Frequently Asked Questions

Who appoints the Auditor-General? Who does the Auditor-General report to?

The Auditor-General is appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Cabinet. The Public Accounts Committee has the right of veto on the appointment of the Auditor-General. The Auditor-General reports directly to the Parliament of New South Wales.

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How is the independence of the Auditor-General safeguarded? How independent is the Auditor-General?

The Auditor-General is appointed for a fixed term of eight years. The Governor may remove the Auditor-General upon the direction of both Houses of the Legislature. The Auditor-General is not permitted to hold any position in the public sector after the expiration of the term except with the consent of the Governor.

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Why is it necessary to audit government agencies?

The Auditor-General, through audits of government agencies, assists the Parliament of New South Wales hold the government accountable for its use of public resources.

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What can the Auditor-General audit?

The Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 allows the Auditor-General to conduct financial statement audits and performance audits of agencies in the public sector, that is, departments, statutory authorities, state owned corporations, universities and other prescribed bodies. From 2016-17, the Auditor-General was also given the mandate to conduct financial statement audits and performance audits of NSW local councils, under the Local Government Act 1993.

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What can’t the Auditor-General audit?

The Auditor-General does not have the mandate to audit private sector organisations.

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How many audits are completed each year?

There are approximately 420 financial statement audits and around 16 performance audits completed each year. This will increase with the introduction of the local council mandate from 2016-17.

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What’s the difference between a financial audit and a performance audit?

A financial statement audit results in an independent audit opinion being expressed on the annual financial statements of an agency. This opinion expresses whether the financial statements comply with accounting standards, laws, regulations and other relevant statutory requirements. A performance audit assesses whether government agencies are carrying out their activities effectively, economically and efficiently and in compliance with all relevant laws.

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How does the Auditor-General choose performance audit topics?

The Auditor-General writes to all members of parliament and Secretaries/CEOs of the major agencies seeking views on topics. The Audit Office also conducts a strategic audit planning process which identifies areas of risk in the public sector. The output from this planning process, together with responses from parliamentarians and Secretaries/CEOs, is considered by the Auditor-General and a list of potential performance audit topics is selected.

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Can members of the public suggest a topic for a performance audit?

The Auditor-General receives correspondence from the public on many issues. These issues are evaluated to determine what action should be taken. Some of these issues are considered in the strategic audit planning process.

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Who audits the Audit Office?

The Audit Office is subject to annual financial statements audits by a private sector auditor approved by the Governor. Every four years the Public Accounts Committee appoints an independent reviewer to conduct a review of the Audit Office in accordance with section 48A of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983.

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How can I make a complaint about the Audit Office?

Please visit Complaints and Feedback for information on how to make a complaint about the Audit Office.

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What role does the Audit Office have in regards to whistleblowers?

Under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994, the Audit Office has the role of looking into allegations of serious and substantial waste in the public sector.

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How can I access information from the Audit Office in accordance to GIPA?

Please visit Accessing Information for how to access Audit Office information under GIPA.

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How can I find recent audit reports issued?

The Auditor-General issues approximately thirteen volumes of financial audit reports and approximately 16 performance audit reports to the Parliament of New South Wales annually. All of these reports are available in the Publications section of this website.

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I am from overseas, can I come and visit the Audit Office?

The Audit Office of New South Wales is pleased to receive visits from overseas delegations, where the proposed visit relates to the role and functions of the Audit Office and is sought at an official level (NSW Government or parliament, visiting delegation's government through a consul or embassy, or as part of broader activities coordinated by another NSW or Federal Government agency). Click here for further information, including fees.

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How do I apply for a job at the Audit Office?

Please visit the Careers section of this website for information on how to gain employment with the Audit Office.

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Our vision

Our insights inform and challenge government to improve outcomes for citizens.

Our purpose

To help parliament hold government accountable for its use of public resources.

Our values

  • Purpose – we have an impact, are accountable and work as a team.
  • People – we trust and respect others, and have a balanced approach to work.
  • Professionalism – we are recognised for our independence and integrity and the value we deliver.