27 September 2023

Audit makes track to Indigenous funding

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An audit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in economic opportunities has found intergovernmental funding agreements have been partially effective in achieving policy objectives.

In his report Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Participation Targets in Intergovernmental Agreements, Auditor-General, Grant Hehir found the administration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation targets in intergovernmental funding agreements has been partially effective and an appropriate framework had been developed for the Land Transport Infrastructure Projects National Partnership Agreement (NPA).

Mr Hehir said however that further work was needed to finalise a framework for City and Regional Deals, public reporting mechanisms and appropriate risk-based assurance arrangements for agreements.

He said that in the past five years, a common approach had been to incorporate minimum targets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation.

“Such targets usually involve direct employment targets, targets for the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses as suppliers, or a combination of both,” Mr Hehir said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation targets are increasingly being applied to major projects funded by the Australian Government through intergovernmental agreements.

“To achieve the government’s policy objectives, effective frameworks are needed to coordinate the use of such targets, and entities implementing targets need to ensure they are set and monitored appropriately.

“It was timely to undertake an audit of the administration of participation targets as the number and geographical breadth of projects with target requirements are expected to grow in coming years due to the inclusion of target requirements in the 2019 Land Transport Infrastructure Projects NPA.”

The Auditor-General made three recommendations aimed at finalising a framework for City and Regional Deal participation targets; establishing annual reporting on participation target outcomes; and establishing appropriate risk-based assurance arrangements.

The Auditor-General’s online report can be accessed at this PS News link and his 61-page printed report at this link.

The audit team was Daniel Whyte, Lynette Tyrrell, Iain Gately, James Woodward and Deborah Jackson.

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