ANAO cuts coming
The national audit office has warned that cutting its budget could see millions of dollars wasted.
The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) reviews the operations of government departments and agencies to ensure that taxpayer funds are being used appropriately.
It has been responsible for exposing questionable federal government spending and allegations of pork barrelling; serving a vital function in keeping politicians accountable.
But official stats show real funding for the ANAO is sliding, and will be down by over 22 per cent in the 2023-24 financial year compared to its budget in 2012-13.
The October 2020 budget cut $14 million from the ANAO's yearly funding, which Auditor-General Grant Hehir describes as “uncomfortable”.
Mr Hehir says his team must cut the number of major performance audits it undertakes each year to deal with the new constraints.
“Historically, for the last two decades, the ANAO has provided the Parliament with an average of 47 performance audit reports per year,” he said.
“I anticipate that even with reduced numbers, the depth and breadth of audits within the performance audit program will also reduce.”
The ANAO has lost around 20 staff members in recent years, and says they would take years to replace even with an immediate injection of funding.
Labor MP Julian Hill was on the parliamentary committee that heard Mr Hehir’s claims. He later told reporters that “alarm bells are ringing and Scott Morrison needs to stop taking revenge for 'sports rorts' and give the Auditor-General the funding he urgently needs”.