performance and financial affairs of Commonwealth authorities. The Committee considers the ANAO’s draft budget estimates with reference to its operations and functions, and determines the Audit Priorities of the Parliament to inform the Auditor-General’s forward work program.

Sections 8 and 8A also require the Committee to consider the reports of the Independent Auditor, who audits the ANAO. The Committee advises the Independent Auditor of the Parliament’s priorities for auditing the ANAO.

The Committee must approve any appointment of the Auditor-General and the Independent Auditor under the Auditor-General Act 1997.

Overseeing the PGPA Act The Committee plays an ongoing role in scrutinising the PGPA Act and its operations, which provide a new resource management, planning and performance framework for the Commonwealth.

The Committee maintains an active and significant interest in the government’s broader Public Management Reform Agenda (PMRA). During the first stage of the PMRA, which involved establishing the PGPA Act, the Committee completed inquiries into the draft legislation and the first set of PGPA Rules.

INTRODUCTION 3

The second stage of the PMRA focused on establishing the Commonwealth Performance Framework as set out by the PGPA Act. The Framework includes requiring entities to produce Corporate Plans, Portfolio Budget Statements, Annual Performance Statements, and Annual Reports. The Committee was heavily involved in ensuring the Commonwealth Performance Framework was developed effectively.

Some of the Committee’s oversight role is specific to the legislation. For example, s46(4) of the PGPA Act requires the Committee’s approval before any rules are made to prescribe annual report requirements for Commonwealth entities. In addition, s112(1) requires the Committee to be consulted on an independent review of the PGPA Act’s rules and operation. This review is scheduled to occur as soon as is practicable after 1 July 2017—three years after the commencement of s112(1)—under the direction of the Finance Minister.

Overseeing the PBO Under the Parliamentary Services Act 1999, the Committee oversees the operations and resourcing of the PBO. This includes approving the appointment of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The Committee expressed its support for the PBO as an institution in a 2014 report:

The PBO is an important addition to our democratic arrangements and has already made a significant contribution to transparency and accountability in the country’s finances.

Scrutinising Defence acquisition and sustainment Defence acquisition and sustainment interests the Committee because it represents a sizeable investment of public money—in fact, it is the largest expenditure by any government agency. Defence ‘acquisition’ is the procurement of new infrastructure and resources, while Defence ‘sustainment’ refers to the maintenance of these assets and other defence enabling capabilities. Expenditure of Commonwealth resources by Defence has been an area of focus for the Committee since 2003, when a Senate committee requested an analysis of major Defence acquisition projects.

This analysis eventually became what is now called the Defence Major Projects Report (MPR), an annual production which the Committee oversees. The MPR analyses the progress of 25-30 major Defence projects worth approximately $60 billion, to improve the accountability and transparency of Defence acquisitions. This is a joint project led by the ANAO and supported by Defence’s

4 REPORT 459 - ANNUAL REPORT 2015-16

Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group. Every year, the Committee endorses the guidelines within which the MPR is drafted and conducts an inquiry based on the tabled report.

External engagement, communication, and considering broader aspects of public administration The Committee seeks to promote public awareness of its role and draw on strong relationships—across the Parliament, the public sector, and the broader community—to support meaningful engagement with its work.

The Committee is keenly interested in public administration trends, themes and issues, both in Australia and overseas. Examining best practice in the public sectors of other countries allows the Committee to identify and recommend approaches which are relevant to Australian Commonwealth entities. Similarly, the Committee itself learns from regional and international counterparts, adopting practices which improve its oversight of public expenditure.

The Committee engages with the Australasian Council of Public Accounts Committees (ACPAC) and values its work in connecting public accounts committees and promoting communication with Auditors-General, experts, the media, and the public. The Committee views the biennial ACPAC conference as an important opportunity to exchange views and experiences with public accounts committees from neighbouring jurisdictions. The Committee will actively participate in the next event in Queensland in April 2017.

2

Summary of Activities for 2015-16

In 2015-16, the Committee held seventeen meetings, all of which were in Canberra. Twelve of those meetings included public hearings. The Committee tabled ten reports during 2015-16, including Report 450: Annual Report 2014-15.

Table 2.1—the Committee’s activities in 2015-16 can be compared to previous years

according to some key measures.

