Annual reports of departments
The annual reports of the following departments for the financial year
2016–17, were referred to the committee for examination and report:
- Attorney-General's Department; and
- Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
Tabling of report
The 2016–17 annual report was tabled in the Senate on 16 October 2017.
The report was available to senators for the Supplementary Budget Estimates 2017–18
hearing on 24 October 2017.
In his review for 2016–17, the secretary of the Attorney-General's
Department (the department), Mr Chris Moraitis PSM, focused on program and
policy delivery in the areas of national security, countering violent extremism,
and disaster support and assistance.
Other key areas of work for the reporting period included: advancements
in the criminal justice system; the launch of the Face Verification Service;
finalising the National Firearms Agreement and subsequent launch of the
National Firearms Amnesty; leading reforms to criminalise the non-consensual
sharing of intimate images; the introduction of Carly's law; international
engagement and cooperation to address criminal activity; progressing reforms to
Commonwealth justice institutions; reforms to corporate and personal insolvency
laws; and a report on a review of Commonwealth legal services.
The review noted that the consolidation of the Australian Government
Solicitor (AGS) into the department had been highly successful. The Secretary
reported that AGS had provided training and workshops, delivered an extensive
pro bono program for clients domestically and internationally, and
provided advice and acted in a number of high profile cases and matters.
The Secretary reported that the department had concluded the Defence
Abuse Response Taskforce after four years of operation and providing outcomes
for 1,700 people. The Department had commenced work on the Royal Commission
into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, and
also held further public hearings for the Royal Commission into Institutional
Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Secretary noted that he was 'consistently impressed by the agility and
professionalism the department demonstrates in establishing and administering
these types of arrangements'.
The Secretary's outlook for 2017–18 noted that the implementation of
reforms to Australia's national security arrangements 'promises a busy year
ahead'. Key priorities identified included: enhancements to the family law system;
implementing recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Institutional
Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; and developing a wide range of responses to
issues such as terrorism, cyber security and foreign interference.
Additionally, the Secretary noted the impending changes within the
department that would occur as a result of the establishment of the Home
This is the second annual report published since the Attorney-General's Department
made significant changes to its performance reporting scheme. The committee
noted in its Report on Annual Reports (No. 1 of 2017) that the
department had adopted a new structure for performance reporting, applying four
high-level KPIs (Community impact; Effectiveness in achieving objectives;
Efficiency in meeting goals; Professionalism, skills and commitment) to each of
the seven strategic priorities across the department.
Performance criteria and targets under each strategic priority outlined
in the Portfolio Budget Statement (PBS) for 2016–17 are reflected in the Corporate Plan 2016–17. The Corporate Plan outlines the relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
under each strategic priority and explains how each are connected to the
performance criteria outlined in the PBS. The performance statement contained in the annual report reflects a combination
of the performance criteria in the PBS and the KPIs set by the Corporate Plan. This
approach provides a 'clean read' when compared with the PBS and Corporate Plan.
The department largely met its KPIs for 2016–17.
KPIs that were not met included:
- Strategic Policy 5, KPI 1: Community Impact – Australia's regional and global
position on fundamental rights (Factor 4) in the World Justice Project Rule of
Law Index measuring how the rule of law is experienced by the public of
countries around the world. The set target was a position of 10 (maintain or
improve current position), however the department reported a result of position
13. In providing analysis of the result, the department noted that the number of
countries listed in the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index had increased
from 102 to 113;
Strategic Policy 6, KPI 1: Community Impact – Stakeholder satisfaction that
EMA assists individual states and territories to achieve their priorities and
minimise loss in emergency events. The set target of 80 per cent was not
achieved, the department instead reporting a 75 per cent satisfaction result;  and
- Strategic Policy 6, KPI 2: Effectiveness at achieving objectives – Stakeholder and client
satisfaction with the department's effectiveness in providing national
leadership in emergency management. The department reported a 77 per cent
result, missing its target of 80 per cent.
In analysing the two KPIs under Strategic Policy 6 that were not met,
the department explained that the survey results informing the results were
reflective of the department's responsibilities in assisting stakeholders to
carry out vital functions during emergency situations; and that the department
continues to work closely to further understand their needs and provide support
As was the case in the department's annual report of 2015–16, large
amount of performance information for reporting period was informed by the
stakeholder survey conducted from May to June 2017. As found previously in the previous stakeholder survey, the 2017 survey
'indicated very high levels of stakeholder satisfaction'.
