Review of selected reports
Standing Order 25(20)(b) provides for the committee to consider selected
reports in more detail. The 2017–18 annual reports of the following bodies were
National Australia Day Council
Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority
Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd
Workplace Gender Equality Agency
National Australia Day Council
The National Australia Day Council (NADC) is a Commonwealth company
incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001. As part of the Prime Minister
and Cabinet portfolio, the NADC reported to Senator the Hon. James McGrath,
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister in the 2017–18 financial year.
The NADC Annual Report 2017–18 was tabled in the House of
Representatives and the Senate on 16 October 2018.
In accordance with section 95 of the Public Governance, Performance and
Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), the NADC also publishes a corporate
plan on its website. The corporate plan for the 2017–18 reporting period was
the National Australia Day Council Corporate Plan 2017 – 2020.
The core mission of the NADC, as described in the annual report, is to
'help build national pride and unity', achieving this mission through its
coordination of Australia Day events and the Australian of the Year Awards.
As a Commonwealth-controlled company, the NADC should prepare its annual
report consistent with the requirements of the Corporations Act 2001, the
Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (including
the relevant Rule), the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The committee found that the NADC's Annual Report 2017–18 was
compliant in each of its reporting obligations under the PGPA Act, the Public
Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule) and the Corporations Act 2001.
The report also included a statement on risk management for the safety of
employees of the NADC.
The NADC annual report included financial statements as required by section 97
of the PGPA Act. The NADC received an unqualified report from the Australian
National Audit Office (ANAO) on its financial statements.
The main sources of revenue for the NADC are government grants from the
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and corporate sponsorship for its
In the 2017–18 financial year, the NADC reported an operating loss of $346 356,
with nearly half of expenses allocated to funding events and awards programs.
There were no comments on how the NADC plan to reduce the operating loss.
Substance of material provided
In respect of the reporting requirements that were included in the NADC annual
report, the committee is of a view that some topics were not thoroughly explained.
For example, in addressing section 28E(l) of the PGPA Rule (significant
activities and changes that affected operations or structure), reference was
made to an 'independent, three-month review of its operations'.
Despite stating that this review has resulted in a 'significant restructure of
the organisation', no further details of the nature or outcomes of the review
was provided. Further examples are discussed below in paragraphs 2.11 to 2.13.
For future reports, it would be of assistance to the committee if the
NADC provided more information on reporting elements such as the review mentioned
in paragraph 2.9.
Utilisation of the enhanced
Commonwealth performance framework
As outlined in Chapter 1 of this report, Commonwealth agencies and
companies report under the enhanced Commonwealth performance framework. Under
this framework, the NADC is not obliged to prepare annual performance
statements, however is required to publish a corporate plan, which is available
The committee does note, however, that no previous corporate plans for the NADC
are available to view online.
The committee highlights its preference that Commonwealth entities and
companies maintain past corporate plans on their websites to assist in
accounting for the long-term performance of a Commonwealth body.
In addition, the committee found no reference to the NADC's corporate
plan in the annual report. Without the requirement to prepare and provide
annual performance statements, it is in the discretion of Commonwealth
companies to report on performance measured against key performance indicators
as described in their corporate plan. The NADC's performance drivers in its
2017–2020 corporate plan included:
maintain awareness of the
Australian of the Year Awards at 51% of all Australians;
achieve one million viewers for
the broadcast of Australian of the Year Awards;
secure $5 million per annum in
partnership and expand our reach internationally;
increase nominations of the
Australian of the Year by 10% year on year;
increase to and maintain a 60%
participation rate in Australia Day activities; and
increase pride in being Australian.
While the annual report did state results from several of these metrics,
these were not labelled as performance drivers and mapped against the corporate
plan. In order to work effectively within the cyclical nature of the enhanced Commonwealth
performance framework, the committee suggests that the NADC make references to
its corporate plan in its annual report. Notwithstanding the suggestions for
future reports, the committee has found the 2017–18 annual report to be
Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority
The Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) is a
non-corporate Commonwealth entity and independent statutory authority
established on 1 July 2017 under the Independent Parliamentary Expenses
Authority Act 2017.
