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Requests for audit

In addition to legislatively mandated audits, the Auditor-General may be asked to perform other audit and related services by auditees, the Treasurer, ministers, the Office of Local Government within the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and both Houses of Parliament. Requests can be made under section 27B(3) of the Government Sector Audit Act 1983 or section 421E of the Local Government Act 1993. The requests include audits/reviews of special purpose financial statements, performance audits/reviews, compliance audits/reviews or acquittals of grant funding received by agencies/councils. 

When requests are made under section 27B(3) of the Government Sector Audit Act 1983 the Auditor-General is generally required to act on the request. Engagements may be requested as a one-off arrangement, or as an annually recurring service.

Requests made under section 421E of the Local Government Act 1993 are at the discretion of the Auditor-General. Most requests are from local councils requiring an audit to satisfy a legislative or contractual obligation. However, requests for audit can also be made on a voluntary basis. All requests for audit made on a voluntary basis since 1 January 2021 are published below.

The Audit Office also receives requests and suggestions for audits from Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Decisions to undertake audits based on these requests or suggestions are assessed in the context of the Auditor-General's current and future audit program. All requests from Members of Parliament since 1 July 2019 are published below.

Requests for audit from Members of Parliament (since 1 July 2019) and voluntary requests for audit from local councils (since 1 January 2021)

Requested by:Mr Alex Greenwich MP
Request date:7 March 2024
Details:   The Member wrote to the Auditor-General requesting a review of the NSW Police Force firearms protocols to ensure that NSW Police policy and procedures are safe and fit for purpose.
Response:The Auditor General responded to the Member on 3 April 2024 noting that law enforcement oversight and integrity agencies have a clear role in responding to and reviewing critical incidents in the first instance. The Auditor-General also advised that, nevertheless, the Audit Office will retain a watching brief on the matter. 
Status:The Audit Office may determine to bring forward an audit of relevant NSW Police processes at a future time.
Requested by:Ms Sue Higginson MLC
Request date:4 March 2024
Details:The Member wrote to the Auditor-General requesting a review of the processes and regulations surrounding the use of firearms for general duties police officers, including an audit of the systems around police access to firearms.
Response:The Auditor General responded to the Member on 3 April 2024 noting that law enforcement oversight and integrity agencies have a clear role in responding to and reviewing critical incidents in the first instance. The Auditor-General also advised that, nevertheless, the Audit Office will retain a watching brief on the matter.  
Status:The Audit Office may determine to bring forward an audit of relevant NSW Police processes at a future time.
Requested by:The Hon John Graham MLC
Request date:20 November 2023
Details:The Member, in his capacity as Special Minister of State, wrote to the Auditor-General requesting a recurring performance audit of emergency relief grants commencing for FY24/25 and thereafter on an ongoing basis.
Response:To be drafted
Status:Under consideration
Requested by:Mr Greg Donnelly MLC and Mr Rod Roberts MLC
Request date:18 April 2023
Details:

The Members wrote to the Auditor-General regarding the current and ongoing expenditure on palliative care in New South Wales. The Members referenced the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2021 which will commence on 28 November 2023. The Members also referenced a previous performance audit report Planning and evaluating palliative care services in NSW published on 17 August 2017 which highlighted concerns around NSW Health’s approach to planning and evaluating palliative care. The Members requested the Auditor-General consider:

  • Monitoring on an ongoing basis funds allocated for the purpose of palliative care are used for their intended purpose.
  • Including as an area of focus for future audits of NSW Health.
  • Undertaking a performance audit on the expenditure of the $743 million boost to palliative care funding.
Response:To be drafted
Status:Under consideration
Requested by:Ms Sophie Cotsis MP
Request date:4 August 2022
Details:The Member wrote to the Auditor-General as to the need for an audit of SafeWork NSWs ability to monitor and enforce compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.
Response:The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 13 September 2022 advising of her decision to add a performance audit into the effectiveness and efficiency of SafeWork NSW to the forward program.
Status:The performance audit titled Effectiveness of SafeWork in Exercising its compliance functions was tabled on 27 February 2024
Requested by:Ms Catherine Cusack MLC
Request date:10 June 2022
Details:The Member wrote to the Auditor-General requesting a review of recent policy changes to Private Native Forestry Agreements and State Forest timber contracts. The Member requested that the arrangements be reviewed in terms of policy cohesiveness and value for money.
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 27 June 2022.

