Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Individual 2011–2012 Annual Reports

Reports under the Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education portfolio

Australian National University—annual report 2012

Reporting requirements

2.2        The committee considers that the Australian National University (ANU) has met its reporting requirements under the CAC Act and the Australian National University Act 1991.

2.3        The committee notes that the ANU's annual report was not tabled in the House of Representatives until 27 June 2013 and was not tabled in or presented to the Senate until 13 November 2013, after the commencement of the forty-fourth Parliament.

2.4        Although the ANU's annual report contains an index, the committee suggests that a compliance index be added to enhance the report's accessibility.

2.5        The committee is pleased with the annual report's inclusion of some amended statutory reporting requirements on such areas as work health and safety, environmental performance and freedom of information.[1]

2.6        In relation to disability reporting, the committee commends ANU for its inclusion of a comprehensive section detailing its commitment to providing access to staff and students, and its collaboration with stakeholders in the wider ACT community. In 2012, it successfully ran the pilot program 'Participation Assistants for Students with Asperger's Syndrome' to assist students with Asperger's Syndrome in their integration into university studies and life.[2]

Operational matters

2.7        The ANU topped the nation in the Commonwealth's Excellence in Research for Australia ratings and has been awarded nearly $37 million by the Australian Research Council to fund one hundred projects spanning a variety of disciplines.[3]

2.8        The ANU also further demonstrated its commitment to public policy through the renaming and expansion of the Crawford School of Public Policy and the establishment of the ANU Public Policy Fellows Program.[4]

IIF Investments Pty Limited—annual report 2011–12

Reporting requirements

2.9                  The committee considers that IIF Investments Pty Ltd as a wholly owned Commonwealth company limited by shares has met its overall reporting requirements under the Corporations Act 2001 and the CAC Act, including the requirements set out in the Commonwealth Companies (Annual Reporting) Orders 2011.

2.10      The annual report does not contain a compliance index, which as noted by the committee in previous years, was also the case with 2009–10 and 2010–11 annual reports. A compliance index would be a useful addition as it would enable readers to better navigate the report, particularly given that the company is required to comply with two separate acts.

Operational matters

2.11      IIF Investments Pty Ltd is the only company remaining from the original five IIF companies established as a mechanism to deliver the government's capital into the venture capital funds licensed under Rounds 1 and 2 of the Innovation Investment Fund, the Pre-Seed Fund and the Renewable Energy Equity Fund programs.[5] The other four programs were voluntarily deregistered through the Australian Investments and Securities Commission in 2010 and 2011.[6] The board has been advised that changing the arrangements for funds invested by IIF Investments Pty Ltd may have unintended tax consequences and as such, both the board and department have concluded that there is no choice but to maintain IIF Investments Pty Ltd and it is unlikely that the company will be wound up.[7]

Innovation Australia—annual report 2011–12

Reporting requirements

2.12      The committee considers that Innovation Australia has met its reporting requirements under the Industry Research and Development Act 1986.

2.13      The committee notes that again (as in the 2009–10 and 2010–11 annual reports) there is no date on the letter of transmittal. The letter should be dated in full on the day the signatory approves the final text of the report.

2.14      The committee also notes that although the report indicates that it was prepared in accordance with identified sections of the Industry Research and Development Act 1986 data, it would be better if this information were set out in the form of a compliance index.

Operational matters

2.15      During the reporting period 2011–12, Innovation Australia and its predecessor, the Industry Research and Development Board, celebrated its 25th anniversary with the publication Twenty-five years of Innovation in Australia. The publication recognised the important role innovation has played in the development of new industries and a better quality of life in Australia.[8] Functions in Brisbane and Perth were held to raise awareness of the role of innovation in lifting productivity and economic growth in Australia. A showcase event in Brisbane, Australia: People Making the Difference, highlighted the benefits of investment in innovation for society. In Perth, Innovation Australia met with business leaders and key industry stakeholders and discussed Australian Government initiatives that encourage innovation.[9]

2.16      Innovation Australian worked in partnership with DIISRTE to design three new programs under the government's Clean Energy Future plan; the Clean Technology Investment Program, the Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program and the Clean Technology Innovation Program.[10]

2.17             On 24 August 2011, the Tax Laws Amendment (Research and Development) Bill 2010 was passed in Parliament. The R&D Tax Incentive replaced the R&D Tax Concession for income years commencing on or after 1 July 2012.[11]