Its first annual report was presented out of sitting on 30 October 2018
and tabled in the House of Representatives on 26 November 2018.
IPEA provides advice in relation to—and oversight of—expenses of
parliamentarians, their staff and former parliamentarians.
IPEA receives annual appropriation under a single outcome in the Portfolio
Budget Statements (PBS):
Outcome 1: Support for current and former Parliamentarians
and others as required by the Australian Government through the delivery of
independent oversight and advice on work resources and travel resources.
In addition, IPEA published a corporate plan for the 2017–18 to 2020–21
financial years, which outlined its performance expectations and the targets by
which performance of the agency is measured.
As a non-corporate Commonwealth entity and statutory agency, IPEA prepares
its annual report consistent with requirements prescribed in the PGPA Act and
Rule, as well as the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the Commonwealth
Electoral Act 1918, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999. IPEA's enabling legislation, the Independent
Parliamentary Expenses Authority Act 2017, has no provisions for additional
annual report requirements.
The committee found the IPEA annual report to be compliant with most of
its reporting obligations under the prescribing legislation. However, in
respect of paragraph 17AG(10)(b) of the PGPA Rule, which relates to supporting
small and medium business, IPEA did not provide an outline of the ways in which
their procurement practices support small and medium enterprises.
The IPEA annual report included annual performance statements in
accordance with paragraph 39(1)(a) of the PGPA Act.
The performance criteria and targets for Outcome 1 were consistent with those
prescribed in the 2017–18 finance portfolio PBS and the IPEA corporate plan for
The performance targets for IPEA were as follows:
95 per cent of all inquiries acknowledged within 24 hours;
95 per cent of payments will be made on time;
all monthly management reports distributed to parliamentarians by
the 15th of each month;
all parliamentary expenditure reports to be compiled and
published on time; and
all audits of parliamentarian's expenses completed on time.
The committee notes that IPEA achieved each of its five performance
targets in 2017–18, and exceeded on the two targets with a 95 per cent
These targets were achieved notwithstanding the challenges of its having been established
only on 1 July 2017.
The committee considered the performance statements for IPEA to be well‑structured
and informative. In addition to performance targets, included in the
performance statements were the objectives, priorities, achievements, corporate
activities of IPEA over 2017–18, as well as an assessment of how its activities
and performance compared with its purposes.
These statements together effectively outlined IPEA's approach to performance
in its first reporting period, and utilises the objects and values of the
enhanced Commonwealth performance network.
The IPEA annual report included financial statements as required by
subsection 42(2) of the PGPA Act. These financial statements received an
unqualified audit opinion from the ANAO.
Given that the 2017–18 financial year was the first of operation for IPEA,
financial performance was compared to budgeted expenditure rather than previous
Compared to its budgeted performance, IPEA returned a surplus of
approximately $1.3 million for the reporting period. An explanation
provided for the variance outlined lower-than-expected costs for employees,
with delays in recruitment processes, as well as supplier costs.
The committee found the IPEA annual report to be thoughtful in its
structure, informative and well-presented. This included the aids to access
tools utilised in the report, which demonstrate the requirement for a report to
be prepared 'having regard to the interests of the Parliament and any other
persons who are interested in the annual report'.
The committee notes that while IPEA's current corporate plan was
published online, the previous plan that is referred to in the 2017–18 annual
report was not available. This makes it difficult for the committee and
interested persons to compare performance and corporate direction over periods
and to assess IPEA within the enhanced Commonwealth performance framework
holistically. As stated in paragraph 2.12, it would assist the committee if Commonwealth
bodies ensured past corporate plans are available online.
Overall, the committee found the IPEA annual report to be 'apparently satisfactory'
in its reporting obligations.
Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd
Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd (ANI) is a Commonwealth company,
prescribed as a government business enterprise for the purposes of the PGPA Act.
Having been formally separated from the ASC Group on 26 March 2017, the 2017–18
period constitutes ANI's first full financial year of operation.
