This section is about our Forward work plan 2022–25 and the status of audits that are in progress.

Our independent assurance helps parliament, the community and other stakeholders understand whether public sector entities and local governments are delivering their services effectively, efficiency, economically, and in accordance with legislative requirements.

Our insights and recommendations help entities improve their financial management and service delivery.

To ensure we select audit topics that matter most to Queensland, we apply a strategic planning approach. This involves assessing the critical risks and issues facing public service delivery and aligning our planned audit activity in response.

We prepare a forward work plan 3 years ahead to ensure transparency around our work. We review the plan annually to ensure the we focus on the right topics and conduct them at the right time.

Sometimes, new audits are added after our plan is published. We reflect these changes in the table below throughout the year.

We welcome your suggestions for potential audit topics and your contributions to any audits in progress.

Read our Forward work plan 2022–25

View prior year strategic audit plans here

2023–24

Having safe, secure, and reliable water supply is critical for the wellbeing of Queensland’s regional communities.

Recent droughts and the need to truck in water to various regional locations highlight the ongoing importance of water security within our regions. The need for water security also aligns with the economic recovery priority area of growing our regions in the Queensland COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan. This priority area seeks to grow regions by attracting people, talent, and investment, and by driving sustainable economic prosperity.

Audit Objective

This audit will assess how effectively, and efficiently state and local government entities are ensuring communities have access to safe, secure, and reliable water.

Who we might audit
  • Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water
  • selected local councils
  • selected water entities.
Parliamentary Committee
State Development and Regional Industries Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised

Regional areas within Queensland account for 1.7 million square kilometres across the state. They are home to a network of regional economies and have strengths in industries including agriculture, resources, and tourism. Influences such as the prospect of employment, access to affordable housing, health, education, financial and other social aspects all impact on each region’s ability to remain prosperous and sustainable.

Given the importance of ports and water supply in Queensland’s regions, this report will include an analysis of the port and water entities’ financial performance and position and provide insights into how regional Queensland communities are remaining prosperous and sustainable.

We will consider how regional areas support economic activity and sustainable communities throughout Queensland. The report will analyse data on state and local government service delivery and support for Queensland’s regions, and consider other regional growth and sustainability measures, including employment and economic activity. In 2023–24, this report will include an assessment of governance at key regional entities.

Each year our reports will build on focus areas from our previous reports on Queensland’s regions.

Parliamentary Committee
State Development and Regional Industries Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

The government holds significant investments that may be used to meet the state’s long-term liabilities or to fund future government initiatives. An example is the Queensland Future Fund that was established to offset state debt.

This report to parliament will examine how the Queensland Government is managing its debt and investments and will include insights into what the Queensland Government has invested in and how the investments are managed. It will examine the main transactions (including significant investments made or changes to investments) and the performance of these investments including cash flows to general government.

Parliamentary Committee
Economics and Governance Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

Most public sector entities prepare annual financial statements and table these in parliament. Our report summarises the results of audits of Queensland state government entities, including government departments.

This report will analyse the Queensland Government’s financial performance and position and highlight the main transactions for the year. In 2023, our rotational focus on internal controls will include an assessment of records management.

Parliamentary Committee
Economics and Governance Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

Queensland's local governments – councils – are the first line of connection to communities; providing Queenslanders with a wide range of services such as roads, water and waste, libraries, and parks. This report summarises the audit results of Queensland’s 77 councils and the entities they control.

The report will also include the results of our assessment of councils’ financial statement preparation processes, internal controls and financial sustainability. In 2023, our rotational focus on internal controls will include an assessment of information systems.

Our financial sustainability assessments will consider the ratios published by the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, as well as what makes a sustainable community in Queensland’s regions. Each year our report will build on focus areas from our previous local government reports.

Parliamentary Committee
State Development and Regional Industries Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

Entities within Queensland's education sector help individuals transition through all stages of schooling, providing knowledge and skills to prepare them for future education, training, or the workforce.

This report analyses the education entities’ financial performance and position. It will provide insights into education entities’ ongoing responses to COVID-19 and in meeting the educational requirements and needs of population growth in Queensland’s regions.

Each year our reports will build on any focus areas from our previous education reports.

Parliamentary Committee
Education, Employment and Training Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

The entities in Queensland's health sector work together to provide a range of healthcare services to Queenslanders and support the wellbeing of Queensland communities.

This report analyses the health entities’ financial performance and position and includes assessments of their financial statement preparation processes, internal controls, and financial sustainability.

