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    Our current Strategic audit plan details audits we plan to conduct for 2018 to 2021.

The Queensland Audit Office

The Queensland Audit Office is the independent auditor of the Queensland public sector.

We work on your behalf – conducting financial and performance audits to give you confidence about the reliability of public sector financial statements, and to provide you with expert advice about public sector performance. Our role provides us with access to financial and performance information across the entire public sector, enabling us to develop unique insights. Through our audit work, we make recommendations that promote accountability and transparency in government, and improvements in service efficiency and effectiveness.

Our vision is for better public services for Queenslanders. We strive to use our unique position and mandate to work with public sector entities to achieve this vision.

Latest Reports

We produce reports that contain the results of our financial audits and performance audits.

Reports on the results of our financial audits provide information beyond the individual audit opinions about the key themes impacting sectors as well as factors impacting the financial sustainability of the Queensland Government.

Reports on the results of our performance audits focus on topics of importance to Queensland, examining whether government services have been delivered in a way that is efficient, effective and complying with relevant requirements.

These reports are tabled in parliament and are accessible to all members of the public.

Audits in progress

This section is about our performance audit program for 2018-21.

We apply a strategic audit planning approach in choosing our audit topics. This involves assessing the challenges, risks, and opportunities facing the public sector, local governments and the community. 

Our legislation—the Auditor-General Act 2009 (our Act)—requires us to prepare a strategic audit plan of the performance audits we propose to conduct over the coming three years.  We update our plan annually, based on our current understanding of the public sector in Queensland.  

2018-19

Delivering coronial services

Under the Coroners Act 2003 (the Act), coroners are responsible for investigating reportable deaths that occur in Queensland. Reportable deaths include those that are unnatural, such as accidents, suicides or homicides, deaths that have occurred in prison or in care or have unknown causes.

The coroner's primary responsibility is to make formal findings in respect of the death, namely who, when, where and how the death occurred and what caused the death. The coroner also has an overarching role to identify whether the death could have been prevented and if so, to examine opportunities for future death prevention. This may include policy or procedural changes to improve public safety or the administration of justice.

In Queensland, the coronial system’s efficiency and effectiveness relies on services from multiple stakeholders. The Queensland Police Service's Coronial Support Unit assists coronial investigations, Queensland Health's Forensic and Scientific Services provide coronial autopsy and clinical advisory services and the Department of Justice and Attorney-General's Court Services provide legal and administrative support.

Since 2007–08, the number of deaths reported to the coroner for investigation have increased by 50 per cent, from 3 514 to 5 287 in 2015–16. Demand for Queensland's coronial services is likely to increase with the states growing and aging population. Delays and inefficiencies to coronial investigations can impact families and loved ones seeking closure and add unnecessary cost to the state. A failure to act on coroner recommendations can potentially put lives at risk.

Audit objective

This audit assesses whether agencies are effective and efficient in supporting coroners to investigate and help prevent deaths. It examines whether agencies support the coroner to conduct efficient and effective coronial investigations and whether agencies plan effectively to deliver sustainable coronial services.

Who we audited

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General, Department of Health, and Queensland Police Service.

Parliamentary committee

Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee

Audit status

Tabled
18 October 2018

Energy: 2017–18 results of financial audits

In Queensland, most electricity is generated, transmitted, and distributed by state government-owned corporations and controlled entities. These include CS Energy, Stanwell, Powerlink, Energy Queensland, Ergon Energy, and 30 subsidiaries.

CS Energy and Stanwell are electricity generators. They produce electricity and sell into the National Electricity Market. Powerlink transmits electricity from generators to Energy Queensland, the distributor. Energy Queensland then distributes electricity from the transmission network to consumers. From there, electricity retailers purchase and sell electricity to households and businesses.

Audit objective

This audit summarises our financial audit results of the Queensland Government’s energy entities for 2017–18.

Who we audited

State government owned corporations and controlled energy entities. These included CS Energy, Stanwell, Powerlink, Energy Queensland, Ergon Energy, and 30 subsidiaries.

