Chapter 2 - Examination of annual reports

Chapter 2Examination of annual reports

General reporting observations

2.1The vast majority of Commonwealth entities within the Treasury and Industry portfolios successfully included all mandatory reporting requirements.

Page number identification within the list of requirements

2.2The non-corporate Commonwealth entities Resource Management Guide No. 135, and corporate Commonwealth entities Resource Management Guide No. 136 state that ‘[e]ntities must also provide details of the location of the information in the annual report that addresses each of the mandatory requirements specified by the PGPA Rule’, additionally noting that ‘[t]he information presented in entities’ annual reports should be able to be easily accessed by the reader’.[1]

2.3For the most part, the entities examined provided sufficient reference to the location of the listed requirements with the exception of Treasury, Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM), Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC).

2.4All four entities chose not to provide any reference to the location of the requirements within its report. It is noted that Treasury, AOFM and CGC have not provided this indication in annual reports since the 2019-20 reporting period. The committee strongly urges the provision of this information in future reports.

2.5Further, the National Competition Council (NCC) provided page references for all requirements. However, approximately 36 requirements were incorrectly attributed to the wrong page number. The committee encourages entities to ensure that sufficient quality assurance processes are in place and utilised prior to publication.

2.6As mentioned in the committee’s previous report, Annual Reports (No. 1 of 2023),[2] the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) both indicate that many of their requirements can be found in the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) annual report; however, they do not specify or reference the page numbers where the information lies.[3]

2.7As noted in the previous report, the committee strongly encourages a collaborative effort between overlapping agencies to provide specified page numbers, resulting in improved readability and transparency.

Reportable consultancy and non-consultancy contracts

2.8According to the non-corporate Commonwealth entities Resource Management Guide No. 135, entities are required to provide the following statements:

PGPA Rule 17AG(7)(d) - “Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on reportable consultancy contracts. Information on the value of reportable consultancy contracts is available on the AusTender website.”

PGPA Rule 17AG(7A)(b) - “Annual reports contain information about actual expenditure on reportable non-consultancy contracts. Information on the value of reportable non-consultancy contracts is available on the AusTender website.”

2.9While these rules remain similar, one is attributed to consultancy contracts and the other is attributed to non-consultancy contracts. A number of entities did not differentiate the two rules, nor did they use the direct quote. Additionally, some entities did not indicate within their summary statements which reportable contracts were attributed to non-consultancy or consultancy. The committee reminds entities on the importance of comprehensive and transparent reporting, particularly related to expenditure.

Missing requirements

2.10APRA and the NCC tabled annual reports that were missing certain requirements:

APRA did not provide section 17AH(1)(c) - Outline of mechanisms of disability reporting, including reference to website for further information; and

The NCC did not provide section 17AG(10)(b) - An outline of the ways in which the procurement practices of the entity support small and medium enterprises.

2.11In future, the committee strongly encourages entities to ensure that all requirements are appropriately reflected on within annual reports.

Reports examined

2.12The committee has selected the following annual reports for closer examination:

Department of the Treasury (Treasury);

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC);

Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR); and

IP Australia.

Department of the Treasury

2.13The Department of the Treasury tabled its 2022-23 annual report in Parliament on 18 October 2023.[4]

2.14In the Secretary’s review, Dr Steven Kennedy PSM, reflected on the operations and achievements for the year in review with particular focus on Australia’s 3.4 per cent economic expansion, unemployment rates reaching their lowest in 50 years and China’s supply chain restoration since reopening post-pandemic. Dr Kennedy also shed light on Australia’s economic resilience when faced with disruption in commodity and energy markets, as a result of the war in Ukraine.[5]

Performance reporting

2.15As stated in the 2022-23Department of the Treasury Corporate Plan (Treasury’s Corporate Plan), Treasury’s purpose is to ‘provide advice to the Government and implement policies and programs to achieve strong and sustainable economic and fiscal outcomes for Australians’.[6] This statement remains consistent with Treasury’s outcome statements presented in its annual report.

