Reports by the Auditor-General
Reports by the Auditor-General
In 2020–21, the Australian National Audit Office tabled 11 reports in parliament that involved the Department—five performance audits, one financial statements audit and five assurance reviews:
- Auditor-General Report No. 1: Advances to the Finance Minister for the Period 30 May 2020 to 26 June 2020
- Auditor-General Report No. 3: Advances to the Finance Minister for the Period 27 June 2020 to 31 July 2020
- Auditor-General Report No. 4: Establishment and Use of ICT Related Procurement Panels and Arrangements
- Auditor-General Report No. 7: Advances to the Finance Minister for the Period 1 August 2020 to 28 August 2020
- Auditor-General Report No. 8: Administration of Financial Disclosure Requirements under the Commonwealth Electoral Act
- Auditor-General Report No. 9: Purchase of ‘Leppington Triangle’ Land for the Future Development of Western Sydney Airport
- Auditor-General Report No. 13: Advances to the Finance Minister for the Period 29 August 2020 to 25 September 2020
- Auditor-General Report No. 15: Advances to the Finance Minister for the Period 26 September 2020 to 30 October 2020
- Auditor-General Report No. 25: Audits of the Financial Statements of Australian Government Entities for the Period Ended 30 June 2020
- Auditor-General Report No. 33: Administration of Parliamentary Expenses by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority
- Auditor-General Report No. 40: Interim Report on Key Financial Controls of Major Entities
Reports by the Commonwealth Ombudsman
In 2020–21, the Commonwealth Ombudsman did not release any reports that involved the Department or that had, or might have, a significant impact on the Department’s operations.
Senate Standing Committees on Finance and Public Administration
The Senate Standing Committees on Finance and Public Administration cover the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Finance portfolios. The work is divided between two committees—the Legislation Committee and the References Committee.
Finance appeared before the Legislation Committee at its Senate Estimates hearings of 21–22 October 2020, 23 March 2021 and 26–27 May 2021.
On 5 August 2020, Finance attended a hearing of the Inquiry into Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendment (Tax Transparency in Procurement and Grants) Bill 2019.
On 19 February 2021, Finance provided a submission to the Inquiry into the planning, construction and management of the Western Sydney Airport project.
On 1 March 2021, Finance provided a submission to the Inquiry into the current capability of the Australian Public Service. On 5 March 2021, Finance attended a hearing as part of the same inquiry.
Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit
The Public Accounts and Audit Committee Act 1951 constitutes the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA). The JCPAA initiates inquiries into public administration matters and can conduct inquiries into matters referred to it by either house of Parliament.
During 2020–21, Finance had a series of engagements with the JCPAA as detailed below. Finance provided information to the JCPAA as part of its ongoing relationship, including responses to questions taken on notice during public hearings and provided in writing.
- On 21 December 2020, the Secretary provided an Executive Minute addressing Recommendations 3 and 4 of Report 481: Efficiency and Effectiveness—Inquiry into Auditor-General's Reports 25, 29, 38, 42, 44, 45 and 51 (2018–19).
- On 29 January 2021, Finance provided a submission to the Inquiry into Governance in the Stewardship of Public Resources, based on Auditor-General Report 31 (2019–20): Management of Defence Housing Australia. On 14 April 2021, Finance attended a hearing as part of the same inquiry.
- On 3 March 2021, Finance attended a hearing under the Review of the Auditor-General Act 1997.
The Department has an active relationship with the JCPAA in its general oversight role of the PGPA Act. The JCPAA is consulted on amendments to the rules under the PGPA Act and has a specific role in approving amendments that relate to the annual report rule under the PGPA Act.
Finance also attended hearings or provided submissions to the following parliamentary committees in 2020–21:
- Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters:
- Inquiry into the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2020 (submission provided on 3 July 2020).
- Inquiry into Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Ensuring Fair Representation of the Northern Territory) Bill 2020 (attended hearing on 21 July 2020).
- Inquiry on the future conduct of elections operating during times of emergency situations (attended hearing on 18 November 2020).
- Senate Environment and Communications References Committee: Inquiry into the Future of Australia Post’s service delivery (submission provided on 3 July 2020, attended hearing on 8 July 2020)
- Senate Select Committee on Administration of Sports Grants: Inquiry into the Administration of Sports Grants (attended hearing on 22 July 2020)
- Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade: Inquiry into the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for Australia’s foreign affairs, defence and trade (attended hearing on 25 August 2020)
- Senate Select Committee on Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation: Inquiry into the exemption of delegated legislation from parliamentary oversight (provided submission on 27 August 2020, attended hearing on 3 September 2020)
- Senate Select Committee on COVID-19: Inquiry into the Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic (attended hearing on 10 September 2020)
- Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee: Inquiry into the future of Australia’s aviation sector, in the context of COVID-19 and conditions post pandemic (submission provided on 18 December 2020, attended hearing on 4 March 2021)
- Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee: Inquiry into the Judges’ Pensions Amendment (Pension Not Payable for Misconduct) Bill 2020 (attended hearing on 23 April 2021)
- Senate Environment and Communications References Committee: Inquiry into Australia Post (submission provided on 19 March 2021, attended hearing on 27 April 2021).
Finance’s submissions, responses to questions taken on notice (written and taken during hearings) and the transcripts of committee hearings are available on the Parliament of Australia website.
In addition to attending scheduled hearings, the Department also participated in a number of private briefings with parliamentary committees during the reporting period.