26 September 2023

Farming exports receive audit results

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A performance audit into the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s implementation of the recently revised export control framework found the Department to be partly effective.

In his report Implementation of the Export Control Legislative Framework, Auditor-General Grant Hehir said a new legislative framework for regulating Australia’s agricultural exports was introduced with the Export Control Act 2020, which commenced on 28 March last year.

“[The Department’s] implementation of the revised export control legislative framework was partly effective,” Mr Hehir said.

“Project planning and governance were well documented, and stakeholder engagement in the development of the revised legislation was sound,” he said.

“On commencement of the legislation, the Department did not have a compliance framework, policies and procedures were not fully updated, and arrangements to support benefits management were not established.”

Mr Hehir said the Department’s governance framework was largely appropriate however, the compliance plan required by its compliance policy had not been published for agricultural exports and the Department did not identify shared risks to support the implementation of the revised export control framework.

“Arrangements to support the implementation of the revised legislative framework were partly effective,” the Auditor-General said.

“The Department has not complied with its instructional material policy to review materials every two years and has not updated all instructional material as originally planned.”

Mr Hehir said arrangements to monitor and measure the intended benefits of the legislative framework were not established by the commencement date of the legislation.

However, he said there were performance measures in the Department’s corporate plan and annual report related to export controls, and it reported itself that it had areas for improvement under the regulator performance framework.

Mr Hehir made five recommendations related to risk management, assurance activities, policies and processes, and benefits management.

The Auditor-General’s Report can be accessed at this PS News link and a 60-page pdf version at this link.

The audit team was Hoa Nguyen, Jennifer Myles, Chirag Pathak, Jemimah Hamilton, Jacob Opray, Jennifer Canfield, Chayathri Kulatunge and Corinne Horton.

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