Terms of reference
On 12 November 2013, a resolution of the Senate allocated the
following portfolios to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and
Attorney-General's portfolio; and
Immigration and Border Protection portfolio.
This report was prepared pursuant to Standing Order 25(20)
relating to the consideration of annual reports by committees. The Standing
Annual reports of departments and agencies shall stand
referred to the committees in accordance with an allocation of departments and
agencies in a resolution of the Senate. Each committee shall:
each annual report referred to it and report to the Senate whether the report
is apparently satisfactory;
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 detailed consideration;
and report to the Senate on any lateness in the presentation of annual reports;
considering an annual report, take into account any relevant remarks about the
report made in debate in the Senate;
the committee so determines, consider annual reports of departments and
budget-related agencies in conjunction with examination of estimates;
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;
to the attention of the Senate any significant matters relating to the
operations and performance of the bodies furnishing the annual reports; and
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.
This report examines annual reports tabled in the Senate or
presented to the President between 1 May and 31 October 2015.
Role of annual reports
Annual reports place a great deal of information about
government departments and agencies on the public record. Accordingly, the
tabling of annual reports is an important element of accountability to
Parliament. The information provided in annual reports assists in the effective
examination of the performance of departments and agencies, and the
administration of government programs.
Annual reporting requirements
This is the first time departments and agencies are reporting
under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013
(PGPA Act), which commenced on 1 July 2014. The PGPA Act consolidates
the governance, performance and accountability requirements contained in the Financial
Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) and the Commonwealth
Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act). It also establishes a
performance reporting framework for all Commonwealth entities and companies.
Section 46 of the PGPA Act sets out the annual reporting
requirements in relation to Commonwealth entities, including that annual
reports must comply with any requirements prescribed by rules. Section 97 sets
out the annual reporting requirements for Commonwealth companies.
However, as with 2013–14 annual reports, 2014–15 annual reports
were prepared under the arrangements existing at 30 June 2014 as follows:
for non-corporate Commonwealth entities (departments, executive
agencies and statutory agencies): the Public Service Act 1999, sections
63(2) and 70(2), and the Parliamentary Service Act 1999, section 65;
other relevant enabling legislation for statutory bodies; and the Requirements
for Annual Reports;
for corporate Commonwealth entities: the Commonwealth Authorities
(Annual Reporting) Orders 2011 prescribe material that must be included in
corporate entities' annual reports. These Orders continue to apply to 2014–15
annual reports under the PGPA (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Rule;
for Commonwealth companies: the Commonwealth Companies (Annual
Reporting) Orders 2011 prescribe material that must be included in corporate
entities' annual reports. These Orders continue to apply to 2014–15 annual
reports under the PGPA (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Rule; and
for non-statutory bodies: the guidelines are contained in the
government response to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration
Report on Non-Statutory bodies.
In its report on the development of the Commonwealth
performance framework, the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA)
foreshadowed that in future years the annual report requirements 'will be
replaced through the consolidation of all mandatory requirements into a rule
made for the purposes of section 46 of the PGPA Act'.
Requirements for Annual Report for
The Requirements for Annual Reports were issued by the
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on 25 June 2015 and approved by
the JCPAA. Two significant changes were made to the Requirements for Annual
Reports issued on 25 June 2015 in relation to:
small business procurement – three requirements have been added
to reflect the government's commitment to improve small business access to
Commonwealth contracts; and
Indigenous employment – reporting on Indigenous employment has
been added to the existing requirement to report on the management of human
While the Requirements for Annual Reports issued on 25 June
2015 apply to annual reports for 2014–15, it was noted that:
Significant revisions to the Requirements are anticipated for
the 2015–16 financial year with the commencement of the performance reporting
model under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013
This report examines the following reports; tabled in the
Senate or presented out of session to the President of the Senate and referred
to the committee between 1 May 2015 and 31 October 2015:
Department of state
Department of Immigration and Border Protection–Annual Report
Attorney-General's Department–Annual Report 2014–15, including
the reports on the operations of the:
Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 2004–Annual
Report 2014–15; and
Surveillance Devices Act 2004–Annual Report 2014–15.
Department of Immigration and
Border Protection portfolio
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service–Annual Report
Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal–Annual
Administrative Appeals Tribunal–Annual Report 2014–15;
Australian Financial Security Authority–Annual Report 2014–15;
Australian Human Right Commission–Annual Report 2013–14;
Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions–Annual Report
CrimTrac–Annual Report 2014–15.
Federal Circuit Court of Australia–Annual Report 2014–15;
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner–Annual Report
Social Security Appeals Tribunal–Annual Report 2014–15.
Under the terms of Standing Order 25(20)(a), the committee is
required to report to the Senate whether reports are 'apparently satisfactory'.
In making this assessment, the committee considers such aspects as compliance
with relevant reporting guidelines.
The committee found all of the reports submitted to be
'apparently satisfactory', describing the functions, activities, performance
and financial positions of the departments and agencies. In considering the
reports, the committee did not identify any relevant remarks about the reports
made in debate in the Senate.
Under Standing Order 25(20)(c), the committee must also report
to the Senate on any lateness in the presentation of annual reports.
Section 46 of the PGPA Act sets out the requirements for the
presentation of annual report for Commonwealth entities to the responsible
minister by the 15th day of the fourth month after the end of the reporting
period for the entity. The Requirements for Annual Reports, which relate to
departments, executive agencies and other non-corporate Commonwealth entities,
state that 'the responsible minister must, in turn, present the report to each
House of the Parliament on or before 31 October in the year in which the report
Where a body is unable to meet this deadline, an extension of time to report
can be sought under the provisions of subsections 34C(4)–(7) of the Acts
Interpretation Act 1901.
Section 97 of the PGPA Act sets out the requirements for the
provision of annual reports of Commonwealth companies to the responsible
A table listing the annual reports of departments and agencies
tabled in the Senate (or presented out of session to the President of the
Senate) between 1 May 2015 and 31 October 2015, and which have been
referred to the committee for examination, can be found at Appendix 1.
Also included in this table is the date each report was tabled in the House of
The annual reports included and examined in this report met the
reporting deadline of 31 October 2015.
The following annual reports were not tabled in the Senate, nor
referred to the committee by the 31 October deadline. These reports will be
examined by the committee in its next Report on Annual Reports (No. 2 of
Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity–Annual
Australian Crime Commission (ACC)–Annual Report 2014–15;
Australian Federal Police–Annual Report 2014–15;
Australian Government Solicitor–Annual Report 2014–15;
Australian Human Rights Commission–Annual Report 2014–15;
Australian Institute of Criminology–Annual Report 2014–15;
Australian Law Reform Commission–Annual Report 2014–15;
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation–Annual Report
Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre–Annual Report
Family Court of Australia–Annual Report 2014–15;
Family Law Council–Annual Report 2014–15;
Federal Court of Australia–Annual Report 2014–15;
High Court of Australia–Annual Report 2014–15;
National Archives of Australia and National Archives of Australia
Advisory Council–Annual Report 2014–15; and
Office of Parliamentary Counsel–Annual Report 2014–15.
The committee continues to encourage bodies to table annual
reports before the Supplementary Budget Estimates hearings in October each
year, in accordance with best practice, as outlined in the Requirements for
Requirement for non-reporting bodies to report
In accordance with Standing Order 25(20)(h), the committee is
required to report on bodies that do not present an annual report to the Senate
and which should present such a report. On this occasion, all bodies have
provided their annual reports to the Senate.
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