It will provide insights into how the health system is responding to increased demand due to COVID-19, an increasing and ageing population, and changing health needs.

Each year our reports will build on any focus areas from previous health reports.

Parliamentary Committee
Health and Environment Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

In Queensland, 5 government owned corporations generate, transmit, and distribute most of the state’s electricity needs. They aim to ensure an affordable and reliable energy supply to households and businesses.

This report analyses the energy entities’ financial performance and position and provides insights into the transition to renewable energy, and the impact on energy entities’ profit and security of energy supply.

Each year our reports will build on any focus areas from our previous energy reports.

Parliamentary Committee
Transport and Resources Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

This report will provide insights into the status of major infrastructure projects of the state and local governments across Queensland’s regions. We will also provide data and analysis of the planning, coordination, and delivery of the state’s capital program.

Major projects likely to be included in the reports include Cross River Rail, Gold Coast Light Rail Stages 3 and 4, Brisbane Metro, upgrades to the Bruce Highway and projects associated with delivering the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Each year our reports will build on any focus areas from our previous major projects reports.

Parliamentary Committee
Economics and Governance Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

Entities report to us on their progress in implementing recommendations from our performance audit reports. Each report will highlight common themes across recommendations and provide insights into the progress reported by entities.

In 2023–24, our report will include the status of recommendations we made to entities in reports tabled in 2020–21 and 2021–22.

Each year our reports will also provide a further update on outstanding recommendations (recommendations not implemented or partially implemented) identified in our previous reports.

Parliamentary Committee
Economics and Governance Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

2024–25

There is increasing public scrutiny over data collection and data breaches. The public sector intends to expand its analytical and digital capabilities using new avenues such as the TransLink application to collect new data points.

The government uses data to inform its future direction. A low level of maturity in data governance could have serious economic and social policy impacts. It could also increase risk to individual members of the public who may experience identity theft or misuse of their data.

Audit Objective

This audit will assess the maturity of the governance frameworks the public sector uses for managing its data. The audit will increase understanding of the data that entities have, how it is being managed, and how entities are managing data breaches.

Who we might audit
  • Department of Housing, Communities and Digital Economy
  • selected public sector entities.
Parliamentary Committee
Community Support and Services Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised

Brisbane has 10 years to prepare for hosting the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games (the Games).

The initial cost proposal to host the Games is $4.9 billion with an additional estimate of $1 billion for the Gabba redevelopment. The economic benefit is estimated to be $8.1 billion for Queensland, and $17.6 billion for Australia.

Key challenges associated with delivering major events that the government and stakeholders need to consider are:

  • delivering the Games to an immovable deadline
  • ensuring strong governance and delivery structures given the number of stakeholders involved in the Games
  • ensuring the budget is clearly determined and effectively managed
  • applying effective procurement practices
  • planning for long-term legacy benefits
  • developing an effective framework for monitoring progress and managing risk
  • delivering a carbon neutral Games.

We intend to deliver a series of audits examining the planning, delivery and benefits of the Games. The audits will focus on governance, project management, allocation of funds, and the longer-term legacy the Games is expected bring to Brisbane and Queensland. This will be our first report on the initial preparation and planning for delivering the games.

Who we might audit
  • Brisbane Organising Committee for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • Department of the Premier and Cabinet
  • selected public sector entities
  • relevant local governments.
Parliamentary Committee
Economics and Governance Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised

Enabling schools with digital technology and teachers with digital skills means expanding the learning environment. It entails using new and innovative ways to provide teaching services through a mix of physical and digital learning environments.

It is important that the Department of Education (the department) has strategies in place to ensure digital literacy is embedded in the way schools operate.

In our audit Enabling digital learning (Report 1: 2021–22), we presented key facts about the department’s technology infrastructure and the connecting parts at the school end.

In this new audit, we will build on this information and present key facts about the use of emerging educational technology in schools, and teacher capacity and capability.

Who we might audit
  • Department of Education
  • selected state schools.
Parliamentary Committee
Education, Employment and Training Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised

Queensland spends over $930 million annually on state-funded mental health services. Each year, one in 5 adults experiences a mental disorder, and approximately half experience a mental disorder at some point in their lives.

In November 2021, parliament established a Mental Health Select Committee to conduct an inquiry into the opportunities to improve mental health outcomes for Queenslanders. The inquiry is to consider how the health system is coping with increased demand from the pandemic, the needs of the community, and pressures across the mental health system.

Audit Objective

This audit will assess how well Queensland’s state-funded mental health services are meeting the care needs of Queenslanders. In conducting our audit, we will consider recommendations made by the Mental Health Select Committee and the government’s progress in implementing them.

