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Audit Committee reports on Commonwealth performance reporting inquiry

Parliament of Australia 2 mins read

The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) has tabled its report for its inquiry into the 2021–22 Annual Performance Statements audits by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). The Committee’s report focused on issues raised in the report, such as the impact of Machinery of Government changes, and the ANAO’s conduct of these audits, including the scheduling of these audits.  

The Chair of the JCPAA, Mr Julian Hill MP said that “performance reporting may not be the most exciting of topics, but for public sector agencies charged with serious responsibilities and entrusted with spending billions of dollars wisely it really, really matters. Unlike financial reporting, which has been subject to ANAO audits for decades, performance reporting has been underdeveloped and under resourced.”

“Plainly speaking, while Australians can trust the accounts of government departments as they are thoroughly audited, for too long the Parliament and the public have had no reliable way of knowing whether what agencies report in their performance statements is true or not. Do all those often mind-numbing KPIs and measures fairly represent what an agency does? Are there actually data sources underneath all the reports? Are they a fair measure of what’s been achieved, or did someone fudge the books?”

“The ANAO’s 2021–22 Annual Performance Statements audits showed a clear improvement in the performance reporting and highlighted a number of key issues, such the lack of verifiable methodologies or supporting information for performance measures, as well as valuable examples of better practice.”

Mr Hill said that “the Committee was concerned with the current need for performance statements audits to be requested by the Finance Minister before the ANAO can begin their work. This is an unnecessary process that can significantly delay these audits, and should be removed.”

The Committee’s report makes four recommendations to improve the process and impact of performance statements audits.

The Committee’s interim report and further information on the inquiry is available on the Committee website.

Media inquiries

Mr Julian Hill MP, Chair of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit on
(03) 9791 7770 (Electorate Office).

For background information

Committee Secretariat
02 6277 4615
jcpaa@aph.gov.au

For more information about this Committee, you can visit its website. On the site, you can make a submission to an inquiry, read other submissions, and get details for upcoming public hearings. You can also track the Committee and receive email updates by clicking on the blue ‘Track this Committee’ button in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.

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