The Auditor General advised she had previously determined to commence a performance audit of the regulation of native forestry and that the matters raised by the Member would be considered as part of this audit. 

This audit topic was listed on the Annual Work Program for 2022-23.

Status:The performance audit titled Regulation of public native forestry was tabled on 22 June 2023. 
Requested by:Mr Justin Field MLC
Request date:9 June 2022
Details:The Member wrote to the Auditor-General requesting an audit of the decision by Forestry Corporation NSW (FCNSW) to extend the non-Boral north coast wood supply agreements. The Member expressed concern that the contract commitments create obligations on FCNSW that will not be able to be delivered.
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 27 June 2022.

The Auditor General advised she had previously determined to commence a performance audit of the regulation of native forestry and that the matters raised by the Member would be considered as part of this audit. 

This audit topic was listed on the Annual Work Program for 2022-23.

Status:The performance audit titled Regulation of public native forestry was tabled on 22 June 2023.  
Requested by:Ms Melinda Pavey MP
Request date:10 December 2021
Details:The Member, in her capacity as the then Minister for Water, Property and Housing requested the Auditor-General undertake a financial and performance audit of the Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust to examine whether funds expended by the Trust have been used for their proper purpose.
Response:The Auditor-General acknowledged the request on 25 March 2022. On 15 September 2022, the Auditor-General advised Kevin Anderson MP, Minister for Lands and Water, of the commencement of the audit of the Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust.
Status:See relevant report - Special report into the financial affairs of the Catholic Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust
Requested by:Mr Alan Tudge MP*
Request date:1 December 2021
Details:The Member wrote to the Auditor-General asking the Auditor-General to consider the inclusion of at least one performance audit related to the implementation of the ‘Disability Standards for Education 2005’ (the Standards) in her work program by 2024. This request flows from a recommendation in the 2020 Review of the Standards which contained a recommendation that the Minister for Education make this request of Education ministers and state Auditors-General.
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to Mr Stuart Robert MP** on 20 December 2021. 

The Auditor-General referred the Member to the performance audit on Supporting students with disability in NSW public schools in 2016 and the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry on Education of students with a disability or special needs in New South Wales in 2017.

The Auditor-General advised that her forward program includes a further performance audit on Supporting students with disability which will examine whether the Department of Education has addressed the findings in the 2016 and 2017 reports. 

Status:The implementation of the Standards will be considered when determining the scope of the performance audit on Supporting students with disability. 
 
*Mr Tudge is the federal member for Aston and the Minister for Education and Youth (currently stood aside)
** Mr Robert is the federal member for Fadden and the Acting Minister for Education and Youth
Requested by:Mr Mick Veitch MLC
Request date:17 November 2021
Details:The Member wrote to the Auditor-General regarding the announcement of Harvest Leave for employees of the Department of Regional NSW. The Member asked the Auditor-General to undertake an audit of the program having regard to any conflicts of interest, exposure of the Department, audits of leave taken, management of workloads and perceptions of preferential treatment.
Response:The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 30 November 2021 advising that the Audit Office will not proceed with an audit of this topic. The Auditor-General advised the Member that some of the issues raised are covered in our annual financial audit of the Department of Regional NSW and its related entities. The Audit Office will maintain a watching brief on this issue.
Status:Not proceeding
Requested by:Mr Robert Borsak MLC
Request date:23 September 2021
Details:The Member wrote to the Auditor-General regarding the Firearms Registry. The Member referenced various complaints received by his office from members of the public regarding the Firearms Registry. The Member requested a performance audit of all the divisions of the Firearms Registry.
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 10 November 2021.

The Auditor-General drew the Member’s attention to the performance audit of the NSW Firearms Registry which was tabled in Parliament in February 2019 and the Public Accounts Committee’s examination of that report in October 2020.