Who we might audit
  • Department of Health
  • Queensland Mental Health Commission
  • selected hospital and health services.
Parliamentary Committee
Health and Environment Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised

The government has developed the Queensland Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy. Together with the waste management levy, this strategy sets out a framework for Queensland to become a zero-waste society. The framework’s objective is to reuse and recycle as much waste as possible and is applicable to industry, state, and local governments.

The government’s strategy has established the following targets for 2050:

  • 25 per cent reduction in household waste
  • 90 per cent of waste is recovered and does not go to landfill
  • 75 per cent recycling rates across all waste types.

Of the 77 local governments across the state, 74 operate landfill sites and recycling centres. They are required to work with both state and Australian governments towards achieving the 2050 targets. However, diminishing landfill capacity, increased regulatory requirements (including environmental factors), and waste management levies all contribute to the increase in financial and operational pressures on local governments.

Audit Objective

This audit will assess the effectiveness of state government strategies. This will include their effectiveness in assisting councils to manage waste to achieve the 2050 waste targets.

Who we might audit
  • Department of Environment and Science
  • Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning
  • selected local governments.
Parliamentary Committee
Health and Environment Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised

Queensland hospitals are under increased pressure, with high occupancy rates often cited as causing an increase in emergency department wait times and patient stretcher times. To reduce the rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations, Queensland Health is developing several preventative strategies as part of its My health, Queensland’s future: Advancing health 2026 strategy. These include:

  • early disease management
  • provision of appropriate and individualised preventative health interventions.

By minimising hospitalisations, the social and economic pressures are reduced on the health system. The Australian Medical Association has reported that $21 billion could be saved over the next 4 years by reducing potentially preventable hospitalisations and emergency department presentations.

Audit Objective

This audit will assess how effectively Queensland Health minimises potentially preventable hospitalisations.

Who we might audit
  • Department of Health
  • selected hospital and health services.
Parliamentary Committee
Health and Environment Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised

In 2018–19, Queensland Corrective Services reported that 45 per cent of adults released from prison returned to prison or a correctional facility within 2 years. It estimates that annually it costs $69,000 to keep an adult in a corrective service facility, and $617 million to maintain and operate Queensland’s prisons.

Audit Objective

This audit will examine how effectively relevant public sector entities are managing the reintegration and rehabilitation of prisoners back into the community to reduce the risk of reoffending.

Who we might audit
  • Queensland Corrective Services
  • selected public sector entities.
Parliamentary Committee
Legal Affairs and Safety Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised

The Queensland Government plans to spend $52.2 billion on infrastructure over 4 years to 2025. The government plans to use the private sector to manage and deliver some of these projects. It is therefore crucial that public sector entities manage risks through the life cycle of these projects to ensure successful delivery.

This can be achieved through the appropriate transfer of risk to another party to manage.

Audit Objective

This audit will examine how effectively public sector entities are identifying, managing, and transferring risks to infrastructure projects.

Who we might audit
  • Department of State Development, infrastructure, Local Government and Planning
  • selected public sector entities.
Parliamentary Committee
State Development and Regional Industries Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised

Local governments – councils – play a critical role in the viability and vibrancy of local communities. Therefore, it is important for state and local governments to work together to address the sustainability challenges faced by councils.

This audit will be the fifth in a series of local government sustainability audits that we have undertaken. It will examine the sector’s progress in meeting its sustainability challenges.

Audit Objective

The audit will consider how effectively the sector has acted to address previous Queensland Audit Office findings and recommendations.

Who we might audit
  • Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning
  • selected local governments.
Parliamentary Committee
State Development and Regional Industries Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised

Access to public transport makes it possible for people with a disability to participate in all aspects of community life. In Australia, almost one in 5 people is reported as living with some form of disability. People with a disability experience significant disadvantages due to public transport inaccessibility.

To ensure the needs of the disabled are considered, the Disability Standard for Accessible Public Transport establishes minimum accessibility standards and time frames for compliance for public transport, infrastructure, and premises. The standard issued by the Australian Government provides guidance to public transport operators and providers to meet their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Commonwealth). This Act seeks to eliminate discrimination, as far as possible, against people with a disability.

Audit Objective

This audit will assess whether access to public transport has improved for people with a disability.

