Finance’s operations are subject to scrutiny from a number of external bodies, among them the Australian National Audit Office, various parliamentary committees, the courts and administrative tribunals, the Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner and the Commonwealth Ombudsman. This section reports on audits, inquiries, reviews and legal actions relevant to Finance in 2018–19.
Judicial and administrative decisions
Commonwealth of Australia v. Davis Samuel Pty Ltd & Ors
This matter relates to civil proceedings to recover $8.725 million that was fraudulently transferred from the Commonwealth in 1998 and subsequently distributed to several third parties. All criminal proceedings were completed in 2006.
The Commonwealth has been successful in its claims against 13 defendants and has recovered more than $7.638 million as at 30 June 2019. The Commonwealth is continuing its recovery action against interests in land. Recovery action has been taken against all judgment debtors. The Commonwealth is also defending appeals by four judgment debtors that seeks to have their bankruptcy set aside. The appeals were heard by the Full Federal Court on 12 August 2019. Judgement was reserved. The remaining debtors are under insolvent administration.
Liverpool City Council and Canterbury–Bankstown City Council v. Commonwealth of Australia
On 8 February 2017, Liverpool City Council and Canterbury–Bankstown City Council commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales listing the Commonwealth as the defendant in relation to a dispute involving the Voyager Point footbridge project.
The project concerned the design and construction of a new footbridge across the Georges River from East Hills to Voyager Point to replace the previous footbridge which was closed because of safety issues. On completion, responsibility for the new footbridge was to be transferred to Liverpool City Council and Bankstown City Council. The proceedings were ongoing at the conclusion of the 2018–19 reporting period, however the matter was subsequently resolved in September 2019.
Administrative tribunal decisions
In 2018–19, there were no decisions of an administrative tribunal that had a significant effect on the operations of the Department.
Australian Information Commissioner decisions
In 2018–19, there were no decisions by the Australian Information Commissioner that involved the Department or that had, or might have, a significant impact on the Department’s operations.
Australian Privacy Commissioner decisions
In 2018–19, there were no decisions by the Australian Privacy Commissioner that involved the Department or that had, or might have, a significant impact on the Department’s operations.