The Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee (the
committee) is responsible for examining the annual reports of the parliamentary
and the departments and agencies of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio
and the Finance and Deregulation Portfolio.
This is the second report on annual reports for 2013 and provides an
overview of the annual reports for the 2011–12
financial year presented to the Parliament between 1 November 2012 and 30 April 2013.
Copies of this and other committee reports can be obtained from the Senate
Table Office, the committee secretariat or online at the committee's web page.
Terms of reference
Under Senate Standing Order 25(20) the annual reports of certain
departments and agencies stand referred to committees for examination and
assessment. The standing order states that each committee is required to:
- examine each
annual report referred to it and report to the Senate whether the report is
- consider in more
detail, and report to the Senate on each annual report which is not apparently
satisfactory, and on the other annual reports which it selects for more
- investigate and
report to the Senate on any lateness in the presentation of annual reports;
- in considering
an annual report take into account any relevant remarks about the report made
in debate in the Senate;
- if the committee
so determines, consider annual reports of departments and budget–related
agencies in conjunction with examination of estimates;
- report on annual
reports tabled by 31 October each year by the tenth sitting day of the
following year, and on annual reports tabled by 30 April each year by the tenth
sitting day after 30 June of that year;
- draw to the
attention of the Senate any significant matters relating to the operations and
performance of the bodies furnishing the annual reports; and
- report to the
Senate each year whether there are any bodies which do not present annual
reports to the Senate and which should present such reports.
Annual reports presented
The following annual reports of the Commonwealth Superannuation
Corporation (CSC) were not examined by the committee:
- CSC Annual Report to Parliament 2011–12 – DFRB Scheme, DFRDB
Scheme and DFSPB;
- CSC Annual Report to Parliament 2011–12 – MilitarySuper.
Although CSC is an agency within the Finance and Deregulation Portfolio,
these reports cover the military superannuation schemes
and, in accordance with the legislation administered by the Minister for
Defence under the Administrative Arrangements Order, were referred to the
Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee for examination
The committee is not obliged to examine reports on the operation of Acts,
statements of corporate intent, surveys, policy papers, budget documents,
corporate plans or errata. Five documents in these categories were referred to
the committee but not examined in this report (see Appendix 1).
Standing Order 25(20)(h) requires that the committee inquire into, and
report on, any bodies which do not present annual reports to the Senate but
should present such reports. On this occasion, the committee makes no
recommendation for any organisations not presenting an annual report to do so.
The Government provided a response to the committee's Report on
Annual Reports (No. 1 of 2012) on 16 May 2013. The Government agreed with
the committee's recommendation that a list of all departments and agencies
required to report on social inclusion outcomes should be published on the Australian
Government social inclusion website. The committee further notes, however, that
following the most recent changes to the Administration Arrangements Order, the
Social Inclusion Unit was disbanded and the website was closed from 14 October
The committee will monitor this development in relation to the reporting
Public Governance, Performance and
Accountability Act 2013
The committee notes that the Public
Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act)
received Royal Assent on 29 June 2013. The PGPA Act is expected to replace the Financial
Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) and the CAC Act from 1
Section 46 of the PGPA Act deals with the annual reporting requirements
for Commonwealth entities.
The committee considers there is a need for clarity with regard to
section 46 of the PGPA Act concerning the annual report tabling deadline. This
section provides for a date that the annual report must be given to the
responsible minister but fails to specify a date for the presentation of annual
reports of Commonwealth entities to the Parliament.
The committee notes that this may be addressed in the forthcoming regulations
and/or guidelines which will be provided to the Joint Committee on Public
Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) for review. The committee will write to the JCPAA
and draw this matter to its attention to form part of its review and will
continue to monitor the development of annual reporting requirements.
Senator Cory Bernardi
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