2.16Treasury tracks its performance through five activities that are split into 13 performance measures. For the 2022-23 period, the majority of the measures were either achieved or substantially achieved, with the exception of measures twelve and thirteen being partially achieved, and measures one and three not achieved. Performance measures one and three are:

Performance measure one - Proportion of Treasury ministers, key government entities and stakeholders that rate Treasury advice highly; and

Performance measure three - Variance between actual Total Tax Receipts (excluding Company Tax) and forecast.

2.17Measure one required 80 per cent of the responses received to be in the high-performance range. While a 100 per cent satisfaction rate was achieved for ministerial feedback, only 69 per cent was achieved in relation to stakeholder responses, deeming the measure not achieved.

2.18Treasury’s strengths were in relation to delivering fiscal policy and not-for-profit entity advice, with a response rate of both 87 and 86 per cent in the high-performance range. However, digital policy (42 per cent) and foreign investment policy (33 per cent) advice was significantly lower in relation to the number of responses in the high-performance range.

2.19In relation to measure three, an estimation within 70 per cent confidence interval of forecasted Total Tax Receipts, equivalent to $13.2 billion was required to deem the measure achieved. However, the estimation was undervalued by $32 billion, and Treasury explained why:

The performance measure was not achieved due to significantly stronger-than expected tax receipts in 2022–23, driven by stronger-than-expected prices, wages and employment across the year as the economy recovered from the COVID pandemic. The 2022–23 variance in Total Tax Receipts (excluding company tax) is overwhelmingly attributable to variances in income tax withholding and gross other individuals tax receipts.[7]

2.20Having reflected on the previous 2021-22 reporting period as a ‘transitional year’, Treasury assured its performance and reporting framework has continued to be matured for the year in review.[8]

Financial reporting

2.21For the 2022-23 reporting period, Treasury recorded an operating deficit of $0.6 million. In the previous 2021-22 reporting period, an operating deficit of $0.3 million was recorded and was attributed to the ‘reclassification of cloud-based software projects to operating expenditure, including prior year work-in-progress balances, partly offset by employee provision revaluations due to changes in Australia bond rates and other provision parameters’.[9] However, no such rationale was provided regarding the additional $0.3 million deficit for the 2022-23 year in review.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

2.22The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) presented its 2022-23 annual report to Parliament out of session on 20 October 2023, and was later tabled in the Senate on 6 November 2023.[10] It is also noted that the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) annual report was done in conjunction with ACCC’s report.

2.23The ACCC Chair, Ms Gina Cass-Gottlieb, provided an insight into the agency’s undertakings throughout the 2022-23 period, as it continued to support competition law, consumer protection, fair trading and economic regulation as Australia’s national regulator. Ms Cass-Gottlieb reported a penalty imposition of just over $142 million through the Federal Court of Australia, upon enforcement of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). This was mainly attributed to civil and criminal enforcement outcomes in varying sectors.[11]

Performance reporting

2.24The ACCC states its purpose is to ‘make markets work for consumers, now and in the future’,[12] which again, remains consistent with its statement outlined in the ACCC and AER Corporate Plan.[13] In order to support this purpose, the ACCC uses seven ‘strategic objectives’:

Address anti-competitive conduct and promote competition;

Prevent anti-competitive mergers;

Improve competition and choice by facilitating safe and secure data sharing by consumers through the Consumer Data Right (CDR);

Protect consumers from misleading and deceptive conduct and promote fair trading;

Protect consumers from unsafe products;

Regulate monopoly infrastructure and monitor concentrated markets in the long-term interests of consumers; and

Improve our own systems, capabilities and ways of working.[14]

2.25To objectively measure success, the ACCC uses a total of fifty-five performance measures set out within its corporate plan. It is reported that thirty-two of the measures were deemed ‘achieved’ against the set target, while fifteen measures were partially achieved and eight were not achieved.

2.26Of the eight measures that were not achieved, the ACCC identified that this was commonly due to the consideration of complex matters and distribution of resources.

