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Background to the Inquiry
The Committee is currently conducting a wide-ranging Inquiry into Victoria’s Audit legislation, the Audit Act 1994, under section 33(3) of the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003.
The Audit Act 1994 establishes the operating powers and responsibilities of the Auditor-General. Its coverage includes the operations of the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office. It also addresses the relationship of the Auditor-General with the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee as the representative body of Parliament and the Auditor-General’s accountability to Parliament for use of the powers accorded the position and for discharge of the position’s responsibilities.
Statement of Government Intentions
The Government identified in its Annual Statement of Government Intentions in February 2009 that it is committed to strengthening the Audit Act. The document states that an Audit Amendment Bill would help the State strengthen financial accountability by clarifying the powers of the Auditor-General. In addition, amendments to the Act should achieve the following:
- provide clarity on certain aspects of the Auditor-General’s mandate and powers, including adherence to applicable Accounting and Auditing Standards;
- promote greater efficiency in the operation of the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office; and
- fulfil the Government’s commitment to implement certain recommendations of the Committee’s 2006 Report on a legislative framework for independent officers of Parliament.
The process stated by Government is that proposals will be referred to the PAEC for advice.
On 22 June 2009, the Committee referred itself a new Inquiry under section 33(3) of the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003 into Victoria’s Audit Act 1994. Its aim is to review the legislation in its entirety, paying particular attention to innovative opportunities to progress it to leading edge status.