Metric 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16

Committee reports tabled in Parliament 3 5 10

Recommendations made 24 26 50

Government responses received 1 24 49 27

Government responses submitted on time 67 % 78 % 85 %

Recommendations agreed to by agencies 2 - 3 44 24

Auditor-General’s reports selected for detailed inquiry 3 9 12

Total meetings held 14 22 17

Public hearings held 6 11 12

Submissions received 30 23 56

Source: Committee Secretariat

1 This metric describes all government responses and executive minutes received in 2015-16,

including responses to reports which were tabled in previous annual reporting periods.

2 This metric describes the recommendations agreed to by the government responses received in

2015-16. These recommendations may have been made in previous annual reporting periods.

3 Information unavailable for this reporting period.

6 REPORT 459 - ANNUAL REPORT 2015-16

Reviews and inquiries

Reviews of Auditor-General’s Reports The Committee conducted 12 separate inquiries on matters in ANAO reports, brought together in five reports tabled in the Parliament. The Auditor-General tabled 35 performance audit reports in Parliament in 2015-16. The Committee considered all of these reports.

Report 449— Inquiry into Regional Development Australia Fund, Military Equipment Disposal and Tariff Concessions This report explores the way Commonwealth agencies administer grants and programs, focusing on how they respond to audit recommendations. It outlines the Committee’s view that robust administrative arrangements are crucial to effective and efficient use of Commonwealth resources, and emphasised the importance of the ANAO’s advice for public sector agencies to achieve these outcomes. This report also suggests the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines could be updated to reinforce their relevance to agencies.

The Committee tabled this report on 11 August 2015. The Committee conducted this inquiry based on three Auditor-General’s reports tabled in 2014-15:

 Auditor-General’s report no. 9 (2014-15), The Design and Conduct of the Third and Fourth Funding Rounds of the Regional Development Australia Fund

 Auditor-General’s report no. 19 (2014-15), Management of the Disposal of Specialist Military Equipment

 Auditor-General’s report no. 20 (2014-15), Administration of the Tariff Concession System

A strong theme connecting these three Auditor-General’s reports was a lack of transparency and accountability in audited decision-making processes. In all three cases, the Auditor-General had recommended that the agency strengthen its internal guidance and provide clearer, higher-quality advice to decision-makers.

Report 451— Inquiry into Community Pharmacy Agreements On 23 November 2015, the Committee reported on its inquiry into the administration of Community Pharmacy Agreements, particularly the fifth agreement, in operation from 2010-2015.

In this report, the Committee recommends continuing and closer scrutiny of Community Pharmacy Agreements. The report also expresses the Committee’s concern about the considerable consequences of ineffective administration, given

SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES FOR 2015-16 7

the importance of pharmaceutical services, the cost of the Community Pharmacy Agreement, and the length of its operation.

The Committee launched this inquiry based on an Auditor-General’s report tabled in 2014-15:

 Auditor-General’s report no. 25 (2014-15), Administration of the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement

The report highlighted problems with the way the fifth agreement was negotiated and executed.

Report 452— Inquiry into Natural Disaster Recovery, Centrelink Telephone Services, and Safer Streets Program This report examines the way Commonwealth agencies monitor and report on programs. It reinforces that agencies should implement ANAO recommendations fully and quickly. The Committee recommends that agencies engage more closely with the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines, and develop a robust set of performance measures that are then actively used to manage programs.

The Committee tabled this report in December 2015. The Committee conducted this inquiry based on three Auditor-General’s reports tabled in 2014-15:

 Auditor-General’s report no. 34 (2014-15), Administration of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements by Emergency Management Australia

 Auditor-General’s report no. 37 (2014-15), Management of Smart Centres’ Centrelink Telephone Services

 Auditor-General’s report no. 41 (2014-15), The Award of Funding under the Safer Streets Programme

Of most interest to the Committee in these reports was that agencies needed to better integrate the lessons learned, from audits and from their own evaluations, into future work.

Report 454— Inquiry into Administration of the Early Years Quality Fund This report addresses risks, probity issues and non-compliance with administrative rules in Commonwealth agencies’ delivery of grants programs. The Committee recommended a range of measures to ensure public monies are used more effectively, efficiently and transparently.