ANI's supports the Commonwealth's naval shipbuilding program though its
acquiring, holding, managing and
developing the infrastructure and related facilities used in connection with
this program; and
efficiently and effectively
managing the infrastructure (including providing access) in a manner that
ensures an integrated and coordinated approach to delivery of all elements of
ANI presented its Annual Report 2017–18 out of sitting on 19
October 2018 and the report was tabled in the House of Representatives on 22
Pursuant to its legislative requirements, ANI prepared an interim corporate
plan and published an interim statement of corporate intent during the 2017–18
financial year, with a finalised corporate plan and statement of corporate
intent prepared for the 2018–19 to 2021–22 period.
ANI prepares its annual report under requirements of the PGPA Act and
Rule and the Corporations Act 2001.
Additional reporting requirements are prescribed by the Work Health and
Safety Act 2011 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999.
The committee found the ANI annual report to be compliant in each of its
As a government business enterprise, ANI has additional reporting
requirements under section 28F of the PGPA Rule, relating to changes in
financial conditions, dividend payments, community service obligations and
commercially prejudicial information. The annual report states that ANI was not
bound by community service obligations and paid no dividends to shareholders in
Additionally, no information was excluded from the report on the grounds of
commercial sensitivity. Significant changes to the financial structure and
condition of ANI related to the 'acquisition of South Australian Government
owned land and infrastructure', and the 'Osborne Naval Shipyard development'.
ANI published an interim statement of corporate intent for the 2017–18
to the 2020–21 financial years, in lieu of publishing a corporate plan.
This statement was published on the ANI website prior to the publishing of its
replacement statement of corporate intent (for the 2018–19 to 2021–22 period).
The 2017–18 Statement of Corporate Intent outlined short, medium
and long-term priorities for ANI, with priorities for 2017–18 identified as the
complete the stand-up of ANI as an
independent commercial entity;
complete the Tranche 1 and 2
acquisitions from Defence SA;
award the [Managing Contractor Contract]
and commence construction of the Osborne South shipyard expansion and
develop leasing arrangements for
new users of the Osborne shipyard facilities; and
provide additional infrastructure
related support to Defence as required.
ANI's annual report states that all of its short-term performance
targets (as listed above) for 2017–18 were met
and addresses how these targets were met in the Chair and CEO's letter, review
of operations, and the directors' report.
The ANI annual report included financial statements as required by the
legislation. The financial statements received an unqualified assurance from
Significant changes to the finances of ANI came through the acquisition
of land and infrastructure from the South Australian government for the
Techport business, worth $230 million, and the commencement of capital works at
the Osborne Naval Shipyard.
The committee notes that these projects were financed by the issuing of $279.5
million worth of shares through an 'equity subscription agreement' with the
Commonwealth government, which commenced in 2016–17.
This had the effect of almost doubling the number of ordinary shares for ANI.
The committee found the ANI annual report to be satisfactory in regards
to its reporting obligations and presentation. The committee commends the
accessible and thorough approach to reporting ANI took at the conclusion of its
first year of operation.
Workplace Gender Equality Agency
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) is a non-corporate
Commonwealth entity established under the Workplace Gender and Equality Act
2012 (WGEA Act). Its statutory functions under section 10 of the WGEA Act
(a) to advise and assist employers in promoting and improving
gender equality in the workplace; and
(aa) to develop, in consultation with relevant employers and
employee organisations, benchmarks in relation to gender equality indicators;
(b) to issue guidelines to assist relevant employers to achieve
the purposes of the [WGEA] Act; and
(c) to review compliance with the [WGEA] Act by relevant
employers, to review public reports lodged by relevant employers and to deal
with those reports in accordance with the [WGEA] Act; and
(d) to collect and analyse information provided by relevant
employers under the [WGEA] Act to assist the Agency to advise the Minister in
relation to legislative instruments made under the [WGEA] Act; and
(e) to undertake research, educational programs and other
programs for the purpose of promoting and improving gender equality in the
(ea) to work with employers to maximise the effectiveness of
the administration of the [WGEA] Act, including by minimising the regulatory
burden on employers; and
(f) to promote and contribute to understanding and
acceptance, and public discussion, of gender equality in the workplace; and
(g) to review the effectiveness of the [WGEA] Act in
achieving its purposes; and
(h) to report to the Minister on such matters in relation to
gender equality in the workplace as the Agency thinks fit (including a review
under paragraph (g)).
