Senate debates

Wednesday, 6 December 2017


Public Accounts and Audit Committee; Report

5:44 pm

Photo of Dean SmithDean Smith (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

On behalf of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, I present report No. 469, Commonwealth performance frameworkInquiry based on Auditor-General's report No. 31 of 2015-16 and Nos 6 and 58 of 2016-17, as well as executive minutes and responses on various reports.

Ordered that the report be printed.

I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

I seek leave to incorporate the tabling statement in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows—

Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit - Tabling Statement - JCPAA Report 469: Commonwealth Performance Framework—Inquiry based on Auditor-General's Reports 31 (2015-16), and 6 and 58 (2016-17)

I present the report from the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, titled Commonwealth Performance Framework.

This report sets out the findings of the Committee's inquiry based on the following Audit Reports:

    Implementation of the Annual Performance Statements Requirements
    Corporate Planning in the Australian Public Sector
    Administration of the Higher Education Loan Program Debt and Repayments

The Commonwealth performance framework requires Commonwealth entities to produce corporate plans, Portfolio Budget Statements, annual reports and annual performance statements. Improving this framework, to ensure line of sight between the use of public resources and the outcomes achieved by Commonwealth entities, has been a long-term focus of the Committee.

To build on momentum in the implementation of the Commonwealth performance framework, the Committee has recommended that the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013—the 1 of 3

PGPA Act—be amended to enable mandatory annual audits of performance statements by the Auditor-General, with Commonwealth entities to be consulted on the implementation timeframe. Mandatory audits will provide the necessary incentive in the system to ensure the quality of that reporting is of the required standard. The Parliament and the Australian public would then receive the same assurance on non­financial performance reporting as on financial reporting, where an independent audit is mandatory.

Moving towards a mandatory system similar to financial auditing will take some time, to enable entities to build capability and establish effective processes. The Committee seeks to establish the framework to enable this transition process to commence.

The Committee supports the Auditor-General's position that, in the interim, the Australian National Audit Office—the ANAO—should continue to build on its audit methodology in this area so that it is positioned to audit annual performance statements in a similar way to the audit of financial statements, when required to do so. Pending this requirement, the ANAO would continue to consider entity implementation of the PGPA Act through its annual work program.

The Committee has also recommended that:

        Corporate Planning,

      management teams are working to embed the corporate planning requirements;

          In its report, the Committee also concluded that the Department of Education and Training could improve its performance reporting for the Higher Education Loan Program. The Committee endorsed the ANAO finding that the department and the Australian Taxation Office should broaden the range of program information reported publicly, making a recommendation on this matter.

          In conclusion, I would like to extend my thanks to all members of the Committee for their deliberations during this inquiry.

          I commend the report to the Senate.

          Question agreed to.