Image description: road in NSW regional area

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. 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 Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 or section 421E of the Local Government Act the Auditor-General is required to act on the request. Engagements may be requested as a one-off arrangement, or as an annually recurring service. 

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 here.

Requests for audit from Members of Parliament (since 1 July 2019)

Requested by Mr Paul Scully MP, Member for Wollongong
Request date 4 March 2020
Details The 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.
Status Under consideration
Requested by Ms Jo Haylen MP, Member for Summer Hill
Request date 22 February 2020
Details The Member requested the Auditor-General conduct a performance audit of the Regional Seniors Travel Card program.
Status Under consideration
Requested by Ms Lynda Voltz MP, Member for Auburn
Request date 16 January 2020
Details The 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.

Status Performance audit on administering grants programs to be added to the Auditor-General's forward program.
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.

Status Topic remains on the Auditor-General's three-year forward program.
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 date 4 November 2019
Details The 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.
Status In progress
Requested by Ms Steph Cooke MP, Member for Cootamundra
Request date

20 September 2019

Details The 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.'

Status Not proceeding