Parliamentary committee

State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee

Audit status

Tabled
22 November 2018

Water: 2017–18 results of financial audits

In Queensland, water is primarily used by households, agriculture, mining, electricity generation, tourism, and manufacturing industries. Queensland’s state and local government owned water entities provide water throughout the state, and comprise bulk water suppliers, distributor-retailers, local governments, and smaller water boards.

Seqwater sells treated bulk water to local council regions within South East Queensland. This water is sold either directly to councils or through Distributor-Retailer Authorities (Unitywater and Queensland Urban Utilities).

Outside of South East Queensland, SunWater operates much of the bulk water infrastructure that supplies irrigators and industrial customers. For retail customers, water is sourced, treated and distributed by local government owned infrastructure (water boards).

Audit objective

This audit summarises our financial audit results of state and local government owned water entities, and two controlled entities for 2017–18.

Who we audited

The six main state and local government owned water entities, and two controlled entities. These included Seqwater, SunWater, Gladstone Area Water Board, Mount Isa Water Board, Queensland Urban Utilities, and Unitywater.

Parliamentary committee

State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee

Audit status

Tabled
15 November 2018

Conserving threatened species

Australia is home to between 600 000 and 700 000 species of wildlife, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Changes to landscape and habitats from human activity has put some of this unique wildlife at risk. Over the last 200 years, many species of plants and animals have become extinct. A range of management and conservation measures are in place for the wildlife whose survival is under threat.

The Nature Conservation Act 1992 defines threatened wildlife as native wildlife that is extinct in the wild, endangered, or vulnerable. In Queensland, there are currently 955 species listed as threatened. Of these species, around 400 are listed as threatened nationally under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Department of Environment and Science has responsibility for managing and conserving threatened wildlife in Queensland via the Nature Conservation Act 1992. Other government agencies, the community, and industry sectors also undertake activities relating to threatened wildlife.

Audit objective

This audit assesses whether the Department of Environment and Science is effectively identifying, protecting, and conserving threatened wildlife.

Who we audited

The Department of Environment and Science.

Parliamentary committee

Innovation, Tourism, Development and Environment Committee

Audit status

Tabled
13 November 2018

Transport: 2017–18 results of financial audits

Queensland’s seven transport entities play a critical role in delivering a single integrated transport network that connects Queensland’s people, and facilitates a growing economy.

Direction and oversight of the state’s transport sector is provided by the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR). The department’s primary role is to plan, manage and deliver Queensland’s integrated transport environment to achieve sustainable transport solutions for road, rail, air and sea. DTMR also provides oversight of Queensland Rail Group and Port entities. Queensland Rail Group is Queensland’s railway manager and operator, servicing the passenger, tourism, resources and freight customer markets. The port entities are part of Queensland’s network of 19 ports, which ranges from small community ports to large coal export terminals and a capital city multi-cargo port.

Audit objective

This audit summarises our financial audit results of seven state-owned transport entities for 2017–18.

Who we audited

Seven state-owned transport entities including the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Queensland Rail Group, and Government Owned Corporations.

Parliamentary committee

Transport and Public Works Committee

Audit status

Tabled
11 December 2018

Digitising public hospitals

The Queensland healthcare system is transforming to meet the pressures of an ageing population, the growing burden of chronic conditions, and changing consumer expectations.
 
In a digital hospital, processes are streamlined to create a ‘paper light’ approach, integrating electronic medical records (ieMR) with clinic devices, workflows, and processes. An electronic medical record is one of many applications that contribute to a digital hospital. The government has set a target for twenty-seven hospitals to fully implement the ieMR solution by June 2020.
 
Electronic medical records provide timely, accessible and legible information about patients at the point of care. It also provides the foundation for future transformations in health care delivery, like the ability to gain greater insights and decision support from the system’s data to improve the quality of patient care and operational efficiencies.

