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Commonwealth of Australia - The Treasury

Annual Report 2014/15

External Scrutiny


The Audit Committee met seven times during 2014-15. Its work included review of the Treasury’s financial statements and a range of internal and external audit reports.

The Audit Committee’s Financial Statements Sub-Committee (FSSC) met four times. Three meetings related to the 2013-14 financial statements and one related to the 2014-15 financial statements. The FSSC comprised members of the Treasury, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), the Treasury’s internal auditor, KPMG, and an external representative of the Audit Committee. The FSSC monitored production of the financial statements and helped to resolve issues.

KPMG’s internal audit services included developing internal audit programs, conducting various internal audit reviews and working with the Audit Committee to ensure internal audit recommendations were implemented effectively.

Internal audits

The Treasury completed nine internal audits and reviews during 2014-15.

PGPA Act Implementation Health Check

This review considered the progress and preparedness of the Treasury to meet its requirements under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). The review found that the Treasury had completed or commenced a range of activities for the implementation of the PGPA Act on 1 July 2014 and identified a framework of additional PGPA implementation activities for Treasury to complete during 2015-16.

Foreign Investment Screening Process

This review examined the process used to prioritise and manage foreign investment applications. Its report made four recommendations for business processes and efficiency improvements to address technical, functional and business processes related to the Foreign Investment Management System Version 2 (FIMS2). Further recommendations related to standardising and aligning business processes, adopting templates and reconsidering the call centre operating model.

Review of Ministerial Documentation Processes

This review documented the end-to-end business process with regard to ministerial documentation and examined the needs and expectations of ministers’ offices in terms of quality and timeliness. The review report identified a number of areas for process and practice improvements and made a central recommendation that the Treasury establish a working group to consider and implement the proposals in the report and adopt an appropriate governance structure.

Fundamental Accounting Controls Assessment

This review assessed the design, operation and implementation of key financial accounting controls for credit cards, accounts receivable, travel, monthly reconciliations, procurements, accounts payable, appropriations, and delegations. The review tested a sample of transactions and identified that workflows had been adhered to by staff and that control execution elements were effective. The review concluded that core legislative requirements, including the PGPA Act, had been incorporated into workflows, processes and practices and that the Treasury had effective fundamental accounting controls in terms of design and execution. There were no recommendations.

In-flight Review of the Global Infrastructure Hub

The review provided ongoing advice to the Treasury on establishing the Global Infrastructure Hub (GIH) under Australian law as a company limited by guarantee. It considered the recruitment of a CEO, establishment of a permanent Board and an office in Sydney. The review considered financial arrangements and articulated the risks and associated mitigations.

In-flight Review of the Ministerial Documentation Processes Project (Phase 1 and Phase 2)

This review looked at the Ministerial Documentation Processes Project’s Implementation Plan including assessing its implementation and its capacity to deliver the planned outcomes within the timeframe. Phase one of the review considered potential implementation risks and identified mitigation strategies. The review found that planned progress had been achieved, but noted delivery against the plan was contingent on stakeholders.

Phase two of the review assessed progress against the plan and advised on the ongoing management of the enhanced Ministerial Documentation Processes Framework. The review concluded that significant progress had been made and that there was close monitoring and management of documents. It found no areas for concern in the project delivery.

HR Controls Review

This review assessed the Treasury’s HR processes and tested the effectiveness of key controls to adequately safeguard the privacy, integrity and security of employee information. The review made three findings and recommended process improvements to the control design and its timely operation.

Australian National Audit Office reports

The ANAO did not conduct any performance audits that related to the Treasury’s operations.

Other audit reports

Other ANAO reports relevant to the Treasury in 2014-15 were:

Report No. 1
Confidentiality in Government Contracts: Senate Order for Departmental and Agency Contracts (Calendar Year 2013 Compliance)(Tabled 18 September 2014)
Report No. 3
Fraud Control Arrangements (tabled 30 October 2014)
Report No. 5
Annual Compliance Arrangements with Large Corporate Taxpayers (tabled 6 November 2014)
Report No. 6
Business Continuity Management (tabled 6 November 2014)
Report No. 7
Administration of Contact Centres (tabled 26 November 2014)
Report No. 16
Audits of the Financial Statements of Australian Government Entities for the Period Ended 30 June 2014 (tabled 18 December 2014)
Report No. 34
Administration of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements by Emergency Management Australia
Report No. 44
Interim Phase of the Audits of the Financial Statements of Major General Government Sector Entities for the year ending 30 June 2015

Parliamentary committees

Treasury’s annual report will be scrutinised by the Senate Economics Committee.

Officials from the Treasury appeared before the following parliamentary committees:

  • 2 July 2014 — Senate Economics Legislation Committee: Inquiry into Fuel Indexation (Road Funding) Bill 2014 and related bills.
  • 15 July 2014 — Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia, Public Hearing.
  • 16 July 2014 — House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue.
  • 30 July 2014 — Economics References Committee on Affordable Housing.
  • 28 August 2014 — Senate Select Committee on Health.
  • 29 August 2014 — House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Inquiry into Foreign Investment in Residential Real Estate.
  • 2 October 2014 — Senate Economics Legislation Committee: Inquiry into Competition and Consumer Amendment (Misuse of Market Power) Bill 2014.
  • 8 October 2014 — Senate Select Committee on Health.
  • 13 October 2014 — Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services; Inquiry into Professional Standards in the Financial Services Industry.
  • 22 and 31 October 2014 — Senate Economics Legislation Committee, Budget Supplementary Estimates.
  • 17 November 2014 — Community Affairs References Committee on the Extent of Income Inequality in Australia.
  • 26 November 2014 — House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue: Inquiry into Tax Disputes.
  • 5 February 2015 — Senate Select Committee on Health.
  • 13 February 2015 — Economics References Committee on Retail Leasing Arrangements.
  • 18 February 2015 — Economics References Committee on Privatisation of State and Territory Assets and Recycling of the Proceeds into New Infrastructure.
  • 25-26 February 2015 — Senate Economics Legislation Committee, Additional Estimates.
  • 4 March 2015 — Economics References Committee on Digital Currency.
  • 16 March 2015 — Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.
  • 18 March 2015 — Economics Legislation Committee: Inquiry into Reserve Bank Amendment (Australian Reconstruction and Development Board) Bill 2013.
  • 18 March 2015 — Senate Committee into the Abbott Government’s Budget Cuts.
  • 9 April 2015 — Economics References Committee on Corporate Tax Avoidance.
  • 21 April 2015 — Senate Standing Committees on Economics: Inquiry into Competition and Consumer Act 2010, Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes—Food and Grocery) Regulation 2015.
  • 1-3 June 2015 — Senate Economics Legislation Committee, Budget Estimates.

Ombudsman comments, court, administrative tribunal and Information Commissioner Decisions

Judicial and Administrative Appeals Tribunal Decisions

There were no judicial or Administrative Appeals Tribunal decisions that had, or may have, a significant impact on the operations of the Treasury in 2014-15.

Commonwealth Ombudsman

The Commonwealth Ombudsman did not issue any reports on the operations of the Treasury in 2014-15.

Australian Information Commissioner

The Treasury was the subject of one merits review decision under the Freedom of Information Act 1982. On 27 November 2014 the Privacy Commissioner set aside the Treasury’s decision not to release documents in The Age and Department of the Treasury [2014] AICmr 141. Treasury complied with the decision and released additional documents on 19 December 2014.