Mark Dreyfus MP

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New Research Shows Auditor-General's Budget Smashed By 7 Years Of Liberal Budget Cuts

27 October 2020

New research has confirmed the Auditor-General’s budget has been slashed by almost 20 per cent in real terms, since the Liberals and Nationals came to power in 2013.

MARK DREYFUS
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
 
JULIAN HILL MP
DEPUTY CHAIR JOINT STATUTORY COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS AND AUDIT
MEMBER FOR BRUCE

 
 
NEW RESEARCH SHOWS AUDITOR-GENERAL’S BUDGET SMASHED BY 7 YEARS OF LIBERAL BUDGET CUTS
 

New research has confirmed the Auditor-General’s budget has been slashed by almost 20 per cent in real terms, since the Liberals and Nationals came to power in 2013.
 
This completely blows out of the water the claim by the Prime Minister and Treasurer that the ANAO has suffered only minor cuts under the Liberals, showing there has been a deliberate policy by the Coalition to silence the independent watchdog exposing the Government’s rorts and waste.
 
Led by the Auditor-General, the Australian National Audit Office helps to ensure that taxpayers get value for money for government spending.
 
Parliamentary Library Research shows total budget resourcing for the Australian National Audit Office has fallen in every year, bar one, since the 2013 election.
 
Total budget resourcing for the ANAO has fallen from $77.787 million in 2012/13, when Labor was in power, to $72.932 million in 202/21 – a cut of 4.6% in nominal terms, or 18.3% in real terms (taking account of CPI).
 
These cuts have forced the ANAO to slash staff by around 10%, reduce the number of audits it carries out each year, and increasingly deplete its resources as it tries to keep on top of the Morrison Government’s rorts.
 
Separate analysis by the Grattan Institute shows the level of ANAO funding has halved under the Coalition, measured as a percentage of the total Commonwealth Budget, down from 0.02% of spending in 2012/13 to just 0.01% today.
 
As the Morrison recession takes hold, Government spending under the Liberals is at a record high and Australia is hurtling towards $1 trillion of debt.
 
This means the ANAO needs more funding, not less: every dollar must be made to count, and taxpayers deserve value for money and greater accountability.
 
These cuts come despite the Auditor-General publicly warning that the ongoing cuts to his office “will continue to reduce the ANAO’s capacity to deliver performance audits into the future”.
 
Just weeks after a damning ANAO report embarrassed the Government for spending $30 million of taxpayers’ money on Western Sydney Airport land it later valued at $3 million, the 2020/21 Budget delivered a further blow to the ANAO’s ability to continue to hold the Government to account.
 
The relentless attack on the ANAO comes as the Morrison Government continues to stall on its promise to establish an independent commission to investigate corruption.
 
It has now been almost three years since the Morrison Government claims to have started work on its weak, ineffective and opaque “Commonwealth Integrity Commission”.
 
It’s almost two years since Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Attorney-General Christian Porter promised to have draft legislation ready before the end of 2019.
 
The ever-growing list of scandals surrounding the Morrison Government shows why Australia needs a powerful and independent Audit Office, and a powerful and independent National Integrity Commission – and why Mr Morrison and his colleagues will do everything in their power to crush both of them.
 
Unlike the Morrison Government, Labor supports and respects the essential work of the Auditor-General and the ANAO and is fully committed to the establishment of a powerful, transparent and independent National Integrity Commission.
 
TUESDAY, 27 OCTOBER 2020