Management and Accountability
Decisions of courts and tribunals
In 2009–10 the Department was involved in a range of matters before Australian courts and tribunals. The matters related to issues such as motor vehicle imports, airport planning approval and personal injury claims. Some of the matters were ongoing at 30 June 2010.
A significant matter which concluded during the year was the matter of Lihou and Others v Commonwealth of Australia. This matter was resolved in June 2010.
Legal services expenditure
Under paragraph 11.1(ba) of the Legal Services Directions 2005, issued by the Attorney General, the Department required to make publicly available their legal services expenditure for the previous year. For 2009–10 the Department's legal expenditure was:
- Total external legal services expenditure $3,532,252
- Total internal legal services expenditure $843,581
Audit office and parliamentary scrutiny
Reports on matters relating to the Department are released by the ANAO, parliamentary committees or other public bodies from time to time.
The Department formally responds to ANAO reports in writing, and the ANAO includes the Department's responses in its reports. The ANAO makes its reports available online at www.anao.gov.au.
Details of the reports of parliamentary committee inquiries are available online at www.aph.gov.au/committee/index.htm. The Australian Government tables its responses to parliamentary inquiries and other reports in the Parliament.
Table 7.1 lists the reports relating to the Department that were released in 2009–10.
Table 7.1 External reports relating to the Department in 2009–10
|Australian National Audit Office|
|Airservices Australia's Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government||5 November 2009|
|Performance audits||Management of the Strategic Regional Program/Off-Network Program||22 April 2010|
|Management of the AusLink Roads to Recovery Program||22 April 2010|
|Cross-portfolio audits||Audit of the Financial Statements of Australian Government Entities for the Period Ended
30 June 2009
|17 December 2009|
|Effective Cross-Agency Agreements||26 May 2010|
|Fraud Control in Australian Government Agencies||27 May 2010|
|Interim Phase of the Audit of Financial Statements of Major General Government Sector Agencies for the Year ending 30 June 2010||24 June 2010|
|House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government||The Global Financial Crisis and regional Australia||23 November 2009|
|Senate References Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport||Investment of Commonwealth and State funds in public passenger transport infrastructure and services||20 August 2009|
|Senate Legislation Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport||Excise Tariff Amendment (Aviation Fuel) Bill 2010 [Provisions]||23 June 2010|
|Customs Tariff Amendment (Aviation Fuel) Bill 2010 [Provisions]||23 June 2010|
Senior Executive Service (SES) level employees of the Department, in addition to attending specific parliamentary inquiries, also attend Senate estimates committee hearings to respond to questions about the Department's activities.
Table 7.2 provides a summary of the number of parliamentary questions on notice received by the Department.
Table 7.2 Parliamentary questions in 2009–10
|Source of questions||Number|
|House of Representatives||34|
|Senate estimates committee hearings||607|
Complaints made through external bodies
In 2009–10, the Ombudsman received 10 approaches about the Department, representing a 55 per cent decrease on the result for the previous year. The Ombudsman's Office elected to investigate one of the matters raised and made a finding of administrative deficiency.
Clients also have rights of complaint to the Privacy Commissioner and the Australian Human Rights Commission. In 2009–10, no complaints about the Department were investigated by the Privacy Commissioner or the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Table 7.3 provides information on external complaints and scrutiny.
Table 7.3 External complaints and scrutiny in 2009–10
|Complaints recorded by the Commonwealth Ombudsman|
|Finding of defective administration||1|
|Formal reports to the Minister under the Ombudsman Act 1976||0|
|Complaints recorded by other external bodies|
|Complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission||0|
|Complaints to the Privacy Commissioner||0|