House of Representatives Committees
Inquiry into the Auditor-General Act 1997
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Terms of Reference
The Auditor-General Act 1997
was enacted in October 1997, replacing the Audit Act 1901
. The Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO’s) audit independence and mandate were strengthened and the Auditor-General became an ‘Independent Officer of the Parliament’. The amendments reflected many of the recommendations made by the Committee in its October 1996 report Guarding the Independence of the Auditor-General
On 25 February 2009, the Committee resolved to review and report on whether the provisions of the Auditor-General Act 1997 remain adequate in the modern public sector environment, including but not limited to:
- a) whether the Act’s focus on the Auditor-General’s traditional assurance audit and performance audit roles gives the ANAO sufficient legislative backing for newer functions, for example the Defence “Major Projects Report” and, from July 2008, the Auditor-General’s reviews of government advertising to give the public confidence that campaigns are legitimately authorised, properly targeted and non political;
- b) any amendments necessary to clarify the ANAO’s rights and obligations in relation to conducting audits and reviews;
- c) whether there should be changes to the categories of agencies that the Auditor-General audits, in particular section 16 of the Act which limits the Auditor-General’s capacity to audit Government Business Enterprises (GBEs)
- d) any proposed amendments to the Act which would strengthen the audit independence of the ANAO and the Auditor-General’s capacity to fulfil his role as an Independent Officer of the Parliament; and
- e) the Auditor-General’s capacity to examine the financial and performance outcomes from Commonwealth investments in the private sector and Commonwealth grants made to State and local governments.
The inquiry shall have regard to the recommendations made by the Committee in its August 2001 Report 386: Review of the Auditor-General Act 1997 and the consequent amendments to the Act made by the Auditor-General Amendment Act 2009.
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