Audit objective

This audit assesses how well Queensland Health has planned, and is delivering, its digital hospitals program and whether it is realising the intended information-sharing and patient benefits.

Who we audited

The Department of Health and a selection of hospital and health services.

Parliamentary committee

Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee

Audit status

Tabled
4 December 2018

Market-led proposals

Queensland Treasury has developed a market-led proposals framework as an initiative of the government’s economic plan to create jobs and stimulate the economy. The state government intended for market-led proposals to harness innovative ideas and funding from the private sector to deliver projects faster. An essential element of this approach involves contracting exclusively with providers, rather than going through a competitive tender process. 

In July 2017, the government released revised specific Market-Led Proposal Guidelines. These guidelines sit within the Project Assessment Framework (PAF). There are four stages to the assessment process. The proposal needs to pass a stage before it can progress to the next one. When assessing market-led proposals, the responsible government agency needs to satisfy itself that the proposed project will deliver value for money and positive outcomes for the state, and that it could not deliver a better outcome under a competitive tender process. The agency also needs to consider alignment with government priority, policy and community needs, whether direct negotiation can be justified, the cost, risk, feasibility, and the proponent’s capacity and capability to deliver the project.

Audit objective

This audit assesses the extent that the Market-led proposal initiative is meeting its objective to create jobs and stimulate the economy.

Who we audited

The Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning.

Parliamentary committee

State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee

Audit status

Tabled
13 December 2018

Planning for sustainable health services in Queensland

Health service planning aims to improve service delivery to better meet the health needs of the population. It is future orientated and usually adopts a medium- to long-term (10–15 years) perspective. Good planning helps to make the best use of current and future health resources including funding, staff and infrastructure.

Delivering health services occurs in an increasingly dynamic environment with ever changing community expectations, government priorities and technological advances. Health budgets are constrained, yet there are ever-increasing pressures and demands on the public health system.

The Department of Health is responsible under the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011 for statewide planning for the public health system. Hospital and Health Services must contribute to, and implement, statewide service plans that apply to them. They must also undertake further service planning that aligns with these plans.

Queensland Health’s strategy—Your health, Queensland's future: Advancing health 2026—identifies sustainability as one of five underpinning principles. This includes ensuring available resources are used efficiently and effectively for current and future generations.
 

Audit objective

This audit will assess the effectiveness of the Department of Health and the Hospital and Health Services in planning for sustainable health services. 

Who we might audit

The Department of Health and a selection of Hospital and Health Services to be determined.

Parliamentary committee

Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: To be advised
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Managing consumer food safety in Queensland

Food safety is an important aspect of public health and wellbeing. Breaches in food safety can result in illness, hospitalisation and in extreme cases, fatalities. Unsafe food practices can also have broader social and economic consequences.

Queensland's food industry is rapidly growing. Since June 2010, the number of licensed food businesses in Queensland has increased by 24 per cent, from 24 029 to 29 825. Growth in the industry, coupled with the introduction of online food delivery, means greater emphasis is needed on the safe preparation and service of food.

The Food Act 2006 is the primary food safety legislation that applies to all food businesses in Queensland. Responsibility for the administration and enforcement of the Food Act 2006 rests with Queensland Health and local governments (councils).

Audit objective

This audit will examine whether food safety is effectively managed for consumers of food in Queensland.

Who we might audit

A sample of councils, to be determined. The audit will also include the Department of Health.

Parliamentary committee

Economics and Governance Committee

Audit status

In progress
Anticipated tabling: Jan–Mar 2019
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Follow-up of Maintenance of public schools (Report 11: 2014-15) and Oversight of recurrent grants to non-state schools (Report 12: 2014-15).

The Department of Education, Training and Employment is responsible for providing a safe working and learning environment for its staff and students in school campuses across Queensland. Well-maintained school buildings and grounds contribute to the safety of staff and students and to educational outcomes. When funding is inadequate, asset maintenance backlogs occur. As a result, school buildings and school ground facilities can deteriorate much faster than intended.

