Report highlights: Stronger Communities 2021

What the report is about

The results of the Stronger Communities cluster agencies' financial statement audits for the year ended 30 June 2021.

What we found

Unqualified audit opinions were issued for all 30 June 2021 financial statements of cluster agencies.

Eleven of the 15 cluster agencies required to submit 2020–21 early close financial statements and other mandatory procedures did not meet the statutory deadline. Five agencies did not perform all mandatory procedures.

The implementation of AASB 1059 'Service Concession Arrangements: Grantors' had a significant impact on the Department of Communities and Justice's (the Department) 2020–21 financial statements. The Department applied a modified retrospective approach upon initial adoption at 1 July 2020 and recognised service concession assets and liabilities of $1.0 billion and $1.2 billion respectively (relating to three correctional centres with private sector operators).

The Department was, this year for the first time, able to reliably measure Incurred But Not Reported (IBNR) claims relating to its Victims Support Scheme. The Department recorded a liability of $200 million at 30 June 2021. Liabilities for Child Sexual Assault IBNR claim continue to be not recorded on the basis they are unable to be reliably measured.

The number of monetary misstatements identified during the audit of the financial statements for the cluster increased from 61 in 2019–20 to 72 in 2020–21.

What the key issues were

The number of issues reported to management decreased from 191 in 2019–20 to 172 in 2020–21. However, 45 per cent were repeat issues related to information technology, governance and oversight controls.

Seven high risk issues were identified in 2020–21, an increase of five compared to last year. High risk issues related to deficiencies in IT access controls at Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust; a lack of a formal agreement between the Office of Sport and Planning Ministerial Corporation over the management of a sporting venue; asset revaluations at both Fire and Rescue NSW and the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial Building; and three issues related to revenue recognition control deficiencies at New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council and two of its subsidiaries.

What we recommended

Cluster agencies should ensure all applicable mandatory early close procedures are completed and the outcomes provided to the audit team in accordance with the deadlines set by NSW Treasury.

We recommend cluster agencies action recommendations to address internal control weaknesses promptly. Focus should be given to addressing high risk and repeat issues.

Fast facts

The Stronger Communities cluster, consisting of 28 agencies, aims to deliver community services that support a safe and just New South Wales.

  • $14.0b property, plant and equipment as at 30 June 2021 
  • 100% unqualified audit opinions were issued for all 30 June 2021 financial statements
  • 72 monetary misstatements were reported in 2020–21
  • $20.9b total expenditure incurred in 2020–21
  • 7 high risk management letter findings were identified
  • 45% of reported issues were repeat issues.

Further information

Please contact Ian Goodwin, Deputy Auditor-General on 9275 7347 or by email.