2.27As mentioned previously, the ACCC actively enforced just over $142 million in penalties imposed by the Federal Court of Australia for breaches of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), noting some of the following cases:

Google - $60 million penalty for misleading representations to consumers about the collection and use of their personal location data on Android phones between January 2017 and December 2018;

Uber - $21 million penalty after engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct and false or misleading representations to consumers in its app and on its website in December 2022; and

Mercedes-Benz – $12 million penalty for noncompliance regarding its Takata airbag recall communication plan in August 2021.[15]

2.28Overall, the ACCC considers the year in review to be a success, having claimed to achieve a its purpose with a ‘substantial suite of outcomes that supported the welfare of Australians by making markets work for consumers, now and in future’.[16]

Financial reporting

2.29The ACCC recorded an operating deficit of $44.6 million for the year in review. However, after accounting for depreciation and leasing arrangements, the deficit amounted to $23.2 million.[17]

2.30Also noted was approval to incur a deficit of $6.7 million to utilise specific surplus from previous years and to bring forward other budget allocation. With this considered, the adjusted deficit was reported at $16.5 million.[18]

Department of Industry, Science and Resources

2.31The Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR) presented its 2022-23 annual report to Parliament out of session on 20 October 2023, and was later tabled in the Senate on 6 November 2023.[19]

2.32In the Secretary’s Review, DISR Secretary, Ms Meghan Quinn PSM, shed light on DISR’s operations and undertakings during the 2022-23 reporting period. Ms Quinn emphasised the focus on progressing the global energy transition, with the objective of ‘building a better future for all Australians’.[20] DISR continued to support and grow Australia’s renewable technologies industry through consultation on the National Battery Strategy as well as the establishment of the Power Australia Industry Growth Centre to supplement the transition to net zero by 2050.

Performance reporting

2.33DISR’s purpose is outlined in its annual report, consistent with the Department of Industry, Science and Resources Corporate Plan 2022-23 (DISR Corporate Plan). This purpose states, ‘[b]uilding a better future for all Australians by enabling a productive, resilient and sustainable economy, enriched by science and technology’.[21]

2.34DISR’s performance is measured by 16 performance measures, with ‘a mix of output, efficiency and effectiveness’:

Output – the quantity of the goods and services produced by an activity (including their volume or quantity);

Efficiency – generally expressed as a ratio of inputs to outputs, where efficiency involves maximising outputs for a given volume of inputs. The timely delivery of an output is commonly used as a proxy for efficiency; and

Effectiveness – assess how well the department has delivered on its purposes, and where activities have had the intended impact or contributed to achieving the purposes.[22]

2.35For the 2022-23 reporting period, 13 performance measures were met, one was partially met and two had their baselines set. Measures 3 and 15, described as ‘Output’ measures, were stated to have their ‘baseline set’ to enable future performance monitoring.[23]

2.36Measure 3, which was ‘applicant satisfaction with the experience of the grants application process through the portal’, was described to be a measure designed to inform and set a baseline percentage of satisfaction rate for the years ahead. On achieving an 88 per cent response of either satisfied or very satisfied responses in relation to the grant application process, a baseline percentage of 90 per cent was set for the coming years in review.

2.37The second measure with its baseline set, was measure 15 titled, ‘Anti-Dumping Commission’s compliance with legislated and World Trade Organization timeframes is maintained or improved’. The rationale behind the creation of this performance measure, is to demonstrate the satisfaction of international legal obligations, as well as meeting ‘strict and extended domestic legislative timeframes for completing cases across all case types’.[24]

2.38Measure 15 is broken up into three high level tables that differentiate from case type:

Completion timeframes by case type;

Volume of cases by case type; and

Extensions of time by case type.[25]

Financial reporting

2.39The 2022-23 reporting period saw DISR record a $57.8 million surplus, excluding depreciation and amortisation and the impacts of the Australian Accounting Standards Boards (AASB) Standard 16 Leases[26] accounting adjustments. This was majorly attributed to the delayed implementation of varied budget measures.[27]

IP Australia

2.40The 2022-23 annual report of IP Australia was tabled in Parliament on 18 October 2023.[28]

2.41Director General of IP Australia, Mr Michael Schwager, provided an outline in his review regarding the importance of creating leading IP systems for the benefit of Australians. The benefits of these systems are said to ‘drive innovation, attract investments, create jobs, enable export opportunities, foster collaboration and strengthen the competitive advantage of Australian businesses in the global market’.[29]

Performance reporting

2.42As reflected in the IP Australia Strategic Corporate Plan 2022-23,[30] IP Australia outlines its vision and purpose in its annual report:

Our Vision – Creating a world leading IP system building prosperity for Australia; and

Our Purpose – Ensuring Australians Benefit from great ideas.[31]

2.43This vision and purpose is measured across three programs with a total four performance criteria. These programs cover varied objectives and topics related to IP rights administration and professional registration, education and awareness and advice to government and international engagement.[32]

2.44Of the four performance measures, all were met except for measure 2. The objective of measure 2 was to ‘[p]rocess trans-Tasman attorney registration applications within 15 working days from the date that the application complies with registration requirements’.[33]

2.45IP Australia stated that of the 67 registrations received, only one exceeded the 15 day threshold due to an applicant request to delay registration to the following financial year. This resulted in a 99 per cent success rate with an average 3.5 working day processing time.[34]

Financial reporting

2.46During the 2022-23 reporting period, IP Australia recorded a net surplus of $3.38 million. Additionally, the agency noted its position as a cost-recovered agency, stating that its cash reserve has remained stable at $74.96 million, equalling approximately three months in operating costs.[35]

Senator Jess Walsh


Labor Senator for Victoria


[1]Department of Finance, Annual reports for non-corporate Commonwealth entities: Resource management guide No. 135 and No. 136, 9 August 2023, (accessed 7 February 2024).

[2]Senate Economics Legislation Committee, Annual reports (No. 1 of 2023), p. 11.

[3]Tax Practitioners Board, Annual Report 2022-23, pp. 61 – 68; Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, Annual Report 2022-23, pp. 68 – 75.

[4]Journals of the Senate, No. 75, 18 October 2023, p. 2155.

[5]The Department of the Treasury (Treasury), Annual Report 2022-23, p. 3.

[6]Treasury, 2022-23 Corporate Plan, p. 5.

[7]Treasury, Annual Report 2022-23, p. 42.

[8]Treasury, Annual Report 2022-23, p. 27.

[9]Treasury, Annual Report 2021-22, p. 62.

[10]Journals of the Senate, No. 77, 6 November 2023, p. 2219.

[11]Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Australian Energy Regulator (ACCC and AER), Annual Report 2022-23, p. 4.

[12]ACCC and AER, Annual report 2022-23, p. 22.

[13]ACCC and AER, Corporate Plan 2022-23, p. 5.

[14]ACCC and AER, Annual report 2022-23, p. 22.

[15]ACCC and AER, Annual report 2022-23, p. 4.

[16]ACCC and AER, Annual report 2022-23, p. 40.

[17]ACCC and AER, Annual report 2022-23, p. 15.

[18]ACCC and AER, Annual report 2022-23, p. 15.

[19]Journals of the Senate, No. 77, 6 November 2023, p. 2221.

[20]Department of Industry, Science and Resources (DISR), Annual Report 2022-23, p. 2.

[21]DISR, Annual Report 2022-23, p. 15.

[22]DISR, Annual Report 2022-23, p. 22.

[23]DISR, Annual Report 2022-23, p. 22.

[24]DISR, Annual Report 2022-23, p. 38.

[25]DISR, Annual Report 2022-23, pp. 39, 40, 41.

[26]The Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB), Federal Register of Legislative Instruments— Leases AASB 16, February 2016, p. 5: AASB 16 Leases introduces a single lease accounting model and required a lessee to recognise assets and liabilities for all leases with a term of more than 12 months unless the underlying asset is of low value. A lessee is required to recognise a right-of-use asset representing its right to use the underlying leased asset and a lease liability representing its obligations to make lease payments.

[27]DISR, Annual Report 2022-23, p. 74.

[28]Journals of the Senate, No. 75, 18 October 2023, p. 2155.

[29]IP Australia, Annual Report 2022-23, p. 15.

[30]IP Australia, Strategic Corporate Plan 2022-23, p. 5.

[31]IP Australia, Annual Report 2022-23, p. 12.

[32]IP Australia, Annual Report 2022-23, pp. 30–39.

[33]IP Australia, Annual Report 2022-23, p. 34.

[34]IP Australia, Annual Report 2022-23, p. 34.

[35]IP Australia, Annual Report 2022-23, p. 41.