Non-state schools receive grants from the state and Australian governments – administered by the Department of Education, Training and Employment. To qualify, these schools submit to the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board (the Board), which is a statutory body that reports directly to the Minister for Education.

In 2014–15, we tabled performance audit reports Maintenance of public schools (Report 11: 2014-15) and Oversight of recurrent grants to non-state schools (Report 12: 2014-15).

Audit objective

This audit will follow up on whether entities have actioned the recommendations made in our original reports to parliament and if the entities have addressed the underlying issues which led to these recommendations.

Who we might audit

The Department of Education and Training, the Department of Housing and Public Works, and the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board.

Parliamentary committee

Education, Employment and Small Business Committee

Audit status

In progress
Anticipated tabling: Jan–Apr 2019
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Health: 2017–18 results of financial audits

Queensland health entities manage a large asset base and are funding innovative clinical care programs. This puts pressure on their financial sustainability. The Queensland public health sector includes the Department of Health and Queensland Ambulance Service, 16 hospital and health services, 13 hospital foundations, and three health statutory bodies and their controlled entities.

Audit objective

This report summarises the results of our 2017–18 financial audits of the entities in the Queensland public health sector.

Who we audited

Entities in the Queensland public health sector.

Parliamentary committee

Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee

Audit status

Tabled
26 February 2019

Contributions closed

Queensland state government: 2017–18 results of financial audits

Most public sector entities, including departments, statutory bodies, and government owned corporations and the entities they control, prepare annual financial statements and table these in parliament. Each year the Treasurer also prepares consolidated state government financial statements. The consolidated state government financial statements separately disclose transactions and balances for the general government sector and the total state sector.

Audit objective

This report summarises the results of our financial audits for all entities that the Queensland Government owns or controls.

Who we audited

All entities that the Queensland Government owns or controls.

Parliamentary committee

Economics and Governance Committee

Audit status

Tabled
28 February 2019

Contributions closed

How efficient and effective are Queensland's forensic services

Forensic service branches across various government agencies provide expert analysis and advice on civil emergencies, criminal investigations, and the coroners’ inquiries into reportable deaths.

These services are increasingly important in detecting crime and convicting criminals. Delays to forensic testing and analysis can reduce the chances of successfully detecting and apprehending offenders and can delay the administration of justice. Failures of quality assurance in the system can lead to the failure of prosecutions and, in extreme cases, to miscarriages of justice.

The availability of an increasing range of forensic tests along with the more regular use of forensics for volume crime (such as burglary, robbery, and vehicle crime) has increased the number of tests conducted in all jurisdictions, including Queensland. While beneficial, this growth can also have significant cost, resource and efficiency implications.

Audit objective

This audit will assess the efficiency and effectiveness of Queensland's forensic services.

Who we might audit

The Department of Health, the Queensland Police Service, and Department of Justice and Attorney-General.

Parliamentary committee

Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee

Audit status

In progress
Anticipated tabling: Jan–Mar 2019
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Follow-up of Managing child safety information

One of the roles of the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (the department) is to protect children and young people who have been harmed or are at risk of harm. For the year ending 30 June 2014, the department provided about $1.65 billion in grant funding to approximately 2 700 government and non-government organisations. Of this funding, 32 per cent, or around $522 million, was for child safety services.

When providing services to vulnerable children and young people, organisations—both government and non-government need to collaborate, and to do so quickly and easily. Sharing relevant information at the right time is critical to the safety and well-being of a child or young person. This was a clear finding in a 2014 coroner's inquest into the death of a child. It is also important to maintain confidentiality of information. Appropriate physical and computerised security arrangements have to be put in place to safeguard data from unauthorised access and disclosure—either accidental or deliberate.

Audit objective

The objective of this follow-up audit is to assess whether the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women has effectively implemented the recommendations made in Managing child safety information (Report 17: 2014–15).

Who we might audit

Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women.

