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    Make a difference to public services for Queensland.
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    Read our annual report for a summary of our corporate performance and where we are headed in the future.
  • Proposed audit topics
    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 conduct financial audits and performance audits to provide public confidence in the reliability of public sector entity financial statements and operating performance. Through our audit work, we make recommendations that promote accountability and transparency in government, and improvements in service efficiency and effectiveness. We take a constructive approach to how we engage with our clients.

Our unique position provides us with visibility across the entire public sector of matters impacting financial performance and our audit mandate provides us with access to the information we need to develop an evidence-based understanding of operating performance.

Our vision is for better public services for Queenslanders. We strive to use our unique position and mandate 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.  

2020-21

Local government development applications and approvals

Over the past few years, there have been several changes to the legislative framework that underpins the development application and approval process.

These changes can contribute to increased risk and complexity in how applications are processed. Further complexity arises from other factors including changing regulatory instruments, local versus state government requirements, and the nature of the application itself.

Depending on the development, the application may be assessed by either the local government or the state government.

Queensland has reviewed and updated its planning legislation, with the revised State Planning Policy taking effect from 3 July 2017.

Audit objective

This audit will assess whether local governments’ processes for development applications and approvals are timely, efficient, and effective, and comply with relevant regulatory requirements.

Who we might audit

  • Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
  • Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs
  • Selected local councils.

Parliamentary committee

Economics and Governance Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population faces considerable disadvantage in health and wellbeing compared to the non-Indigenous population. The Productivity Commission estimates $1.67 billion was spent on indigenous health services in Queensland in 2015–16.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) committed to closing the gap in indigenous life expectancy by 2033 and halving the gap in mortality rates for indigenous children under five by 2018.

To improve indigenous health care, Queensland Health is implementing the Making Tracks Investment Strategy 2015–2018. The strategy outlines the various initiatives intended to reduce the health gap and focuses on:

  • a healthy and safe start to life
  • reducing risk factors
  • improving living environments
  • earlier diagnosis and treatment
  • cultural competence
  • the community-controlled health sector
  • research, accountability and evaluation.

Audit objective

This audit will assess whether Queensland Health is reducing the gap in health and wellbeing outcomes for Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Who we might audit

  • Department of Health
  • Selected Hospital and Health Services
  • Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.

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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2021–22

Managing oil and chemical spills

Oil and chemical spill incidents can have devastating effects on the environment. Water- based spills can result in major biological issues, physical contamination, and disruption to industries that rely heavily on waterways for their operations. Recreational activities can also be impacted when spills encroach on beaches and local waterways.

Although land-based spills tend to move more slowly and affect smaller areas, they are still hazardous to people and the environment.

State and federal agencies work together to respond to land and water-based spills. Maritime Safety Queensland (a branch of the Department of Transport and Main Roads) is the lead agency in Queensland for responding to maritime spills, and the Department of Environment and Science provides it with assistance where the spills affect wildlife. The Department of Environment and Science is the lead agency for responding to land- based spills.

Audit objective

This audit will assess whether the Department of Environment and Science and Maritime Safety Queensland has effective processes for managing land and water-based oil and chemical spills.

Who we might audit

  • Department of Environment and Science
  • Department of Transport and Main Roads
  • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.

Parliamentary committee

State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Commonwealth Games legacy

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be the fifth time Australia has hosted the Commonwealth Games. The 11-day sporting and cultural event involves athletes and officials from 70 nations and territories.

With a budget of approximately $2 billion, the Commonwealth Games relies on significant public and private investment.

Beyond the 11-day sporting event, the Commonwealth Games has the potential to provide long-term economic, industry, social and community benefits to Queensland.

In December 2014, in our report 2018 Commonwealth Games: Progress (Report 9: 2014–15) we recommended that the Office of the Commonwealth Games Coordination complete its legacy evaluation framework, including measures and targets to evaluate realisation of legacy benefits.

The Queensland Government subsequently finalised and implemented the ‘Embracing 2018 Legacy Program’. The programs legacy benefits include:

  • delivering GC2018: The Inspiring Games
  • enduring jobs and powering economic growth
  • accelerating the Gold Coast to a world-class boutique city
  • building active, engaged and inclusive communities.

Audit objective

This audit will assess whether the intended legacy benefits from the 2018 Commonwealth Games have been realised by the state.