Who we might audit
  • Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
  • Department of Transport and Main Roads
  • Queensland Rail
  • Brisbane City Council.
Parliamentary Committee
Transport and Resources Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised

Regional areas within Queensland account for 1.7 million square kilometres across the state. They are home to a network of regional economies and have strengths in industries including agriculture, resources, and tourism. Influences such as the prospect of employment, access to affordable housing, health, education, financial and other social aspects all impact on each region’s ability to remain prosperous and sustainable.

Given the importance of ports and water supply in Queensland’s regions, this report will include an analysis of the port and water entities’ financial performance and position and provide insights into how regional Queensland communities are remaining prosperous and sustainable.

We will consider how regional areas support economic activity and sustainable communities throughout Queensland. The report will analyse data on state and local government service delivery and support for Queensland’s regions, and consider other regional growth and sustainability measures, including employment and economic activity. 

Each year our reports will build on focus areas from our previous reports on Queensland’s regions.

Parliamentary Committee
State Development and Regional Industries Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

The government holds significant investments that may be used to meet the state’s long-term liabilities or to fund future government initiatives. An example is the Queensland Future Fund that was established to offset state debt.

This report to parliament will examine how the Queensland Government is managing its debt and investments and will include insights into what the Queensland Government has invested in and how the investments are managed. It will examine the main transactions (including significant investments made or changes to investments) and the performance of these investments including cash flows to general government.

Parliamentary Committee
Economics and Governance Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

Most public sector entities prepare annual financial statements and table these in parliament. Our report summarises the results of audits of Queensland state government entities, including government departments.

This report will analyse the Queensland Government’s financial performance and position and highlight the main transactions for the year. In 2024, our rotational focus on internal controls will include an assessment of monitoring practices, including legislative compliance.

Parliamentary Committee
Economics and Governance Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

Queensland's local governments – councils – are the first line of connection to communities; providing Queenslanders with a wide range of services such as roads, water and waste, libraries, and parks. This report summarises the audit results of Queensland’s 77 councils and the entities they control.

The report will also include the results of our assessment of councils’ financial statement preparation processes, internal controls and financial sustainability. In 2024, our rotational focus on internal controls will include an assessment of asset management at several local government.

Our financial sustainability assessments will consider the ratios published by the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, as well as what makes a sustainable community in Queensland’s regions. Each year our report will build on focus areas from our previous local government reports.

Parliamentary Committee
State Development and Regional Industries Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

Entities within Queensland's education sector help individuals transition through all stages of schooling, providing knowledge and skills to prepare them for future education, training, or the workforce.

This report analyses the education entities’ financial performance and position. It will provide insights into education entities’ ongoing responses to COVID-19 and in meeting the educational requirements and needs of population growth in Queensland’s regions. Our rotational focus on internal controls will also include an assessment of risk management processes at universities in 2022–23.

Each year our reports will build on any focus areas from our previous education reports.

Parliamentary Committee
Education, Employment and Training Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

The entities in Queensland's health sector work together to provide a range of healthcare services to Queenslanders and support the wellbeing of Queensland communities.

This report analyses the health entities’ financial performance and position and includes assessments of their financial statement preparation processes, internal controls, and financial sustainability.

It will provide insights into how the health system is responding to increased demand due to COVID-19, an increasing and ageing population, and changing health needs.

Each year our reports will build on any focus areas from previous health reports.

Parliamentary Committee
Health and Environment Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

In Queensland, 5 government owned corporations generate, transmit, and distribute most of the state’s electricity needs. They aim to ensure an affordable and reliable energy supply to households and businesses.

This report analyses the energy entities’ financial performance and position and provides insights into the transition to renewable energy, and the impact on energy entities’ profit and security of energy supply.

Each year our reports will build on any focus areas from our previous energy reports.

Parliamentary Committee
Transport and Resources Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

This report will provide insights into the status of major infrastructure projects of the state and local governments across Queensland’s regions. We will also provide data and analysis of the planning, coordination, and delivery of the state’s capital program.

Major projects likely to be included in the reports include Cross River Rail, Gold Coast Light Rail Stages 3 and 4, Brisbane Metro, upgrades to the Bruce Highway and projects associated with delivering the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Each year our reports will build on any focus areas from our previous major projects reports.

Parliamentary Committee
Economics and Governance Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contributions closed

Entities report to us on their progress in implementing recommendations from our performance audit reports. Each report will highlight common themes across recommendations and provide insights into the progress reported by entities.

In 2024–25, our report will include the status of recommendations we made to entities in reports tabled in 2022–23.

Each year our reports will also provide a further update on outstanding recommendations (recommendations not implemented or partially implemented) identified in our previous reports.

Parliamentary Committee
Economics and Governance Committee
Audit status
Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised