Chapter 3 - Annual reports of statutory authorities and agencies
The committee has selected a number of annual reports for closer
examination. The annual reports selected provide an overview of all portfolios
and include specific areas of interest to the committee. The committee will
give consideration to annual reports received after 31 October 2010 in its Report
on Annual Reports (No.2) 2011. On this occasion, the reports of the
following statutory authorities and agencies will be examined:
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare;
- Health Workforce Australia;
Indigenous Business Australia;
- Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace; and
A complete list of reports referred to the committee for examination and
report can be found at Appendix 1.
Health and Ageing Portfolio
Australian Institute of Health and
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) produces national
information and statistics on health, community services and housing
assistance. AIHW published 119 reports throughout the year including
Australia's welfare 2009 and Australia's health 2010.
The Institute has taken a leadership role in the development and
reporting of data for the national performance indicators required by the COAG
reform process. To meet the increased demand in AIHW services, largely due to
the COAG reform, staff numbers increased by about a third, from 270 to 372 in
the course of the year which necessitated the leasing of a new building (next
to the primary one). As a result of these developments, the AIHW's
appropriation was more than twice the amount of the previous year, growing from
$9.3 million to $20.7 million.
Chapter 2 of the report discusses in further detail AIHW's performance
against each strategic direction; key deliverables and performance indicators
included in the PBS; as well as a summary of financial results.
Health Workforce Australia
The committee notes this is Health Workforce Australia's (HWA) first
annual report. HWA was established to oversee the COAG Health Workforce
national Partnership Agreement which aims to increase the supply of health
professionals by providing them with individual support and assisting them to
work together, and improve the care people receive.
Health Workforce Australia was established in early 2010 by the Council
of Australian Governments to deliver programs in workforce planning, workforce
research, support clinical training and education, support innovation in the
health workforce and aid recruitment and retention of health professionals.
HWA is a cross-jurisdictional body operating in both government and
The committee encourages HWA to comply with the Printing standards
for documents presented to Parliament, which specify that all documents to
be presented in Parliament must be printed in international B5 size.
Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Portfolio
Indigenous Business Australia (IBA)
The committee commends the IBA for producing a clear, concise and well
constructed annual report. The compliance index greatly assisted the committee
in determining whether reporting requirements had been met. The committee
found reporting on all legislative requirements to be of a high standard. The
committee congratulates IBA on its 20 years of operation.
The committee found IBA's reporting on performance to be of a high
standard, noting the use of tables as a helpful component in establishing
whether the PBS targets had been met. The committee notes within Home
Ownership – Output Group 1.2, IBA has exceeded the PBS targets. IBA attributes
this to an 'increased focus on low-income earners', allowing the percentage of
loans to applicants with an adjusted combined gross monthly income of not more
than 125 per cent increase from 83 per cent in 2007-08 to 88 per cent in
2009-10, and the percentage of loans to first home buyers from 86 to 92 per
IBA regard home ownership as being high on the national agenda and identifies
it as one of the priorities in the Council of Australian Governments' Closing
the Gap agenda.
For the financial year 2009-10, IBA reported a $56.5 million deficit.
However the committee notes Mr Bruce Gemmell, Chief Executive Officer, and his
explanation that the results are:
...[H]eavily impacted by the non-cash effect of accounting
standards (which requires the value of IBA loans to be discounted to reflect
the concessional element of interest rates charged) and write-down of the
holding value of some investments. Results were also impacted by the transfer
Taking into account these effects, the results before accounting for the
'one-off or extraordinary items' were a modest surplus.
Human Services Portfolio
Australian Hearing Services (AHS) has a national network of hearing
centres as well as a research division, the national Acoustic Laboratories. The
two key programs administered by AHS are the Community Service Obligation (CSO)
program and the commercial Voucher program. The CSO program caters to children
under 21, Indigenous adults over 50 and adults with complex hearing needs.
This year the CSO client numbers increased by 7.5 per cent with a significant
increase of 25.9 per cent in the Indigenous aided children category and 16.3
per cent for the Indigenous Eligibility clients.
AHS fitted 2,035 children and young adults with hearing aids for the
first time in the 2009 calendar year, of which 310 were Indigenous clients.
In response to the government's Closing the Gap initiative, AHS expanded its
services to an additional 400 children across Top End and Central Desert
This year AHS reported a profit of $13.2 million, surpassing the
targeted range of $11.4 million and an increase of 15 per cent on the previous
financial year. As well as a useful summary on financial performance, the
report clearly presents the audited financial statements.
The committee commends AHS on its efforts to comply with the
requirements contained in the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Report of
Operations) Orders 2008, and the inclusion of a compliance index.
Equal Opportunity for Women in the
Workplace Agency (EOWA)
The committee notes Part III, Subsection 12(1) of the Equal
Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999, which requires EOWA as
soon as practicable, and in any event within 6 months, after each 31 May, to
submit to the Minister a report on its operations. The committee finds EOWA's
annual report 2009-10 to have complied with that requirement, noting the report
was received by the Senate on 21 December 2010 (tabled 9 February 2011).
The committee notes the annual report does not contain a list of
requirements, as set out in the Requirements for Annual Reports and reminds
EOWA that the inclusion of this list would greatly assist the committee.
The committee appreciates EOWA's report on performance, provided in a clear
format, with the use of tables; however the outcomes could have a clearer
indication of whether or not these were achieved.
In accordance with Subsection 19(1), EOWA is required to name
organisations that have not complied with Sections 13, 13A, 13B and 13C of the
EOWA lists 12 organisations, noting the number of years the organisation has
been found to be non-compliant.
The committee notes EOWA has included reporting against the following
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
(EPBC Act) section 516A;
- Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) subsection 8(1);
- Occupational Health and Safety (Commonwealth Employment) Act
1991 (OH&S Act) section 74.
However the committee reminds EOWA that under the Requirements for
Annual Reports and section 18 of the CAC Orders, an assessment of an agency's
performance in implementing the Commonwealth Disability Strategy (the Strategy)
must be provided in accordance with the terms set out in the Guide to
Performance Reporting Framework.
The committee notes the implementation of the Government's service
delivery reform agenda, which includes the portfolio integration of the
Department of Human Services, Medicare Australia and Centrelink. This includes
spreading staff and responsibilities across a number of areas. The committee
notes that Centrelink reports that this process went smoothly.
The committee finds Centrelink's annual report provides a large amount
of information in an effective and clear manner. The committee commends
Centrelink on the inclusion and quality of its compliance index, as it greatly
assisted the committee in establishing whether all reporting requirements had
Centrelink highlights measures in place to simplify and automate
services as a key achievement. Simplifying and automating services gives
customers several options in the method of carrying out a number of tasks,
- Self-service printing for income statements;
- Applications for payment and rent certificates;
- Applications for advance payments;
Reporting income statements; and
- Online registration for Newstart Allowance.
Centrelink reports that implementing online services has reduced the
time customers need to spend filling out forms and the need for staff to
process hard copies. Online services also reduce the length of queues in
Customer Service Centres.
The committee notes that the report on performance is thorough and
covers a large range of areas. The report would benefit if the performance
reporting data were collated and combined into a central part of the report,
however the committee notes the inter-departmental nature of Centrelink's work
and understands this can create difficulties in reporting.
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