Who we might audit

  • Department of Innovation, Tourism Industry Development and the Commonwealth Games
  • Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
  • Local councils.

Parliamentary committee

State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Maintaining ecologically sustainable communities

The ongoing prosperity of Queensland communities requires careful planning and management. Sustainable practices that enable economic growth without compromising the state’s natural environment is necessary.

Local councils are responsible for managing land, energy and water resources while also ensuring social and economic vitality. Sustainably managing these resources, amidst population growth, resource limitations and climate change, is a significant challenge for councils.

Councils require long-term social and environmental strategies to respond to these challenges and build positive outcomes to sustain Queensland communities.

Audit objective

This audit will assess the effectiveness and economy of local council’s social and environmental sustainability strategies. 

Who we might audit

  • Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs
  • Selected local councils.

Parliamentary committee

Economics and Governance Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Managing conflicts of interest in local government

A conflict of interest may occur when there is a real or perceived conflict between private interests and public duty. Undeclared conflicts of interest present a significant fraud risk within local government. Mismanagement of conflicts of interest can damage a council’s reputation and ability to deliver services.

In 2016–17 the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) examined how 13 councils had dealt with allegations of conflicts of interest and the adequacy of their conflict of interest systems.

In October 2017, the CCC released its report about ‘Managing and responding to conflicts of interest involving council employees’. It recommended 10 councils implement an overarching framework to enable them to apply a coordinated approach to identify, manage and monitor conflicts of interest.  

Audit objective

This audit will assess how effectively councils manage and respond to conflicts of interest.

Who we might audit

  • Local councils.

Parliamentary committee

Economics and Governance Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Healthcare pathways (waitlist management)

Public patients are referred to specialists from emergency departments or by their general practitioner. Hospital and Health Services develop guidelines which help the referring doctors decide to whom they will refer patients and ensure the doctors provide appropriate information.

Long surgical and outpatient waiting times and inappropriate referrals to specialist medical appointments can contribute to sub-optimal outcomes for patients. As at 1 January 2017, the Department of Health reported 190 158 patients were waiting for a specialist outpatient appointment. Patients waiting longer than clinically recommended periods of time varied between two and 56 per cent depending on the specialty.

The Department of Health establishes outpatient waiting times as an important performance measure in their service agreements with the Hospital and Health Services and assigns funding for this. The Queensland health sector has several strategies to address specialist outpatient waiting times including the Specialist Outpatient Strategy and the Clinical Prioritisation Criteria program (currently being developed).

Audit objective

This audit will assess the effectiveness of strategies that ensure patients receive the most appropriate healthcare treatment within recommended times

Who we might audit

  • Department of Health
  • Selected Hospital and Health Services.

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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Preventing childhood obesity

The health of Queenslanders 2016 report states that 19 per cent of children in Queensland are overweight and a further seven per cent are obese. This rate has not changed since 2007–08. The rate of childhood obesity 30 years ago was two per cent.

Childhood obesity can have a range of adverse consequences including social discrimination, poor self-esteem, depression, and childhood type 2 diabetes. In the longer term, obese children have a higher likelihood of adult health problems such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, and joint problems.

These consequences can cause significant individual morbidity and mortality, lost productivity, and increased direct health care costs.

Your health, Queensland's future: Advancing health 2026 is a 10-year vision and strategy for the Queensland health system. It was released in 2016. One headline measure of the strategy’s success is reducing childhood obesity by 10 per cent by 2026. The Department of Health in its Overweight and obesity prevention strategy 2017 to 2020 details actions and targets for addressing the prevalence of childhood obesity.

In addition, schools deliver specific education initiatives to ensure children and families are aware of how to eat healthily and are aware of the importance of nutrition and weight in the context of overall health. Many variables can contribute to childhood obesity outcomes.

Audit objective

This audit will assess whether the Department of Health and the Department of Education are effectively implementing strategies to prevent and reduce childhood obesity.

Who we might audit

  • Department of Health
  • Department of Education.

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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Preventing and responding to domestic and family violence

On 10 September 2014, the Special Taskforce on Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland was established. In February 2015, the taskforce finalised its report, Not now, Not ever: Putting an end to domestic and family violence in Queensland. The taskforce reports that domestic violence in Queensland has continued to increase and is costing the state’s economy between $2.7 and $3.2 billion annually.