The Auditor-General advised that due to the Audit Office’s finite resources, it must target its efforts to make the most of what it has at its disposal. The current program of work includes the examination of NSW Police operational activities, through a performance audit on police responses to domestic and family violence. As outlined in the 2020–21 Annual Work Program, the Auditor-General has a current focus on government responses to recent emergencies including bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Status:Not proceeding
Requested by:Ms Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill
Request date:29 June 2021
Details:The Member wrote to the Auditor-General regarding the NSW Commuter Car Park Program (the program). In referencing the Australian National Audit Office report titled Administration of Commuter Car Park Programs within the Urban Congestion Fund, dated 28 June 2021, the Member outlined her concerns about the administration and probity of the program by the New South Wales Government. The Member requested a performance audit into the administration of the program.
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 3 August 2021.

The Auditor-General advised that her officers have reviewed available material and will continue to monitor the progress of the program and the appropriateness of procurement practices.

The Auditor-General also noted that, in 2017, the Legislative Assembly Committee on Transport and Infrastructure conducted an inquiry on commuter car parking in NSW. The Committee published its final report in May 2018, in which it recommended that Transport for NSW clarify what evidence it considers when making decisions on the location of new or upgraded commuter car parks.

The Auditor-General advised that due to the Audit Office’s finite resources, it must target its efforts to make the most of what it has at its disposal. As will be outlined in the 2021-22 annual work program, the Auditor-General has chosen to focus on government responses to recent emergencies including bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the Auditor-General is unable to commit at this time to conducting a performance audit on the topic suggested.

Status:Not proceeding
Requested by:Mr Michael Daley MP, Member for Maroubra
Request date:4 June 2021
Details:The Member wrote to the Auditor-General regarding the Transport Asset Holding Entity of New South Wales (TAHE). The Member requested the Auditor-General investigate the administration of TAHE and the effect of accounting practices on public financial reporting in NSW.
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 14 July 2021.

The Auditor-General drew the Member’s attention to the 2020 Reports to Parliament on State Finances and Transport, where the Auditor-General raised concerns on the implementation of TAHE.

The Auditor-General advised that the 2020-21 financial audit of TAHE is currently underway, with staff requesting access to a range of TAHE related documents from Department of Premier and Cabinet, NSW Treasury, TAHE, and Transport for NSW. The Auditor-General is planning to report on TAHE as part of the 2021 Reports to Parliament on State Finances and Transport.

Status:

Completed - see relevant reports:

Requested by:Mr Adam Searle MLC
Request date:3 June 2021
Details:

The Member wrote to the Auditor-General regarding the Transport Asset Holding Entity of New South Wales (TAHE). The Member requested an audit into the NSW Budget and specifically into the establishment and operation of TAHE and its impact on the Budget over time.

Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 14 July 2021.

The Auditor-General drew the Member’s attention to the 2020 Reports to Parliament on State Finances and Transport, where the Auditor-General raised concerns on the implementation of TAHE.

The Auditor-General advised that the 2020-21 financial audit of TAHE is currently underway, with staff requesting access to a range of TAHE related documents from Department of Premier and Cabinet, NSW Treasury, TAHE, and Transport for NSW. The Auditor-General is planning to report on TAHE as part of the 2021 Reports to Parliament on State Finances and Transport.

The Auditor-General also confirmed the Member’s understanding that she does not have the legislative mandate to review the NSW Budget, as highlighted in the last Quadrennial Review of the Audit Office 2017.

Status:

Completed - see relevant reports:

Requested by:Ms Cate Faehrmann MLC
Request date:2 June 2021
Details:

The Member wrote to the Auditor-General outlining matters related to the NSW Police Force’s Random Drug Testing regime (the regime).

The Member requested a performance audit into the regime, including consideration of:

  • the extent to which there are breaches to NSW Police Force’s Standard Operating Procedures when conducting random drug tests
  • the efficiency and effectiveness of the regime in reducing road trauma caused by illicit drug use.
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 29 June 2021.

The Auditor-General advised that due to the Audit Office’s finite resources, it must target its efforts to make the most of what it has at its disposal. As such, the Auditor-General advised that the Audit Office was unable to commit at this time to conducting a performance audit on the topic requested.

The Auditor-General suggested that the research arm of the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission would, in the first instance, be the appropriate agency to conduct a systemic review of the Random Drug Testing regime. Further, members of the public can lodge a formal complaint with the NSW Police Force regarding the application of Random Drug Testing standard operating procedures.