Parliamentary committee

Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee

Audit status

In progress
Anticipated tabling: Apr–Jun 2019
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Education: results of financial audits

Entities within the Queensland public education sector intend to deliver world class education and training services. Collectively, the sector aims to help individuals make positive transitions from early childhood through to all stages of schooling, providing them with the knowledge and skills to prepare them for future education, training, or the workforce. This sector provides a variety of services and uses substantial resources to deliver these services.

Audit objective

This audit will summarise the results of our financial audits of the Queensland public universities and their controlled entities, the Queensland grammar schools, and a small number of other education-specific entities with a financial year end of 31 December.

Who we audited

Entities within the Queensland public education sector.

Parliamentary committee

Education, Employment and Small Business Committee

Audit status

To be tabled
Anticipated tabling: Apr–Jun 2019

Contributions closed

Local government entities: 2017–18 results of financial audits

Queensland's local governments are involved in a wide range of activities—from delivering key community services, such as roads, water, sewerage and waste treatment, to providing banking, retail, medical, cultural and recreational services.

Most local governments, and the entities that they control, produce annual financial statements. How useful these statements are depends on their quality and the time taken to produce them. Timely and accurate financial reporting is essential for effective decision-making, managing of public funds and assets, and the delivery of public accountability.

Audit objective

This audit will summarise the results of our financial audits of the Queensland councils and the related entities they control that produced financial statements at 30 June.

Who we audited

A selection of councils, to be advised.

Parliamentary committee

Economics and Governance Committee

Audit status

To be tabled
Anticipated tabling: Apr–Jun 2019

Contributions closed

Investing in vocational education and training

The vocational education and training sector provides skills-based training to assist individuals in finding employment or to help them advance within a current position. Under the Annual Vocational Education Training Investment Plan, the state government has committed $810.7 million to help individuals gain skills that lead to job opportunities and sustainable employment.

The plan is supported by a vocational education and training investment framework that aims to support demand-driven funding arrangements and support disadvantaged learners. It also aims to contribute towards public providers—enabling them to compete in the vocational education and training market.

TAFE Queensland is the state’s largest public provider of vocational education and training. It was established on 1 July 2013 as an independent statutory body under the TAFE Queensland Act 2013. There are other providers of vocational education and training, including universities.

The number of private training providers in the market has expanded, each offering skills- based training across accredited courses. The current vocational education and training model is intended to provide a greater variety of courses for individuals to choose from, while providing successful learning and employment outcomes for students.
 

Audit objective

This audit will examine whether the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training is achieving successful learning and employment outcomes through its public and private vocational education and training providers.

Who we might audit

The Department of Employment, Small Business and Training and TAFE Queensland.

Parliamentary committee

Education, Employment and Small Business Committee

Audit status

In progress
Anticipated tabling: Apr–Jun 2019
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Managing cyber security risks

A cyber-attack is defined as a deliberate act through cyber space to manipulate, disrupt, deny, degrade, or destroy computers, networks, or the information they contain. In Australia, the responsibility for managing and preventing cyber security threats lies with the federal, state and territory governments. As government delivers more and more services online, the risk of cyber security attacks increases. The Queensland Government has established a cyber security unit with a whole-of-government focus to combat potential threats.

The 2017 Threat Report by the Australian Cyber Security Centre states that cybercrime remains a pervasive threat to Australia’s economic prosperity with growing criminal expertise in targeting specific businesses. It also states that cybercrime will continue to be an attractive option for criminals. According to this report, between July 2016 and June 2017, the Australian Signals Directorate responded to 671 cyber security incidents that were considered serious enough to warrant operational responses. Cyber security is an evolving risk and departments need to be vigilant in assessing and addressing it.

Audit objective

This audit will assess whether agencies effectively manage their cyber security risks.

Who we might audit

The Queensland Government Cyber Security Unit within the Queensland Government Chief Information Office. We will also select a sample of public sector agencies, to be advised.