The Committee reported on this inquiry in February 2016, in response to an Auditor-General’s report tabled in 2014-15:

8 REPORT 459 - ANNUAL REPORT 2015-16

 Auditor-General’s report no. 23 (2014-15), Administration of the Early Years Quality Fund

The Auditor-General’s report made a single, forceful recommendation and delivered strong messages about the necessity of robust governance, frank advice, and the imperative for agencies to meet their responsibilities.

Report 456— Inquiry into Defence Major Equipment Procurement and Evaluation, and Great Barrier Reef Regulation This report considers the importance of rigorous risk management in Commonwealth agencies’ core business activities. It outlines the Committee’s view that well-developed, clearly communicated and consistently adopted procedures and regulatory practices are essential to managing risk effectively.

The Committee tabled this report on 5 May 2016. The Committee undertook this inquiry in response to three Auditor-General’s reports that examined programs carrying substantial financial, environmental and safety risks:

 Auditor-General’s report no. 52 (2014-15), Australian Defence Force's Medium and Heavy Vehicle Fleet Replacement (Land 121 Phase 3B)

 Auditor-General’s report no. 3 (2015-2016), Regulation of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Permits and Approvals

 Auditor-General’s report no. 9 (2015-2016), Test and Evaluation of Major Defence Equipment Acquisitions

Review of Independent Auditor’s Report On 17 March 2016, the Committee wrote to the Auditor-General, outlining the conclusions of its inquiry into the Independent Auditor’s report, Review of Communications Processes.

In this correspondence, the Committee expresses support for the Independent Auditor’s recommendations to improve the ANAO’s internal and external communications. The letter welcomes the ANAO’s progress in implementing the recommendations, and expresses the Committee’s interest in receiving further updates during its regular briefings with the ANAO.

Overseeing the Defence Major Projects Report

Report 458: Defence Major Projects Report (2014-15) On 5 May 2016, the Committee reported on its inquiry into the 2014-15 MPR, tabled by the ANAO on 15 January 2016. The MPR assessed the cost, schedule and

SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES FOR 2015-16 9

capability performance of 25 major Defence acquisition projects with a combined budget of $60.5 billion.

The Committee’s report addresses some particular projects, as well as connecting themes. The Committee’s primary concern is how frequently Defence projects are miscategorised, and hence how significantly projects are delayed. The report also set out the Committee’s concern that risk management and other governance processes are inconsistently applied across Defence projects. The report includes four recommendations from the Committee that relate to these concerns.

Endorsing the 2015-16 MPR Guidelines The ANAO submitted draft guidelines for the next MPR to the Committee on 21 September 2015. These guidelines defined selection criteria for the projects the MPR would examine, outlined Defence’s roles and responsibilities in the process, and provided an indicative timeline for tabling the MPR in November 2016. The draft guidelines also included a prospective list of 26 projects for consideration, with two removed from and three added to the 2014-15 MPR list.

The Committee endorsed the guidelines for the 2015-16 MPR on 26 October 2015. The guidelines will be published as part of the final MPR.

Inquiry into the development of the Commonwealth Performance Framework (CPF)

Reports 453 and 457—Development of the Commonwealth Performance Framework In December 2015 and May 2016, the Committee tabled its first and second reports as part of its ongoing inquiry into the development of the CPF.

The Committee views the CPF as an important tool in public sector performance management reform. In its reports, the Committee offers detailed analysis of how useful the CPF is—both for the Commonwealth entities to plan ahead and then assess their own performance, and for stakeholders to scrutinise entity performance. The Committee drove the inclusion of Portfolio Budget Statements as a critical planning element that Commonwealth entities should report on in their Annual Performance Statements, in addition to their Corporate Plans.

The Committee specifically commends the broad consultation undertaken in developing the CPF and the strong guidance documents that are available. The reports together make eight recommendations to further develop the framework and improve the way it is implemented across the public sector.

10 REPORT 459 - ANNUAL REPORT 2015-16

Responses to the Committee’s reports In 2015-16, the Committee received 27 responses to recommendations it had made as part of four inquiries (see Appendix). This includes one response received to supplement an earlier response, to recommendation 2 of the Committee’s Report 447 (AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14)). These responses are all published on the Committee’s website, on the pages of the relevant inquiries.

The government has committed—and the Committee expects—that Commonwealth entities will respond to its recommendations within six months. In 2015-16, 85 % of responses were submitted on time.

