If passed, the Local Government Amendment (Auditing) Bill 2017 will make the Auditor General responsible for auditing local governments and regional councils, representing an 80% increase in entities we audit. Preparation is continuing to ensure a seamless transition if the Bill is proclaimed.
The machinery of government changes will result in substantial audit effort to evaluate the controls and data of the agencies and to conduct additional closing balance and new agency financial audits. In the past we have seen a number of ‘teething’ issues related to restructures and will take these potential issues into account.
A lack of authority to access legal professional privilege and cabinet documents is impacting our audit program and has prevented the issuing of opinions. Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Audit recognised this restriction and has recommended changes. We look forward to the introduction of the necessary legislative changes.
The timing of Parliament’s recess in September 2017 will make it difficult for some agencies to meet the requirement to table annual reports within 90 days of financial year end. To minimise the potential impact, we will work with agencies to issue opinions earlier.
Over the next 12 months there will be a major change in our leadership. For the previous 10 years we have been guided by Auditor General Colin Murphy and Deputy Auditor General Glen Clarke. During this year we expect both to leave the Office as Mr Murphy has completed his tenure and Mr Clarke is retiring.