Parliamentary committee

Transport and Public Works Committee

Audit status

In progress
Anticipated tabling: Apr–Jun 2019
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Managing the cost of local government services

Sustainability is a key factor in determining the longevity of councils all around Australia. Limited federal funding has challenged councils to review their services and ensure their resources are used effectively to get better outcomes for their respective communities.

In managing financial sustainability, it is important that councils are aware of what services they provide, the cost of these services, and how they can improve delivery to achieve cost- efficiency.

Audit objective

This audit will assess whether councils are delivering their services to the community efficiently and economically. 

Who we might audit

A sample of councils, to be advised. The audit might include the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs.

Parliamentary committee

Economics and Governance Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: To be advised
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2019-20

Family support and child protection system

In response to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry, the Queensland Government is implementing a new child and family support system over the next 10 years. It is intended to have a greater focus on supporting families in providing a safe and secure home for their children.

This response reinforces that parents and families are responsible for the care and safety of their children, with the government's role being to support parents and families by providing the right services at the right time for those in need. Implementing the reforms will require a fundamental shift in the way government agencies, child safety professionals, and community organisations work with vulnerable families, and with each other.

The Queensland Government is investing $406 million over five years from 2014–15 to 2018–19 to better support the state’s most vulnerable families and children.
 

Audit objective

The objective of this audit is to assess how effectively Queensland government agencies work together for the safety and wellbeing of Queensland children.

Who we might audit

The Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, the Queensland Family and Child Commission, the Department of Education and Training, Queensland Police Service, and the Department of Health.

Parliamentary committee

Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee

Audit status

In progress
Anticipated tabling: Jul–Sep 2019
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Addressing mine dust lung disease

Mine workers are at risk of developing a range of occupational mine dust lung diseases. Disease is caused by long-term exposure to high concentrations of respirable dust, generated during mining and quarrying activities. They include a range of occupational lung conditions including:

  • coal workers’ pneumoconiosis
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • silicosis
  • asbestosis.

These diseases are usually found in workers who have had many years of exposure to high concentrations of respirable mineral dust. The diseases may take several years to develop.

Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis is the most commonly known form of mine dust lung disease. It is commonly referred to as ‘black lung disease’. Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis was thought to have been eradicated in Queensland.

The first case of the disease reported to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy was in May 2015, despite a diagnosed case in 2006 (there was no reporting requirements in 2006 for diagnosed cases). Between May 2015 and 31 December 2018, 33 confirmed cases of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis were reported to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.

Following the acknowledgement of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis in 2015, the Queensland Government commissioned an independent review by the Monash University Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago (the Monash Review). In July 2016, the Monash University Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health completed its review and made 18 recommendations, all of which were supported by the government.

Following the Monash Review, on 15 September 2016, Queensland Parliament established the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Select Committee to inquire into the re-identification of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis. 

The initial terms of reference focused on the re-identification of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis amongst mine workers in Queensland. This was extended on 23 March 2017 to include the end-to-end production of coal.

The committee tabled five reports in total, Reports 2 and 4 are relevant to this audit. Report 1 was an interim report with no recommendations made. Report No.3 made one recommendation regarding the exposure draft of the Mine Safety and Health Authority Bill 2017 while Report No.5 did not have any further recommendations.

Audit objective

This audit will examine how effectively public sector entities have implemented recommendations aimed at reducing the risk and occurrence of mine dust lung disease.

The audit will focus on recommendations from:

  • Monash Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Review of Respiratory Component of the Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme, July 2016
  • Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Select Committee reports:
    • Report No. 2, Inquiry into the re-identification of Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis in Queensland, May 2017
    • Report No. 4, Inquiry into occupational respirable dust issues, September 2017.

Who we might audit

The Department of Natural Resource, Mines and Energy, the Department of Education (Office of Industrial Relations), Queensland Health, the Department of Environment and Science, and the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning.