Other major Committee activities

Audit priorities of the Parliament On 11 May 2016, the Committee advised the Auditor-General of the audit priorities of the 44th Parliament for 2016-17 (see Box 1). The Committee determined these priorities following consultation with all other parliamentary committees, with reference to the ANAO’s draft Audit Work Program for 2016-17.

The Parliament identified 36 audits as priorities that were proposed in the ANAO’s draft Audit Work Program for 2016-17. The Parliament also identified several audit priorities that were not listed in the ANAO’s draft Audit Work Program for 2016-17.

The Committee emphasised its support for reviews in three strategic areas— defence, tax administration and cross entity audits. Audits in these strategic areas made up a quarter of the activities in the ANAO’s Audit Work Program for 2016- 17, published on 29 July 2016.

Review of the annual budget of the ANAO The Committee considered the ANAO’s proposed budget for 2016-17, following briefing on how the proposed budget would impact the ANAO’s capacity to undertake its functions. The Chair of the Committee tabled a statement in the House of Representatives on 3 May 2016 and a corresponding statement was delivered in the Senate.

Appointment of the Parliamentary Budget Officer On 17 March 2016, the Committee approved Mr Phil Bowen’s reappointment as Parliamentary Budget Officer for a further term of 12 months, commencing on 23 July 2016. Mr Bowen’s four-year term was due to expire during the 2016 Federal

SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES FOR 2015-16 11

election period; his reappointment ensured continuity of leadership for the PBO. The Parliamentary Services Act 1999 allows a Parliamentary Budget Officer to be reappointed, but they must not hold office for a total of more than 8 years. The Committee will consider the appointment of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, when Mr Bowen’s term expires on 23 July 2017.

Review of the annual budget and work plan of the PBO The Parliamentary Budget Officer submitted the PBO’s 2016-17 draft budget estimates on 15 February 2016, for the Committee’s consideration. As with the ANAO, the Committee received a briefing from the PBO on potential impacts of the proposed budget and considered the draft work plan for 2016-17. The Chair of the Committee made a statement to the House of Representatives on 3 May 2016 and a corresponding statement was delivered in the Senate.

Annual reporting requirements As part of its inquiry into the development of the CPF, the Committee approved the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendment (Corporate and Commonwealth Entity Annual Reporting) Rule 2016 (the Annual Reporting Rule). The Annual Reporting Rule sets out the requirements which will apply to all Commonwealth entities for their annual reports.

This was the first time these requirements became a formal, consolidated rule under the PGPA Act.

12 REPORT 459 - ANNUAL REPORT 2015-16

Box 1: Audit priorities of the 44th Parliament for 2016-17

Portfolio Priorities

Committee strategic focus: Defence

Implementation of the First Principles Review

Smart Sustainment

Future Submarine—Competitive Evaluation Process

Air Warfare Destroyer Program

Collins Class Submarine Sustainment

Delivering a Single Defence ICT Architecture

Committee strategic focus: Taxation The ATO’s Implementation of Audit Recommendations

Committee strategic focus: Cross entity audits

Procurement

Performance Statement Implementation by Commonwealth Entities

Corporate Plans of Commonwealth Entities

The Management of Risks by Commonwealth Entities

Agriculture and Water Resources Implementation of the Biosecurity Act 2015 Management of Biosecurity Compliance, Investigation and

Enforcement Arrangements

Attorney-General Managing Mental Health Issues in the Australian Federal Police

Communications and the Arts Administration of the NBN Satellite Support Service Scheme

Education and Training

Effectiveness of Grant Programs Administration-Follow-up Audit

Funding for Schools

Employment Compliance with Temporary Work Visa Conditions

Environment Greenhouse Gas Emissions—Accounting for Australia’s Reductions

Investments by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Administration of the Green Army Program

Finance Australian Electoral Commission’s Conduct of the 2016 Federal Election

SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES FOR 2015-16 13

Box 1: Audit priorities of the 44th Parliament for 2016-17

Portfolio Priorities

Foreign Affairs and Trade Strengthening Australia’s Tourism Industry Marketing and Promotion of Australia’s International

Education and Training Sector

Health Efficiency and Effectiveness of Primary Health Networks

Health Emergency Preparedness and Response

Industry, Innovation and Science Low Emissions Coal and Carbon Capture and Storage