Status:Not proceeding
Requested by:Ms Sophie Cotsis MP, Member for Canterbury
Request date:16 May 2021
Details:

The Member wrote to the Auditor-General expressing concerns in relation to the NSW Government’s Park’nPay smartphone app, which was launched by the Minister for Customer Service in 2019.

The Member requested the Auditor-General examine:

  • allegations of interference and pressure from departmental and ministerial staff directly dealing with councillors and council staff procuring of Park’nPay, and whether tender processes have been bypassed
  • the awarding of a $1.26 million contract by the Department of Customer Service directly to one provider related to the Park’nPay app and parking hardware technology (meters and sensors)
  • whether the Park’nPay transaction fees being charged to councils by the private provider is resulting in price gouging of councils.
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 29 June 2021.

The Auditor-General advised that due to the Audit Office’s finite resources, it must target its efforts to make the most of what it has at its disposal. As outlined in the 2020-21 annual work program, the Auditor-General has a current focus on government responses to recent emergencies including bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Auditor-General advised the Audit Office will be monitoring the rollout of the Park’nPay app and the appropriateness of procurement practices, however is unable to commit at this time to conducting a performance audit on the app.

Following review of additional information, the Auditor-General decided on 15 November 2022 to add a performance audit on the Park'n Pay app to the work program.

Status:In progress
Requested by:Ms Cate Faehrmann MLC
Request date:23 April 2021
Details:

The Member wrote to the Auditor-General outlining matters related to the design and operation of the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme established under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016

The Member requested a performance audit into the Biodiversity Conservation Trust and the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme, as well as the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s role and involvement in relation to both.

Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 11 May 2021.

The Auditor-General advised that her forward audit program to 2023 includes ‘biodiversity offsets’ as a planned performance audit topic. The Auditor-General has decided to commence this audit in the latter part of 2021, with detailed scoping of the audit topic underway. 

Status:Completed - view report here
Requested by:Mr Jihad Dib MP, Member for Lakemba
Request date:31 March 2021
Details:

The Member wrote to the Auditor-General requesting the Audit Office examine:

  • the process by which the TAFE NSW site on Flemington Drive, Scone was identified as surplus to TAFE NSW
  • the divestment process, including compliance with the NSW Government’s Strategic Land and Property Framework
  • compliance with the NSW Unsolicited Proposals Guide for Submission and Assessment
  • any other matters that the Auditor-General believes are of concern.
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 16 April 2021.

The Auditor-General advised that due to the Audit Office’s finite resources, it must target its efforts to make the most of what it has at its disposal. As outlined in the 2020-21 annual work program, the Auditor-General has a current focus on government responses to recent emergencies including bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Auditor-General advised that she is giving the Member’s request close consideration and seeking further information on the matters raised.

The Auditor-General wrote to the Member again on 14 July 2021. The Auditor-General advised that initial inquiries have not yielded any information that suggests the process to divest the TAFE NSW site on Flemington Drive, Scone was inconsistent with TAFE’s strategic priorities for its sites in the area, nor with broader legislative or governance requirements.

The Auditor-General noted her forward work plan for 2021–22 includes a performance audit of property transactions. This audit will examine how effectively a series of transactions have been conducted. The processes to divest land for TAFE NSW may be considered when determining the scope of this performance audit.

Status:The processes to divest land for TAFE NSW may be considered when determining the scope of an upcoming performance audit into property transactions.
Requested by:Mr Darcy Byrne, Mayor, Inner West Council
Request date:16 March 2021
Details:The Mayor of Inner West Council wrote to the Auditor-General requesting a performance audit into the heritage upgrade of the Dawn Fraser Baths by Inner West Council.
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Mayor on 16 April 2021.

The Auditor-General advised that due to the Audit Office’s finite resources, it must target its efforts to make the most of what it has at its disposal. As outlined in the 2020-21 annual work program, the Auditor-General has chosen to focus the work program on local and state government responses to recent emergencies including bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the Auditor-General advised that the Audit Office was unable to commit at this time to conducting a performance audit of the kind requested.

The Auditor-General recognised there may be learnings that can be gained from reviewing a project such as the upgrade of the Dawn Fraser Baths. To this end, the Auditor-General suggested it may be a matter that, in consultation with Council’s Audit Risk and Improvement Committee, Council’s internal auditors could review.

