Industry, Skills, Electricity and Water 2016

The Auditor-General, Margaret Crawford released a report today highlighting a decline in net profits of electricity agencies and the distributions the government received from these agencies. The report also details continuing issues in the management of Crown Land and TAFE NSW's student administration system.

Electricity distributors combined profit after tax fell by $1.0 billion in 2015–16

The NSW electricity distributors reported combined net losses after tax of $103 million in 2015–16 compared to a combined net profit after tax of $930 million in 2014–15. The Australian Energy Regulator’s determination, which reduced the maximum allowable revenue the electricity distributors can earn over five years, and a $408 million mark-to-market expense to convert

Ausgrid's long-term debt into short-term debt contributed significantly to this decline.

'The Industry cluster's State owned corporations' dividend and taxation payments to the Government fell from $2.3 billion in 2014–15 to $1.6 billion in 2015–16,' Ms Crawford said.

Unqualified audit opinion issued for TAFE NSW after $10.0 million project

In 2014–15, the financial statements for TAFE NSW were qualified as there was insufficient evidence to support student transactions recorded in the statements. This was largely due to limitations in its student administration system.

'In 2015–16, TAFE NSW incurred costs of more than $10.0 million so its financial statements accurately reflected the revenue it had earned. This enabled me to avoid qualifying the 2015–16 financial statements,' Ms Crawford said.

TAFE NSW has indicated it will replace its student administration system with a modern, cloud-based system, which will be progressively implemented from 2018. The expected cost of the new system has not been announced.

Challenges in the administration of Crown Lands

There are significant deficiencies in the recording of and accounting for Crown land assets in the Crown. The Department is addressing the issues, but has not fully resolved system limitations and control deficiencies.

In addition, unprocessed Aboriginal land claims on Crown land remain high. 'Based on the five year average clearance rate, it will take approximately 75 years to clear the existing backlog', Ms Crawford said. 'The Department should prioritise the implementation of measures to reduce unprocessed Aboriginal land claims.'

Further information

Barry Underwood, Executive Officer, on 9275 7220 or 0403 073 664 and email