Social Services Financial Stability of the National Disability Insurance Scheme: Decision Making Controls Used by the National Disability Insurance Agency

National Disability Insurance Scheme

Treasury Payments for Specific Purposes to the States and Territories

Veterans’ Affairs Integrity of Veterans’ Disability Support Services

Veterans’ Community Care and Support

External engagement, communication, and considering broader aspects of public administration

International engagement In 2015-16, the Committee made the most of opportunities to share with and learn from public administration committees of international parliaments. Committee members took part in a parliamentary committee exchange in September 2015 (see Box 2). In February 2016, the Committee met with members of the New Zealand government administration committee when they travelled to Australia.

The Committee attended a mid-term meeting of the Australasian Council of Public Accounts Committees (ACPAC) in April 2016. This event allowed the Committee to discuss matters of mutual concern with state and territory counterparts, including how to improve the quality and performance of Public Accounts Committees.

14 REPORT 459 - ANNUAL REPORT 2015-16

Box 2: Parliamentary committee exchange—New Zealand and Fiji Three members of the Committee travelled to Fiji and New Zealand in September 2015, as part of an annual parliamentary committee exchange. The exchange strengthens the links between the Australian and New Zealand parliaments, and allows Australian and New Zealand parliamentarians to explore issues of common interest. Since 2014, the exchange has been broadened to include one other Pacific region nation per trip—in this case, Fiji.

The delegation learned a great deal from their parliamentary counterparts.

Fiji’s Public Accounts Committee was examining Auditor-General’s reports presented to the new Parliament in 2014, some dating from 2007.

New Zealand’s Finance and Expenditure Committee engaged in a constructive discussion with the delegation on the roles and powers of the committees, government responses, and the implementation of audit recommendations.

The delegation discussed public sector reform, an important area of shared interest, with the New Zealand Treasury and State Services Commission. New Zealand is undertaking a major overhaul of its public sector management and financial framework. In particular, their Better Public Services initiative and Performance Improvement Framework impressed the delegation—the Committee has now sought advice about adopting parallel reforms in Australia.

The delegation also explored data integration; the process of linking together two or more datasets originally collected for different purposes. Statistics New Zealand is integrating data sources from agencies that provide health, education, and welfare services to the public, along with tax, employment, and crime data. By constructing a view across government, data integration can provide insights into improving social and economic outcomes. This allows agencies to invest resources accordingly and deliver better services to the public. The delegates are keen to hear from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to see whether this approach could work in Australia.

Senator Dean Smith

Chair

27 October 2016

A

Appendix

Table 1—in 2015-16, the Committee received 27 government responses or executive minutes to

recommendations it made in three reports.

Report Rec # Agreed

Received on time

Report 445 AG Reports 10-31 (2013-14) Rec 4 Y N/A

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 8 Y Y

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 8 Y N

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 2 Y Y

Report 4474 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 2 N/A N/A

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 5 Y Y

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 9 Y Y

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 7 Y Y

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 8 Y Y

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 2 Y N

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 3 Y N

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 8 Y N

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 8 Y Y

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 4 Y Y

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 6 Y Y

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 1 N Y

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 8 Y Y

Report 447 AG Reports no. 32-54 (2013-14) Rec 8 Y Y

4 This was an additional response provided voluntarily by the agency, subsequent to their initial

response. It contained extra detail on progress in implementing this recommendation.

16 REPORT 459 - ANNUAL REPORT 2015-16

Report Rec # Agreed

Received on time

Report 448 2013-14 DMO MPR Rec 1 Y Y

Report 449 AG Reports no. 1-23 (2014-15) Rec 1 Y Y

Report 449 AG Reports no. 1-23 2014-15 Rec 2 Y Y

Report 449 AG Reports no.1-23 2014-15 Rec 4 Y Y

Report 449 AG Reports no. 1-23 2014-15 Rec 5 Y Y

Report 449 AG Reports no. 1-23 2014-15 Rec 8 Y Y

Report 449 AG Reports no. 1-23 2014-15 Rec 6 Y Y

Report 449 AG Reports no. 1-23 2014-15 Rec 3 N Y

Report 449 AG Reports no. 1-23 2014-15 Rec 7 Y Y