Status:Not proceeding
Requested by:Mr Adam Searle MLC
Request date:11 March 2021
Details:The Member wrote to the Auditor-General requesting an examination of matters relating to the CEO of Landcom and Landcom’s acquisition of property at Wilton, including consideration of probity and governance arrangements in place to manage any questions regarding potential conflicts of interest, and the value for money proposition proposed by the acquisition.
Response:The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 26 March 2021 advising the matters raised had been referred to financial audit.
Status:Completed - the matters raised were considered as part of the 2020-21 financial audit of Landcom. 
Requested by:Mr Gurmesh Singh MP, Member for Coffs Harbour
Request date:3 February 2021
Details:The Member requested the Auditor-General investigate a constituent’s concerns regarding the alleged illegal dumping and unsafe handling of asbestos by Coffs Harbour City Council. 
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 11 March 2021.

The Auditor-General advised the Audit Office is currently undertaking a review of its forward work program and will carefully consider whether this matter warrants further attention through the performance audit program. The relevant team will undertake some preliminary inquiries to assist in this decision.

Status:Not proceeding
Requested by:The Hon. Andrew Constance MP,  Minister for Transport and Roads
Request date: 17 November 2020
Details:

The Minister requested a performance audit be conducted that examines:

  • whether Transport for NSW conducted an effective process to purchase 4-6 Grand Avenue, Camellia; and
  • whether Transport for NSW has effective processes and procedures to identify and acquire the property required to deliver the NSW Government's major infrastructure projects.
Response:The Minister made the request under section 27B(3)(c) of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983. The Auditor-General is required to act on requests made under this section of the Act. The audit criteria and scope in response to the Minister’s request will be finalised shortly.
Status:Completed - view report here
Requested by:Mr Greg Warren MP, Member for Campbelltown
Request date:23 September 2020
Details:

The Member requested the Audit Office examine whether due process was followed regarding property acquisitions in relation to the Western Sydney Airport. 

The Member referred the Auditor-General to articles from the Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph on 21 September 2020 referencing the federal government’s purchase of a property in Bringelly. The Member notes that while the property in question was purchased by the federal government, the state government has also undertaken property purchases as part of this project.

The Member requested that the Auditor-General look into every property purchased by the NSW Government in relation to the construction of the Western Sydney Airport to ensure they weren’t purchased at an inflated or deflated price. 

Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 15 October 2020. 

The Auditor-General advised that, given their likely scale, land valuations and acquisitions for the Western Sydney Aerotropolis would be subject to review as part of the financial statement audits of relevant agencies for the years in which the transactions occur.

In addition, the Auditor-General’s work program for 2021–22 includes a performance audit of the Western Sydney City Deal that encompasses the development of the Aerotropolis. This audit would consider the NSW Government’s and local councils’ role in contributing to the planning and implementation process. This work may include consideration of processes to purchase land connected with the airport development.

Status:The processes to purchase land connected with the Western Sydney Aerotropolis will be considered when determining the scope of the performance audit looking at the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.
Requested by:Ms Sophie Cotsis MP, Member for Canterbury
Request date:29 August 2020
Details:

The Member referred the Auditor-General to an article from iTnews dated 28 August 2020, which reported more than 108,000 images of driver licences being accessible through unsecured cloud storage. 

The Member requested the Auditor-General consider pursuing one of the following actions:

  1. expanding the scope of the performance audit into Service NSW’s handling of personal information
  2. undertaking a separate performance audit in relation to this matter; or
  3. ensuring this matter is examined in detail as part of the Auditor-General’s annual work program for 2020-21.
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 7 September 2020.

The Auditor-General understands that the matter has been referred to both the NSW and Commonwealth Information and Privacy Commissioners and will monitor their response.

The performance audit of Service NSW’s handling of personal information is underway and is due to be tabled in Parliament later this year. This audit was requested by the Minister for Customer Service under section 27B(3)(c) of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 and accordingly, the scope cannot be changed.

As outlined in the Annual Work Program, the Auditor-General is continuing to focus on cyber security through performance, compliance and financial audits of both the State and local government sectors.

Status:

Completed - view report here

Cyber security remains a focus of the Auditor-General through her Annual Work Program.