In its subsequent budgets, the Queensland Government committed to an overall funding package of $323.1 million over six years to respond to the issues and recommendations in the Not now, Not ever: Putting an end to domestic and family violence in Queensland report.

Audit objective

This audit will examine how effective public sector initiatives have been in preventing and responding to domestic and family violence. 

Who we might audit

  • Queensland Police Service
  • Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women
  • Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors
  • Department of Justice and Attorney-General
  • Selected public sector entities.

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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Deploying police resources

The Queensland Police Service has over 13 000 operational staff and 14 000 total staff. It is responsible for providing policing services to more than 4.9 million Queenslanders, who are spread over more than 1.7 million square kilometres.

Deploying police resources efficiently and effectively means using the most appropriate types and number of resources in the right place at the right time to maximise public safety outcomes.

Two objectives that the Queensland Police Service commits to in its 2017–21 Strategic Plan are to make the community safer and equip its workforce for the future.

Audit objective

This audit will examine how efficiently and effectively the Queensland Police Service deploys its resources to maximise public safety.

Who we might audit

  • Queensland Police Service.

Parliamentary committee

Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Capital asset management and planning

The annual budget cycle of the Queensland Government includes a Capital Statement. This statement presents an overview of proposed capital outlays by each Queensland Government department each year, as well as a summary of the government’s approach to infrastructure provision. Capital outlays are broken down into capital purchases (including acquisitions under finance leases) and capital grants.

The level of capital expenditure over the 2017–18 forward estimates is forecast to exceed $42 billion, with growth largely attributable to additional infrastructure investment associated with the state infrastructure fund.

Historically, Queensland Government agencies have been unable to spend the approved capital funds in the budget period. This increases the risk of government assets not being able to effectively support the delivery of key social services, or to support the state’s development, the needs of local communities, and local employment opportunities.

The state’s budget sector has underspent its capital program by more than $7.7 billion (14 per cent) over the last five financial years.

Audit objective

This audit will assess how efficiently and effectively the Queensland Government estimates and delivers its capital programs.

Who we might audit

  • Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
  • Selected public sector entities.

Parliamentary committee

State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry

Although floods are a natural phenomenon, they can have devasting impacts. The
2010–11 flood events in Queensland resulted in 35 people losing their lives. The estimated cost of the flooding events was in excess of $5 billion.

In response to the disaster, the Queensland government established the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry on 17 January 2011. The inquiry looked at the:

  • preparation, planning and response to the floods
  • performance of private insurers
  • measures taken to manage the supply of essential services
  • adequacy of forecasts and early warnings systems
  • implementation of operational plans for dams
  • land use planning.

On 16 March 2012, the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry released its final report into the 2010–11 floods. The inquiry made 177 recommendations, directed both to state and local governments. The Queensland government supported all the recommendations.

Audit objective

This audit will assess whether Queensland is better able to prevent and prepare for floods following the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry. 

Who we might audit

  • Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
  • Department of Environment and Science
  • Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
  • Queensland Reconstruction Authority
  • Local councils.

Parliamentary committee

Economics and Governance Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
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Managing teacher supply

Employment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related industries has grown more than twice as fast as the general labour market in the last decade.

An adequate supply of specialist qualified teachers is needed for Queensland to remain competitive and to provide students with opportunities to participate in a broad‑based strong economy.

The supply of specialist subject teachers, including teachers of STEM subjects, continues to be a concern. Long‑term planning and initiatives are necessary to ensure an adequate supply of these teachers.

Audit objective

This audit will assess whether the Department of Education is effectively managing the supply of specialist teachers in Queensland.

Who we might audit

  • Department of Education.

Parliamentary committee

Economics and Governance Committee

Audit status

Planned
Anticipated tabling: to be advised
Contribute Now

Careers

As an integrity office, we provide independent, professional audit services to public sector entities on behalf of the Parliament and Queenslanders.

Our values are vitally important to how we work  – we engage with purpose, we challenge ourselves, we deliver on our commitments, and we care about people. We are uniquely positioned to operate across the entire Queensland public sector for the public good.

As part of our strategy, we invest in our people to be the best in their field and have a specialist graduate program with opportunities in the areas of financial audit, performance audit and information systems audit. As a QAO team member, you are offered professional training, personalised development and great career opportunities.

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