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Financial management

We continue to maintain a strong focus on financial management, ensuring resources are utilised in the most efficient and effective manner to deliver the greatest benefit and impact for the Australian community.

Our financial results for 2019–20 are outlined in 05: Financial management. The operating loss for 2019–20 was $4.691 million and includes depreciation expense of $15.505 million, which is not funded by government appropriations.

We maintained sufficient cash through the year to fund our operations. There are adequate funds held in the Official Public Account as undrawn appropriations, which will be used to pay employee entitlements and other liabilities as and when they fall due.

In 2019–20, we reported no significant non-compliance with finance law.

Purchaser-provider arrangements

During 2019–20, we purchased IT services and a number of other administrative functions on a fee-for-service basis through a longstanding arrangement with the Technology Services Division within the Department of Education, Skills and Employment under a Memorandum of Understanding. The management of enterprise resource planning services was provided to the Entity on a fee-for-service basis under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Service Delivery Office within the Department of Finance.

Procurement initiatives to support small and medium enterprises

We support small business participation in the Commonwealth Government procurement market by:

  • reducing tendering burden through use of the Commonwealth Contracting Suite for low-risk procurements under $200,000
  • adhering to the Commonwealth’s 30-day payment policy
  • engaging with small business organisations to increase understanding of each other’s offerings and needs
  • using credit cards to facilitate on-time payments.

Small and medium enterprises (SME) and small enterprise participation statistics are available on the Department of Finance website (www.finance.gov.au).

We recognise the importance of ensuring that small businesses are paid on time. The results of the Survey of Australian Government Payments to Small Business are available on the Treasury website.

Procurement to support Indigenous enterprises

The Commonwealth Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) commenced on 1 July 2015. We amended our procurement policy and practices to meet the new requirements.

A total of 20 contracts were awarded to Indigenous suppliers during the year, totalling $302,431.34 (GST inclusive).

Consultants

We engage consultants if we need specialist expertise or independent research, reviews or assessments to support our decision-making. Providers are selected through open tender, pre-qualified tenders, limited tender or an established panel arrangement.

The decision to engage a consultant is made in accordance with the PGPA Act and related regulations, including the Commonwealth Procurement Rules and internal policies.

During 2019–20, 10 new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total expenditure of $607,908 (including GST). In addition, five ongoing consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving a total expenditure of $570,120.

Consultancy contract spending

2019–20

2018–19

2017-18

Number of new consultancy contracts

10

15

17

Value

$607,908

$1,161,328

$509,168

Information on the value of contracts and consultancies is available on the AusTender website.

There were no requests for exemption or exemptions given from publishing a contract on AusTender. All our contracts allow for the Auditor-General to access the contractor’s premises.

Grants

During 2019–20, the Entity continued to administer the Community Engagement Grants Program (CEGP). Grants under that program run for four years to 31 December 2020.

Information on grants awarded under the CEGP is available at www.fairwork.gov.au.

Grants were also directed to key employer and employee groups as part of the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds are to enable the groups to boost their member services and offer support and advice to employers and employees on their obligations and entitlements during the COVID-19 crisis.

Advertising and market research

Payments made to market research and media advertising organisations in 2019–20 are detailed in the table below.

Where the total amount paid to an organisation is less than $14,000, details have not been included, consistent with the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.

No advertising campaigns for which expenditure was greater than $250,000 were undertaken in 2019–20.

Market research, direct mail and media advertising contracts over $14,000 in 2019–20

Organisation

Service provided

Total paid in 2019–20 (GST inclusive)

Media advertising organisations

Universal McCann

Communications campaigns

$254,949

Universal McCann

Media advertising

$169,959

Market research

You1 Group

$52,479

Qualtrics

$37,579