Requested by:Mr Clayton Barr MP, Member for Cessnock
Request date:24 August 2020
Details:The Member requested the Audit Office consider including a review of the NSW Government’s actions, expenditure, and implementation of drought response and drought resilience measures on the Auditor-General’s forward audit program.
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 11 September 2020.

The Auditor-General advised the Member of an upcoming performance audit report on Support for Regional Town Water Infrastructure, which will be tabled in September 2020. This audit has assessed the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment’s support for the planning and funding of town water infrastructure in regional NSW towns and cities.

The Auditor-General’s work program for 2020–21 includes an audit of investment in regional development, which may include consideration of some NSW Government programs related to drought resilience. The three-year performance audit program also includes a proposed audit of water management and regulation. This is planned to commence from 2021–22 and may cover the NSW Government’s actions to manage the impacts of, and build resilience for, a variable climate that includes prolonged dry periods.

Status:The Audit Office will continue to monitor developments in this area when scoping and planning relevant audits on the Auditor-General’s work program.
Requested by:Mr John Graham MLC
Request date:11 August 2020
Details:

The Member requested the Auditor-General investigate the practice of vehicle owners referring mobile phone detection penalties to companies to 'avoid taking personal responsibility for fines and demerit points'.

The Member requested the investigation determine 'the nature and extent of the problem' and for the Auditor-General to indicate 'the best way to close this loophole'.

Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 26 August 2020.

The Auditor-General’s planned audit program for 2021-22 to 2022-23 includes a performance audit on Road Safety. As demerit point offences are intended as a road safety measure, the Auditor-General will consider including in this audit an assessment of whether Revenue NSW is meeting its responsibilities regarding the administration of demerit point offences.

Status:The administration of demerit point offences by Revenue NSW will be considered for inclusion in the planned performance audit on Road Safety.
Requested byMr Greg Warren MP, Member for Campbelltown
Request date6 July 2020
Details

The Member requested the Auditor-General conduct an investigation into the:

  • planning of the ‘Stronger Communities Fund – Tied Grants Program’ (the Program) and its guidelines
  • notification of the Program to eligible councils
  • assessment of project applications
  • selection criteria of successful applications
  • distribution of funding to the successful applications
  • general administration and governance of the Program by the NSW Government and the Office of Local Government, as the responsible agency.
Response

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 10 July 2020.

The Auditor-General is planning to commence a performance audit of grants administration in selected NSW Government agencies during the 2020-21 financial year. This audit may include assessing whether selected grants programs are being effectively targeted, administered and delivered. At this initial stage, the Auditor-General has determined the Stronger Communities Fund will be included in the selection of grants programs for this audit.

StatusCompleted - view report here
Requested byMr Michael Veitch MLC
Request date30 June 2020
Details

The Member requested the Audit Office of New South Wales undertake:

  • a compliance audit to assess whether appropriate probity standards were upheld during the NSW Government’s awarding of $16 million to Country UC Limited for the establishment and operation of regional study hubs known as Country University Centres (CUCs)
  • a performance audit to assess whether the public money awarded to Country UC Limited has resulted in substantial public outcomes.
Response:

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 24 July 2020.

The Auditor-General is planning to commence a performance audit looking at investment in regional development during the 2020-21 financial year. This audit may consider whether regional development and grant programs are well coordinated and delivering improvements. At this initial stage, the matters raised by the Member will be carefully considered when determining the audit scope.

StatusNot proceeding – the performance audit of investment in regional development did not proceed. A performance audit on the Integrity of grant program administration was completed in February 2022 - view report here
Requested byMs Sophie Cotsis MP, Member for Canterbury
Request date27 May 2020
Details

The Member requested the Auditor-General examine the NSW Department of Customer Service’s cyber security systems to assess:

  • the effectiveness of current cyber security infrastructure in combating cyber attacks
  • the level of defence to protect private and sensitive customer information
  • procedure for reporting data breaches
  • the effectiveness of procedures in responding to cyber attacks.
Response

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 11 June 2020.

On 19 May 2020 the Auditor-General received a request from the Hon. Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Customer Service under section 27B(3)(c) of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983, asking for a performance audit in relation to Service NSW’s handling of sensitive customer and business information. The Auditor-General is currently finalising a scope and criteria for this audit and will consider the issues the Member raised as part of this process. 