2.18      Other highlights and developments mentioned in the report included: Innovation Australia's continued advocacy role and its international collaboration with representatives from governments and private organisations[12]; Commercialisation Australia Board's approval of 185 applications with a total value of $71.23 million to support talented researchers, entrepreneurs and firms to build sustainable businesses by converting innovative intellectual property into successful commercial ventures[13]; and staffing changes, including new appointments to the Innovation Australia Board.[14]

Reports under the Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio

Australian Centre for Renewable Energy Board—annual report 2011–12

Reporting requirements

2.19      The committee considers that the final Australian Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) Board report, prepared by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), meets the requirements set out in Section 26 of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2011.

2.20      The committee notes that the report does not contain a compliance index.

Operational matters

2.21      Due to the government's announcement on 10 July 2011 that it would establish ARENA on 1 July 2012 as part of the Clean Energy Future Plan, a significant portion of the ACRE Board's work during the 2011–12 year comprised preparing various programs and projects for potential transfer to ARENA.[15] The ACRE Board took away several lessons from this experience and recommended that ARENA continue to invest time early on in strategy and development and undertake widespread consultation prior to implementing new programs.[16]

Snowy Hydro Ltd —Consolidated financial report for the reporting period 3 July 2011 to 30 June 2012

Reporting requirements

2.22      The committee considers that Snowy Hydro Ltd has met its requirements under the Corporations Act 2001 and the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997, noting that as a statutory corporation and a company limited by shares it is not subject to the PM&C guidelines for annual reports.

2.23      The committee notes there is no date on the letter of transmittal. The letter should be dated in full on the day the signatory approves the final text of the report.

Operational matters

2.24      The report outlines the 2011–12 financial performance of Snowy Hydro Ltd and that of its active wholly owned controlled entities; Red Energy Pty Ltd, Valley Power Pty Ltd, and various inactive subsidiaries. The consolidated entity owns, manages and maintains the Snowy Mountains Hydro-scheme and two power stations in Victoria, and for the reporting period ending 30 June 2012, the net profit after tax was $258.8 million.[17]

Reports under the Treasury portfolio

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority — annual report 2011–12

Reporting requirements

2.25      The committee considers that the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has met its reporting requirements under the FMA Act and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Act 1998.

2.26      The committee is pleased to note APRA's inclusion of statutory reporting information covering work health and safety, freedom of information, environmental performance and advertising and market research.[18]

2.27      In relation to consultancy reporting, APRA noted that it engages consultants where it lacks specialist expertise or when independent research, review or assessment is required, and it takes into account the skills and resources available in-house prior to engaging external expertise. During the reporting period, APRA'S total expenditure on consultancies was $3.11 million. Of those, 13 were ongoing consultancy contracts valued at $2.05 million and 35 were new consultancy contracts valued at $1.06 million.[19]

2.28      The committee commends APRA on the inclusion of a comprehensive compliance index.

Operational matters

2.29      In 2011–12 APRA participated in the second review of Australia under the International Monetary Fund's Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), which evaluates the strength and potential vulnerabilities of a country's financial system and regulatory architecture. Although the FSAP report had not yet been finalised at the time of the printing of the annual report, APRA noted that preliminary indications suggested a strong endorsement.[20]

2.30      APRA welcomed the new four year funding arrangement to begin in 2012–13, noting that it would ensure APRA's continued capacity to supervise the Australian financial system.[21]

Foreign Investments Review Board — annual report 2011–12

Reporting requirements

2.31      The committee notes that the annual reports of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) are not statutorily mandated, but prepared in accordance with the Board's responsibility to advise the Government on foreign investment matters.

Operational matters

2.32      In 2011–12, FIRB examined a range of high profile investment applications, including in the resources sector which made up the majority of business applications, continuing the trend from previous years.[22] In relation to investment application approvals by sector, the real estate sector passed the mineral exploration and development sector as the largest industry sector by value of approvals.[23]

2.33      The United States of America was again the largest source of proposed foreign investment, followed by the United Kingdom, China, Japan and Canada.[24] FIRB welcomed the announcement of a Commonwealth foreign ownership register for agricultural land and noted it was assisting the working group established to develop the register.[25]

2.34      As noted in Chapter 1 of this report, FIRB's annual report was the subject of discussion in the Senate on 27 and 28 February 2013.

Senator David Bushby
Chair

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