The Australian National Audit Office is gearing up for a bumper reporting month in September, with performance audits into the Department of Defence, Department of Health and the Australian National University due for release.
These performance audits will follow an earlier report looking at the administration of infrastructure funds intended for car parks in areas prone to congestion.
That ANAO report revealed that almost two-thirds of the grants were allocated to Melbourne-based project sites, only 11% of the 47 sites began construction by March 31 this year, and none of the project sites selected were based on departmental recommendations.
Two of the three reports scheduled for release over the next month will deal with similar questions of governance and administration of public funds by two government departments.
Performance auditors are currently preparing a report looking at whether the Medical Research Future Fund is being effectively administered by the Department of Health.
This deep dive into the MRFF will look at whether funds are given to research proposals in accordance with the legislation and other related guidelines.
It will also look at whether the department has effective ways of monitoring and measuring the fund’s performance.
Audit experts at the ANAO are also preparing a report on the Department of Defence’s administration of the Defence Industry Security Program.
It will cover whether the department has adequate oversight arrangements in place and if the department manages noncompliance with contracts.
The Australian National University, a key player in the tertiary sector hit severely by the decline of overseas students as a result of travel bans due to the coronavirus, is also due to have the results of a review by eagle-eyed auditors on its corporate governance arrangements published.
This particular report will examine if the current governance structure of one of Australia’s top universities is in accordance with relevant laws and regulations and whether the university has ‘fit for purpose’ governance arrangements that include best practice systems for control and accountability.
There will be little respite for the federal government from the sharp pen of the ANAO later in the year, with a report that is scheduled for tabling in October that deals with the Department of Health’s processes and procedures for improving the coverage of immunisation.
A key question the ANAO will consider in this report, which will be released after many months of public criticisms of the management of the vaccine program to fight the coronavirus, is whether the department has effective monitoring of the coverage of its immunisation programs in place.