Image description: William Lithgow, first Auditor-General for NSW

Our history

For almost 200 years, the Auditor-General for New South Wales has been assisting the Parliament of New South Wales to hold government accountable for its use of public resources. The Auditor-General does this by reporting directly to Parliament on our audits of government financial reports and performance.

1824 | William Lithgow appointed Colonial Auditor-General, to compile and examine the colony’s accounts and report on government departments to the Governor.
1855 | The UK Constitution Act 1855 formalised government in New South Wales, and the Auditor-General made a member of the government.
1870 | Powers and duties of the Auditor-General first set in legislation, in the Audit Act 1870.
1902 | Audit Act 1902 prohibited the Auditor-General from being a member of the Executive Council or of Parliament.
1929 | Audit (Amendment) Act 1929 changed the tenure of office of the Auditor-General from life to ceasing at 65. 
1984 | Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 established the Auditor-General’s Office (6 January 1984).
1989 | Auditor-General’s Office declared a statutory body, allowing it to be both more independent and more commercial.
1991 | The Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 expanded the Auditor-General’s role to include performance audits, limited tenure to seven years, and prevented acceptance of any other post in the NSW public service.
2001 | Auditor-General’s role expanded to reporting on issues of waste, probity and financial judgement.
2004 | Auditor-General given power to employ staff directly, and set wages and conditions.
2013 | Tenure of Auditor-General extended to eight years.
2016 | The Local Government Act 1993 expanded the Auditor-General's mandate to include financial and performance auditing of local councils and council entities.
2021| The Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 re-named the Government Sector Audit Act 1983. As part of this, a new principal object was added which specifically provides that the Auditor-General is an independent and accountable statutory officer.