StatusCompleted - view report here 
Requested byThe Hon. Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Customer Service
Request date19 May 2020
DetailsThe Minister requested a performance audit be conducted in relation to Service NSW’s handling of sensitive customer and business information.
ResponseThe Minister made the request under section 27B(3)(c) of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983. The Auditor-General is required to act on requests made under this section of the Act.
StatusCompleted - view report here
Requested byMr Tim Crakanthorp MP, Member for Newcastle
Request date19 May 2020
DetailsThe Member requested the Auditor-General consider a constituent’s request for the Auditor-General to conduct an audit of the Newcastle Light Rail.
Response

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 2 June 2020.

The Newcastle Light Rail is not a separate entity, and as a result, the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 does not require separate financial statements to be prepared. As no financial statements are prepared for the Newcastle Light Rail, my office does not issue a separate audit report on financial information related to the Newcastle Light Rail. That said, the financial statements of Transport for NSW incorporate the financial information of the Newcastle Light Rail, and therefore it is within the scope of the Transport for NSW audit. The constituent’s concerns have been passed to the Audit Office financial audit team for consideration as part of Transport for NSW’s 2019-20 financial audit. 

The Auditor-General tabled a performance audit report on the Newcastle Urban Transformation and Transport Program in December 2018 that included consideration of the Newcastle Light Rail and associated transport reforms. As a result, the Auditor-General does not plan on conducting a performance audit of the Newcastle Light Rail in the near future.

StatusNot proceeding
Requested byThe Hon. Catherine Cusack MLC
Request date6 May 2020
DetailsThe Member requested the Auditor-General conduct a performance audit of the NSW Cross Border Commissioner.
Response

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 2 June 2020.

At this time there is limited evidence that the topic is a high priority, though the Audit Office will monitor the issues raised in the Member’s request.

The Auditor-General is currently refreshing her forward audit program, which will focus on governance and financial risks as well as issues of community interest. The Auditor-General will be considering future topics in the new Regional NSW cluster that includes the Office of the NSW Cross Border Commissioner.

StatusNot proceeding
Requested byMs Sophie Cotsis MP, Member for Canterbury
Request date22 April 2020
DetailsThe Member requested the Auditor-General consider examining the collection of data from private companies and Commonwealth Government agencies by the NSW Department of Customer Service as part of the Auditor-General’s ongoing work in relation to cyber security and internal controls and governance for information and communications technology.
Response

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 11 May 2020.

As outlined in the Auditor-General’s Annual Work Program, the Audit Office is continuing with its focus on cyber security. The Audit Office will shortly commence an audit assessing compliance by selected agencies with the NSW Government's cyber security policy.

Status

Completed - see relevant reports:

Topic remains a focus of the Auditor-General through the Annual Work Program.

Requested byMr Paul Scully MP, Member for Wollongong
Request date4 March 2020
DetailsThe Member requested the Auditor-General consider conducting an audit into the wood supply agreements in New South Wales for both hardwood and softwood forestry products.
Response

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 15 April 2020.

The Audit Office financial audit team are overseeing an evaluation of the impact of the fires as part of the annual valuation of biological assets held by the Forestry Corporation of NSW. Insights from this evaluation will inform the Audit Office as to the value, timing and scope of a potential performance audit of wood supply agreements in the future.

StatusContinue to monitor the potential for a performance audit of wood supply agreements in the future.
Requested byMs Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill
Request date22 February 2020
DetailsThe Member requested the Auditor-General conduct a performance audit of the Regional Seniors Travel Card program.
Response

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 4 May 2020.

The Auditor-General has commenced an annual review of her work program. The Auditor-General will carefully consider the Member’s concerns about the Regional Seniors Travel Card program while balancing the large range of priorities that government is responding to. The Audit Office financial audit team will monitor expenditure in this area.

StatusTopic to be considered as part of the annual review of the Auditor-General’s work program.
Requested byMs Lynda Voltz MP, Member for Auburn
Request date16 January 2020
DetailsThe Member requested the Auditor-General review the Greater Sydney Sports Facility Fund grants process.
Response

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 19 February 2020.

The effective allocation of funding for grants and projects is an important focus area for the Auditor-General’s Performance Audit Program. Recent reports assessing similar issues to those raised include the Transport Access Program report published on 19 February 2019 and the Regional Assistance Grants report published on 17 May 2018.