Parliamentary committee

State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee

Audit status

In progress
Anticipated tabling: Aug–Oct 2019
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Delivering guardianship services

The Queensland guardianship system protects the rights and interests of individuals who do not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves. It aims to provide adequate and appropriate support for individuals to make decisions, with as much autonomy as possible. The law assumes an adult has the capacity to make a decision, unless evidence proves otherwise. Capacity is defined as an individual’s ability to:

  • understand the nature and effect of decisions
  • freely and voluntarily make decisions
  • communicate those decisions in some way.

It is important to assess the level of capacity in the context of the decision that the individual is making. While an individual’s decision-making capacity may be impaired, they may still be able to make some decisions for themselves. Therefore, depending on the level of impairment in the situation, the individual may require someone to make the decision on their behalf, or may only require some support to make the decision themselves.

The Office of the Public Guardian, the Public Trustee and the Office of the Public Advocate are responsible for providing an effective and integrated service that supports and promotes the rights of adults with impaired decision-making capacity.
 

Audit objective

This audit will assess the effectiveness of Queensland’s guardianship system and its processes for supporting adults with a decision-making incapacity.

Who we might audit

To be advised.

Parliamentary committee

Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Delivering social housing and housing services

Improving housing affordability, reducing homelessness, and assisting Queenslanders to access the private housing market remain key priorities of the Queensland Government.

In June 2017, the government published its 10-year housing strategy (2017–2027). Through its new strategy, the government aims to transform how it delivers housing services, providing every Queenslander with access to safe, secure and affordable housing that meets their needs and allows them to participate in society.

The Department of Housing and Public Works is changing the way it does business with organisations that are funded to deliver social housing and ancillary housing services. The department’s initiatives include bond loans, rental grants, RentConnect, the Home Assist Secure program, and the National Rental Affordability Scheme. These are all aimed at helping low income earners access and keep housing in the private rental market.

Audit objective

This audit will assess whether social housing programs are effectively and efficiently meeting the needs of vulnerable Queenslanders.

Who we might audit

To be advised.

Parliamentary committee

Transport and Public Works Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Regulating builder registration

Queensland’s building and construction industry contributes significantly to the state’s economy. The industry’s reputation and its ongoing growth relies on licensees complying with their legislated obligations. Unlicensed builders, non-conforming building products and defective building work is detrimental to both the industry and Queensland’s property owners.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission is a regulatory body that provides support to the state’s building industry. It does this by upholding proper building standards and by investigating defective building work. The commission provides four main services for Queensland home owners and contractors:

  • licensing services (this includes ensuring licensees maintain minimum financial requirements)
  • dispute prevention and resolution services
  • home warranty insurance
  • information and education.

Audit objective

This audit will assess how effectively the Queensland Building and Construction Commission regulates builder registration.

Who we might audit

To be advised.

Parliamentary committee

Transport and Public Works Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Diverting young offenders from crime

Criminal offending by young people can stem from a range of complex social problems such as family dysfunction, poor educational outcomes, unemployment, and substance abuse. Addressing the root causes of offending can help young people better connect with their communities and reduce the risk of them committing future crimes.

The Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women is responsible for youth justice. It and the Queensland Police Service have a range of programs and initiatives intended to divert young offenders from the justice system and help them to avoid the risk of reoffending.

Audit objective

This audit will examine the effectiveness of youth justice diversion and rehabilitation initiatives in helping young people better connect with the community and reduce the risk of them reoffending.

Who we might audit

To be advised.

Parliamentary committee

Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Managing electronic and digital evidence

The rapid and ongoing increase in the use of electronic and digital technology to commit and detect crime has led to a growing reliance on electronic and digital evidence in criminal investigations and prosecutions. This rapid growth and the increasing sophistication of technology presents significant opportunities and challenges for the criminal justice system.

To manage these challenges the Queensland Police Service established the Electronic Evidence Examination Unit within its Financial and Cyber Crime Group. This unit’s role involves the examination of electronic devices such as laptops, mobiles, personal data assistants and USB’s. They are experts in areas of encryption, recovering data, and accessing cloud storage. Their primary role is undertaking complex analyses of sophisticated computer related investigations of businesses, organisations and individuals in relation to tracking and recovering evidence.

