Management and Accountability

External Scrutiny

Decisions of courts and tribunals

In 2010–11 the Department was involved in a small number of matters before Australian courts and tribunals. The matters related to issues such as motor vehicle imports, Freedom of Information and airport building approval. Some of the matters were ongoing at 30 June 2011.

Legal services expenditure

Under paragraph 11.1(ba) of the Legal Services Directions 2005, issued by the Attorney-General, the Department is required to make publicly available its legal services expenditure for the previous year. For 2010–11 the Department's legal expenditure was:

  • Total external legal services expenditure $2,500,307
  • Total internal legal services expenditure $0,652,581

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

Details of the reports of parliamentary committee inquiries are available online at The Australian Government tables its responses to parliamentary inquiries and other reports in the Parliament.

Table 6.1 lists the reports relating to the Department that were released in 2010–11 and dates tabled in Parliament.

Table 6.1 External reports relating to the Department in 2010–11
Inquiry type Title Tabled
Australian National Audit Office
Performance audits Conduct by Infrastructure Australia of the First National Infrastructure Audit and Development of the Infrastructure Priority List 23 July 2010
The Establishment, Implementation and Administration of the Strategic Projects Component of the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program 27 July 2010
Implementation and Administration of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority's Safety Management System Approach for Aircraft Operators 28 October 2010
Cross-portfolio audits Capitalisation of Software 28 October 2010
Audits of the Financial Statements of Australian Government Entities for the Period Ended 30 June 2010 16 December 2010
Management of the Aviation and Maritime Security Identification Card Schemes 5 May 2011
Interim Phase of the Audit of Financial Statements of Major General Government Sector Agencies for the Year ending 30 June 2011 23 June 2011
Parliamentary committees
Senate References Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport The effectiveness of Airservices Australia's management of aircraft noise 28 September 2010
Senate Legislation Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Airports Amendment Bill 2010 (Provisions) 28 September 2010
Senate Legislation Committee on Rural Affairs and Transport Airports Amendment Bill 2010 (Provisions) 18 November 2010
Parliamentary Joint Committee for Law Enforcement Inquiry into the adequacy of aviation and maritime security measures to combat serious and organised crime 20 June 2011

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 6.2 provides a summary of the number of parliamentary questions on notice received by the Department.

Table 6.2 Parliamentary questions in 2010–11
Source of questions Number
House of Representatives 18
Senate 13
Senate Estimates Committee hearings 352
Total 383

Complaints made through external bodies

In 2010–11, the Commonwealth Ombudsman received 12 approaches about the Department, representing a 20 per cent increase on the previous year. However, the Ombudsman's Office made no findings of administrative deficiency, representing a decrease on the 2009–10 result of one finding of administrative deficiency.

Clients also have rights of complaint to the Privacy Commissioner and the Australian Human Rights Commission. In 2010–11, no complaints about the Department were investigated by the Privacy Commissioner or the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Table 6.3 provides information on external complaints and scrutiny.

Table 6.3 External complaints and scrutiny in 2010–11
Complaints recorded by the Commonwealth Ombudsman
Complaints received 12
Finding of defective administration 0
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

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Last Updated: 29 October, 2014