On 9 March 2023, having considered recently tabled Auditor-General's Reports, the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit resolved to conduct an inquiry into Defence Major Projects Reports. On 11 May 2023, the Committee resolved to broaden the terms of reference of that inquiry to include consideration of an additional Auditor-General Report.
The terms of reference are now as follows:
- any matters contained in or associated with Auditor-General Report No. 13 2021–22: 2020–21 Major Projects Report and Auditor-General Report No.12 2022–23: 2021–22 Major Projects Report;
- specific consideration of the scope and guidelines for the Major Projects Report to ensure it is fit for purpose into the future;
- any matters contained in or associated with Auditor-General Report No. 21 2022–23: Department of Defence’s Procurement of Hunter Class Frigates, including:
a) All matters raised in and arising from the Auditor-General's report relating to the tender evaluation process including value for money, decision making, record keeping and scope and design maturity
b) The respective roles of the Department of Defence and Department of Finance
c) Contract management, monitoring and reporting, and current progress in delivery
d) Lessons arising and implications for future procurement processes of major capability acquisitions in light of the Defence Strategic Review.
Under section 8(1) of the legislation establishing the JCPAA, the Public Accounts and Audit Committee Act 1951, one of the duties of the Committee is to ‘examine all reports of the Auditor-General (including reports of the results of performance audits) that are tabled in each House of the Parliament’ and ‘report to both Houses of the Parliament, with any comment it thinks fit, on any items or matters in those reports, or any circumstances connected with them, that the Committee thinks should be drawn to the attention of the Parliament’.