Audit Legislation

Constitution Act 1975

The position of Auditor-General is designated as an independent officer of Parliament within Division 3 of Part V of Victoria's Constitution Act 1975. Provisions relating to the appointment, operational independence and tenure of the Auditor-General are also set out in the Constitution Act.

In March 2003, the Victorian Parliament passed amendments to the Constitution Act that, among other things, preclude any future change to the provisions relating to the Auditor-General other than by way of a referendum. With this action, Parliament has reinforced the importance it places on ensuring that the independence of the Auditor-General in Victoria is always adequately protected.

Audit Act 1994

The Audit Act 1994 establishes the legislative framework governing the ongoing role and functions of the Auditor-General. This Act identifies the statutory powers and responsibilities of the Auditor-General. It provides the authority for the Auditor-General to:

  • conduct annual financial statement audits of public sector agencies
  • undertake performance audits within the public sector which encompass assessments of the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the management of public resources by the government or individual government agencies
  • examine the use of public grants received by both private and public sector organisations
  • determine the efficiency, effectiveness and economy of the services or functions that are delivered through contracts with private or not-for-profit providers (associated entities) through ‘follow-the-dollar’ performance audits 
  • utilise the Victorian Auditor-General's Office as the organisational and resourcing avenue available to the Auditor-General to assist in the discharge of the position's legislative functions
  • access a broad range of documents under Section 11 of the Act.

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2016 Government review of the Audit Act 1994

The Audit Act 1994 is seriously out of date and, after more than 20 years, is failing to keep pace with contemporary trends in public service delivery.

VAGO has made extensive submissions on the reforms needed to government and Parliament since 2009.

In May 2016, the government conducted community consultation on the role and functions of the Auditor-General, with the release of a Discussion Paper.

This review intends to consider a broader range of reforms than the limited changes that were made by the Integrity and Accountability Legislation Amendment (A Stronger System) Act 2016.

VAGO has made a submission to the review.

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2016 changes to the Audit Act 1994

On 31 May 2016, the Governor gave Royal Assent to the Integrity and Accountability Legislation Amendment (A Stronger System) Act 2016, which amends the Audit Act 1994. The reforms provide VAGO with:

  • follow-the-dollar powers for performance audits (i.e. the capacity to consider the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of public sector services or functions that are delivered through contracts with private or not-for-profit providers)
  • expanded information sharing with Victorian integrity bodies and other Auditors-General 
  • streamlined consultation with the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee and new time frames for agency responses to draft audit specifications
  • stronger restrictions on disclosure of performance audit information
  • government to receive advance notice of reports
  • tabling when Parliament is not sitting
  • extraterritoriality for audit powers.

Further reforms of the Audit Act 1994 are still needed to preserve the independence of Parliament’s auditor and improve accountability to the Victorian community and VAGO has voiced these reforms in our response to the government’s review.

Resources

Previous reforms to the Audit Act 1994

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