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Legislative framework and external scrutiny

Austrade operates under the following legislation:

  • Australian Trade and Investment Commission Act 1985—defines the functions, duties and powers of the CEO and the commission
  • Export Market Development Grants Act 1997—provides for the Export Market Development Grants scheme, the government’s principal export market assistance program, which is administered by Austrade
  • Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013—provides the framework for the proper management of public money and property
  • Public Service Act 1999—governs the establishment and operation of, and employment in, the Australian Public Service.

INDEPENDENT AUDITS

Austrade was not subject to Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) performance audits during 2019–20.

ANAO better practice guidelines encourage agencies to consider relevant ANAO reports on other agencies to improve public administration across Australian Government agencies. During 2019–20, Austrade reviewed 42 ANAO reports (11 from 2018–19 and 31 from 2019–20) and implemented relevant recommendations into Austrade’s operations.

GRANTS

Information on grants awarded by Austrade during 2019–20 is available on the GrantConnect website, grants.gov.au.

JUDICIAL DECISIONS, AND DECISIONS OF ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS AND THE AUSTRALIAN INFORMATION COMMISSIONER

During the reporting period, there were no judicial decisions or reviews by outside bodies that had a significant impact on the operations of Austrade.

At 30 June 2020, five appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal under the Export Market Development Grants Act 1997 were in progress.

Austrade is currently subject to review by the Australian Information Commissioner of one freedom of information decision under the Freedom of Information Act 1982. This review is ongoing and not yet finalised.

PRIVACY

Austrade did not receive any complaints under the Privacy Act 1988 during 2019–20.

Austrade has implemented the requirements of the Australian Government Agencies Privacy Code, including the appointment of a privacy officer and a privacy champion, as well as the introduction of privacy impact assessments and a public register of those assessments. A privacy impact assessment systematically identifies the impact a project might have on the privacy of individuals, and sets out recommendations for managing, minimising or eliminating that impact. Austrade completed 23 privacy impact assessments during 2019– 20, as well as nine threshold assessments that determined it was not necessary to undertake the remaining steps in a privacy impact assessment.

Austrade is also aware of the requirements under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As part of Austrade’s responsibilities in raising privacy awareness, information is provided to all staff in relation to the GDPR, as well as guidance to staff in responding to queries from Austrade clients about the GDPR.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

Agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are required to publish information as part of the Information Publication Scheme. This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act, which has replaced the formal requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report. Austrade meets its obligations under the FOI Act by displaying on its website, austrade.gov.au, a plan showing what information is published in accordance with the requirements of the Information Publication Scheme. Austrade also participates in the Information Publication Scheme agency survey administered by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

In addition, Austrade publishes a freedom of information disclosure log on its website, listing information that has been released in response to a freedom of information access request. Austrade received 12 formal freedom of information requests in 2019–20, in addition to several consultation requests from other Commonwealth and state agencies.