Chapter 2 Legislative support for new functions
Part 4 of the Auditor-General Act 1997 sets out the main
functions and powers of the Auditor-General. The main functions include
undertaking financial statement audits, performance audits, audits by
arrangement, and functions under other Acts.
Traditionally, the primary functions performed by the Auditor-General
have included the auditing of financial statements
and performance audits. More recently, however,
the Auditor-General has taken on a range of individual assurance activities (or
audits by arrangement).
These assurance activities generally consist of reviews undertaken by
agreement with the client, either at the request of the client or in response
to requests from stakeholders, including Ministers and parliamentary committees.
These assurance activities may be handled through the publication of a formal
report or by correspondence as determined by the relevant arrangement.
Currently the main assurance activity the ANAO is engaged in is the
annual assurance review of the Defence Major Projects Report (MPR). The MPR
reports on the status of selected Defence equipment acquisition projects.
From July 2008 to March 2010, the Auditor-General was also involved in
reviews of government advertising. The focus of these reviews was to allow the
Auditor-General to express a conclusion as to whether anything had arisen to
indicate that government advertising campaigns did not comply with the relevant
Assurance activities such as the MPR (and the reviews of government
advertising previously) are carried out under section 20 of the Act (Audits
etc. by arrangement) and in accordance with the ANAO’s Auditing Standards.
These standards include the Standard on Assurance Engagements ASAE 3000 Assurance
Engagements Other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information
issued by the Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board.
Assurance activities of this kind provide a different level of assurance
to that provided by financial statement, and performance audits.