The Auditor-General will continue to give these issues focus in the three-year forward program of Performance Audits, which is now in the process of being updated. The Auditor-General plans to include a topic in the updated forward program which will explore how effectively and transparently a number of NSW Government agencies are administering grants programs. This performance audit may include an examination of the Greater Sydney Sports Facility Fund as well as several other grants programs, and would likely commence during the remainder of this calendar year.

StatusCompleted - view report here
Requested by
Ms Jodi McKay MP, NSW Leader of the Opposition
Request date
21 November 2019
Details

The Member requested the Auditor-General prioritise an investigation into the Government’s preparedness for the coming fire season. The Member requested this investigation consider:

  • Rural Fire Service funding and resourcing
  • Fire and Rescue NSW funding and resourcing
  • Whether Fire Station closures have affected the fire response
  • Whether staffing levels are adequate and sustainable
  • What additional services and response measures are needed
  • The adequacy of government support, and support from other agencies with key fire preparedness roles, such as the National Parks Service Ranger program.
Response

The Auditor-General initially responded to the Member on 10 December 2019:

'My published work program foreshadowed a performance audit on the “Management of the risk of Bushfires”. The program indicates this is planned for “post 30 June 2020”.

Recognising the importance of this matter, my office proposes to commence work on this audit in the second quarter of next year. The timing will ensure our work does not interfere with the operational activities of fire services agencies.'

The Auditor-General wrote again to the Member on 14 February 2020:

Given events subsequent to the initial response, the Auditor-General has decided not to conduct a performance audit into the NSW Government’s management and prevention of bushfires at this time.

State and Commonwealth Governments have announced they will hold their own inquiries into bushfire preparedness and responses. These inquires are likely to address many of the matters raised in the Member’s letter. A performance audit would potentially duplicate efforts and risk over-burdening relevant agencies.

The Auditor-General will continue to monitor these issues and will consider conducting an audit into bushfire responses pending the outcome of these government inquires. The topic remains on the Auditor-General’s three-year forward program.

StatusCompleted - view report here
Requested by

The Hon. Don Harwin MP

Special Minister of State and Minister for the Public Service and Employee Relations, Aboriginal Affairs and the Arts

Request date4 November 2019
DetailsThe Minister requested an audit be conducted in relation to the effectiveness of the financial arrangements and management practices of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission, the NSW Ombudsman, and the NSW Electoral Commission.
Response

The Minister made the request under section 27B(3)(c) of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983. The Auditor-General is required to act on requests made under this section of the Act.

This audit will assess the effectiveness of the financial arrangements and management practices in four integrity agencies: the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission, the NSW Ombudsman, and the NSW Electoral Commission. It will also consider the roles of the Department of Premier and Cabinet and NSW Treasury in these processes.

This will include assessing:

  • how the integrity agencies assess the funding requirements for meeting their legislative mandate
  • whether the existing funding mechanisms effectively support integrity agencies to achieve their legislative mandate
  • whether integrity agencies monitor the efficiency of their operations.
StatusCompleted - view report here
Requested byMs Steph Cooke MP, Member for Cootamundra
Request date

20 September 2019

DetailsThe Member requested an independent assessment of the finances of Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council and the veracity of Council’s claims of a $30 million deficit they face over the next 10 years.
Response

The Auditor-General responded to the Member on 11 October 2019:

'In May 2019, my office tabled a performance audit report in Parliament that focused on workforce reform within three amalgamated councils. While that report focused on workforce reform, it also reported that the NSW government estimated benefit realisation from the 2016 amalgamations over a 20 year timeframe. During the first three years following amalgamation, councils were subject to staff protections that limited their ability to restructure their workforce to deliver improved services. Those protections only expired six months ago in May 2019.

Performance audits examine one or more of efficiency, effectiveness and economy. Given the 20 year timeframe for benefits realisation, a performance audit of Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council's effectiveness in realising benefits from amalgamation would be premature at this time.

Our financial audits provide an objective and independent opinion on the financial statements of NSW Local Government councils. These audits are of historical information. My most recent opinion on the 2017-18 financial statements found that the financial report presented fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Council as at 30 June 2018, and of its financial performance and its cash flows for the year then ended.'

StatusNot proceeding