The Secretary's review did not include a summary of financial results.
There was also no substantive discussion of financial results in the body of
the report, and only minimal explanatory notes in the financial statements at
The PGPA Rule requires that agencies provide 'a discussion and analysis
of the entity's financial performance' be included in annual reports.
The committee is disappointed to observe that the Department has not
undertaken to improve their financial reporting given that the committee
commented on this issue previously. Considering its obligations under the PGPA Rule, the committee encourages the
Department to report on financial performance in compliance with the guidelines
in future reports.
The department reported a departmental operating surplus of $7.558
million for 2016–17. This surplus compares to an operating deficit of $14.275
million in 2015–16, and is a $23.155 million improvement from the deficit of $15.597
million anticipated in the PAES. The 2016–17 result partly reflects underspend
of appropriation, the transfer of leased premises and fitout to other
Government agencies, and the better than expected operating outcome for the
Australian Government Solicitor.
The committee encourages closer compliance to reporting guidelines in
future annual reports, particularly in relation to financial performance
reporting, but nonetheless considers the report to be 'apparently
Department of Immigration and Border Protection
Tabling of report
The 2016–17 annual report was tabled in the House of Representatives on
19 October 2017, and later in the Senate on 13 November 2017. The report was
available to senators for the Supplementary Budget Estimates 2016–17 hearing on
23 October 2017.
Secretary's and Commissioner's
Both the Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border
Protection (the department), Mr Michael Pezzullo, and the Acting Commissioner
of the Australian Border Force (ABF), Mr Michael Outram, provided a combined
review for the annual report. This marked a departure from the 2015–16 annual
report, which provided separate reviews from both officers.
The review notes that the annual report marks two years since the
integration of the former Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and
the department, and the ABF.
Key areas of the review included: the introduction of the Simplified Student
Visa Framework; the implementation of the new Entrepreneur visa and amendment
of the points test for skilled migration; a $5 million Bay Class Vessel Refresh
Works Program to improve the operational capability of two current ABF vessels;
the establishment of an independent Child Protection Panel and the launch of
the department's Child Safeguarding Framework; the release of the Detention
Capability Review report; the ongoing closure and security of immigration
detention facilities; development of a trusted operator model for cruise ships;
progression towards the implementation of new generation Arrivals SmartGates;
identifying persons of national security interest with Counter Terrorism Units
stationed at major airports; the introduction of Visa Risk Assessment capacity;
and the work of Taskforce Cadena.
The annual report for 2016–17 provides comprehensive reporting on
performance in accordance with the requirements of the PGPA Act and PGPA Rule.
Performance reporting is displayed in a clear format and footnotes
throughout provide information about the source of each criterion, including
page references from the PBS and/or Corporate Plan, distinction between
deliverables and KPIs, and relevant outcome and/or program information.
Quantitative deliverables and KPIs are reported in tables with separate
columns for description of the KPIs, 2016–17 Target [figure, for KPIs only], 2016–17
Result [figure], and Source of the relevant KPI. In a departure from the 2015–16
annual reports, results were not displayed as Met/Not met as applicable. There
is limited-to-no explanatory text evaluating individual quantitative criteria.
The committee is pleased to note the department's overall high standard of
performance reporting in this annual report.
However, the committee notes that results against KPIs were not clearly
displayed as Met/Not Met, as has been the practice in previous annual reports.
The committee further finds that while the department met a substantial
proportion of its KPIs, a number were not met across the following Purposes:
- Purpose 1 (Manage the movement of people and goods to contribute to a
strong economy): visa decisions and revenue made within service standards; border declarations finalised; number of imported sea cargo reports; completion of tariff classification rulings; rate of compliant import declarations assessed pre-clearance through the
general monitoring programme; rate of customs cargo control checks identifying a significant compliance
breach; rate of passengers processed within 30 minutes of joining the inwards queue; rate of total passengers and crew arrivals refused immigration clearance at
airports and seaports; and rate of eligible passengers and crew processed using automated systems on
- Purpose 2 (Manage the movement and stay of people to contribute to a
cohesive society): visits to the Citizenship Wizard website; citizenship conferrals decisions made within service standards; indicative primary decisions in the IMA legacy caseload; and unlawful non-citizens seeking status resolution being appropriately
accommodated based on risk.