In addition, the police service’s Child Abuse and Sexual Crimes Unit is responsible for undertaking complex analyses of computer related investigations involving child exploitation material. In July 2017, the Queensland Sentence Advisory Council released its final report on its review of the classification of child exploitation material. It included 16 recommendations aimed at improving aspects of the management of evidence related to this type of material.

Audit objective

This audit will assess whether the Queensland Police Service is effective and efficient in managing electronic and digital evidence in criminal investigations and prosecutions. It will examine whether it is planning effectively to deliver sustainable services and keep up with growing demand. 

Who we might audit

To be advised.

Parliamentary committee

Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Monitoring and managing dam safety

The owner of a dam is responsible for its safety. Having a dam safety management program in place can minimise the risk of its failure, and the potential impact on human life and property.

Under the provisions of the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008, the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy is responsible for the regulation of dams that are referrable. (Referrable dams are those that dam owners have assessed as putting people at risk in the event of failure.)

Around half of the referrable dams in Queensland are owned by Seqwater (26) and Sunwater (23). All referrable dam owners must have an approved emergency action plan in place.

The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy may put safety conditions on referrable dams. These safety conditions may require owners to develop standing operating procedures and undertake works to improve the dam’s integrity.

Audit objective

This audit will assess whether the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy is effectively regulating Queensland’s dams.

Who we might audit

To be advised.

Parliamentary committee

State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Evaluating major infrastructure projects

The quality of infrastructure investment decisions correlates with how successful a project is and how it will have the desired economic and social impact on the state. It is critical for the state government to effectively assess investment decisions to ensure they are sound, that they will achieve economic benefits and value-for-money and will ultimately deliver a positive outcome.

Building Queensland provides the Queensland Government with independent, expert advice on major infrastructure to better inform decisions for its pipeline of projects. Building Queensland has developed a Business Case Development Framework to assist government agencies with the development of major infrastructure proposals. The guidance supplements the Project Assessment Framework and provides detailed advice on how to develop a robust business case.

Audit objective

This audit will assess whether agencies are effective in ensuring that major infrastructure projects maximise value for money, promote state government priorities and meet community needs.

Who we might audit

To be advised.

Parliamentary committee

State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Managing coal seam gas activities

Coal seam gas (CSG) is an important resource in Queensland with over 90 per cent of Australia’s CSG reserves in the Bowen and Surat basins. In Queensland, $63 billion has been invested to produce liquefied natural gas. Other jurisdictions are reliant on Queensland’s CSG to satisfy their energy demands.

CSG activities are subject to approval processes and regulations to minimise their environmental impact and ensure the safety of their activities. The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and the Department of Environment and Science are responsible for administering and enforcing CSG sites in Queensland.

There were 1 127 CSG wells operating in Queensland at June 2012, which grew to 5 324 by June 2017. Proactive risk management is required to:

  • protect local water supplies and farming land
  • manage the impact of CSG activities on areas of regional interest
  • provide fair conditions for landholders
  • ensure the health and safety for all personnel.

Audit objective

This audit will examine the effectiveness of the approval processes and the compliance and enforcement regime for managing coal seam gas activities.

Who we might audit

The Department of Natural Resource, Mines and Energy

Parliamentary committee

State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: Aug–Nov 2019
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School program for students with a disability

The number of students in Queensland state schools with a disability is increasing. The highest rates of growth are students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and hearing impairment.

Schools may need to make reasonable adjustments to the way they teach students with disability, or the way the students access the school, to ensure they can participate. For example, where some students with autism spectrum disorder find handwriting stressful and difficult, the school may use word processing technology as an alternative.

All schools receive resourcing to support students with disability and can request access to a range of regional specialist services.

Audit objective

This audit will examine whether the Department of Education is effectively and efficiently supporting students with disability to maximise their education outcomes. 

Who we might audit

To be advised.

Parliamentary committee

Education, Employment and Small Business Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: To be advised
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