26 September 2023

DFAT survives overseas aid audit

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An audit of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT’s) delivery of aid to overseas countries has found it to be largely effective and achieving value for money.

In his report Value for Money in the Delivery of Official Development Assistance through Facility Arrangements, Auditor-General, Grant Hehir found however a need for greater focus on the collection, monitoring and analysis of aid administration costs.

Mr Hehir said about 97 per cent of Australia’s foreign aid was delivered by contractors, meaning that managing contractors was critical to achieving Australia’s aid policy and broader national interest objectives.

The audit found that facility contractors were delivering $2.8 billion in aid on behalf of Australia over the life of 20 major projects.

“Transparency about the purpose, results and costs of these investments, and value for money achieved, helps to maintain confidence that they represent a proper use of public resources,” Mr Hehir said.

“Facility design and contractor procurement processes are well structured and partnering with managing contractors is effective, but DFAT does not appropriately monitor the ratio of administration costs to aid delivered through facility arrangements.”

The Auditor-General made three recommendations relating to planning processes, value for money assessments and visibility of costs. DFAT agreed with them all.

His online report can be accessed at this PS News link and a 75-page printed report at this link.

The audit team was Judy Lachelem, Nathan Callaway, Yvonne Buresch, Cristiana Linthwaite-Gibbins and Paul Bryant.

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