WGEA reports to the Minister for Women and during the 2017–18 financial
year moved from the Jobs and Innovation Portfolio to the Prime Minister and
WGEA tabled its annual report for 2017–18 in the House of
Representatives on 6 December 2018 and the Senate on 12 February 2019.
Additional documents within the enhanced Commonwealth performance framework for
the 2017–18 period included a corporate plan published on 31 August 2017 and portfolio
budget statements in the 2017–18 budget.
WGEA, as a non-corporate Commonwealth entity, prepares an annual report
under section 46 of the PGPA Act and part 2-3 of the PGPA Rule, with additional
reporting requirements in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the Commonwealth
Electoral Act 1918, and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999. The WGEA Act prescribes no additional content
requirements for the annual report, however does provide for other reports to
be submitted to the Minister.
Subsection 12(1) of the WGEA Act provides that, despite the requirements
of the PGPA Act, the WGEA must present its annual report to the Minister for
Women by 31 November. The 2017–18 annual report was submitted to, and received
by, the Minister on 16 November 2018, complying with this provision.
The committee found the annual report of WGEA to be compliant with each
of its obligations under the PGPA Rule and other legislation.
However, if a body deviates from a statement prescribed in the
legislation, the committee expects the body to state the reasons for such a
deviation. For example, paragraph 17AG(7)(b) of the PGPA Rule, relating to
consultancy contracts, prescribes:
A statement that: "During [reporting period], [specified
number] new consultancy contracts were entered into involving total actual
expenditure of $[specified million]. In addition, [specified number] ongoing
consultancy contracts were active during the period, involving total actual
expenditure of $[specified million]".
The WGEA annual report included a statement similar to that prescribed in
the PGPA Rule, however omitted reference to ongoing consultancy contracts.
While it may be assumed that WGEA did not have any existing consultancy
contracts in the reporting period, it would assist the committee for purposes
of scrutiny to make it clear that no ongoing consultancy contracts were in
In its corporate plan and portfolio budget statements for 2017–18, WGEA
had three performance criteria comprising of seven total targets to measure
These performance criteria can be summarised as:
increasing the impact and reach of WGEA's educational operations;
utilising the value of collecting data on gender equality; and
communicating and adding to the gender equality narrative.
An annual performance statement was included in the WGEA annual report
addressing each of the performance criteria and the outcome of each target.
This performance statement was in accordance with the suggested format outlined
by the Department of Finance Resource Management Guides.
The committee notes that WGEA achieved all of its performance targets.
WGEA exceeded its targets in relation to the collection of gender equality data.
It achieved this through:
the development of research partnerships in the areas of: pay
gaps and pay equity action, key drivers of improved representation of women in
leadership, and female participation in paid work and retirement income;
influencing the research agenda through the presence of WGEA
officers in various advisory bodies, steering committees and working groups;
the improved trend analysis capability of the WGEA data explorer tool.
WGEA is financed through annual appropriation in the federal budget.
Financial statements were included in the annual report as required by subsection
42(2) of the PGPA Act.
These statements received an unqualified assurance from the ANAO.
The committee notes the reported total comprehensive loss of $596 323
for WGEA in 2017–18, compared to a budgeted loss of $882 000. Variances in
WGEA's financial performance were also recorded in its employee benefits,
payments to suppliers, income from the rendering of services and the
de-recognition of the 'make good' provision for the premises.
The committee found the WGEA annual report to be well-presented and
informative. The report met each of its requirements under the relevant
legislation and presented its performance statements within the objects of the
enhanced Commonwealth performance framework. For the purposes of its report to
the Senate, the committee considers the WGEA annual report to be 'apparently
Senator James Paterson
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