- Purpose 3 (Manage the border to contribute to a safer, secure Australia):
import reports received in relation to sea cargo; total passenger and crew refused immigration at the border (air and sea); number
of vessel patrol days; and joint ABF and ADF aircraft coverage.
Details regarding the failure to meet KPIs were generally provided in
overviews of the Strategic Performance Measures (SPM).
The committee notes the failure to meet a number of the required KPIs,
particularly under Purpose 1. However, the committee recognises that the
department has explained the cause of the failures, albeit in the overview of
the relevant SPM. The committee encourages the department to address each
individual KPI and explain its result in a clear and comprehensive format in
Proposed addition of KPIs
During the Supplementary Budget Estimates hearing on 23 October 2017, the
committee examined how the annual report did not incorporate KPIs relating to
illicit tobacco and air cargo or air passengers. It was noted that KPIs were included in the annual report for illicit tobacco
detections in sea cargo and international mail. The Secretary agreed to examine the incorporation of a KPI for illicit tobacco
captured in air cargo and air passengers.
The total departmental expenses for 2016–17 were $2924.3 million, $61.7 million
lower than in 2015–16. The total variance between departmental expenses and the
original budget estimates demonstrated was an increase of $181 million. The total administered expenses in the same period were $2116.8 million, which
was lower than budget and the prior year figure of $2307 million. This was
attributable to lower supplier costs, underspends in legal costs, and lower
personal benefits expense.
There was a reported $24.3 million increase in departmental assets compared
with 2015–16, with total assets now equal to $1858.3 million at 30 June 2017. Total
administered assets were equal to $2077.2 million on 30 June 2017. The 2016–17
reporting period also saw a decrease in total liabilities: departmental
liabilities decreased by $48.2 million to $689.3 million; and administered
liabilities increased by $41.6 million to $320.8 million. The department's net
asset position at 30 June 2017 was therefore $1169 million, an increase of
$24.3 million from 30 June 2016. 
The overall operating result for 2016–17 was a deficit of $21.7 million,
due to an increase in depreciation and amortisation expenses, attributed to
changes in government bond rates. The depreciation and amortisation expenses
for 2016–17 were $285.3 million. The department stated in the annual report
that, had it not been for this increased expense, the department would have reported
an $8.7 million surplus.
Correction of previous errors
Six errors made in the Australian Customs and Border Protective Service
(ACBPS) annual report for 2015–16 were corrected in the department's report for
Under Part 4, Report on financial performance in the 2015–16 report,
non-cash items were excluded from reported budget figures. The corrections in
the 2016–17 report stated that it was subsequently 'not possible to make an
accurate comparison of budget versus actual by outcome'. The corrections reported changes the 2015–16 total budget administered expenses
from $2,396,702 to $2,551,542.
Information required by other
The annual report also includes information required by other
legislation, including: compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act (Cth)
2011; compliance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999; and a brief report on the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority,
as required under the Migration Act 1958.
The committee found that for the purpose of the annual report, the
department met the reporting requirements of these Acts.
Management of human resources
The PGPA Rule requires that statistics be provided regarding an entity's
APS employees on an ongoing or non-ongoing basis, including staffing
classification level, full-time employees, part-time employees, gender, staff
location, and employees who identify as indigenous.
The annual report failed to provide statistics regarding employees who identify
Statistics were provided regarding gender for the department as a whole,
reporting that 53.5 per cent of the department comprised of female staff, and
46.5 per cent comprised of male staff. Statistics were also provided in relation to gender in the composition of the
Senior Executive Service. However, the statistics were not broken down to provide information regarding
gender composition at each classification level.
The PGPA Rule does not specifically require an assessment of gender at
each classification level, only that 'statistics on gender' are provided.
However, the committee notes that it now appears to be common practice for
agencies to provide statistics on gender for each classification level. In
addition to providing a complete picture of an agency's staffing, it provides
an indication of classifications where gender differences are most pronounced.
The committee encourages the department to provide additional statistics
on gender in order to deliver a fulsome illustration of the composition of its
workforce. The committee also encourages the department to provide statistics
on indigenous staff as required by the reporting guidelines.
The committee found the annual report to be 'apparently satisfactory'.
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