About Us

The Tasmanian Audit Office is an independent agency charged with upholding public integrity in Tasmania

The Office assists the Auditor-General to provide an independent view of the financial and operational performance of State entities. The new Audit Act 2008 (Audit Act) sets out the Auditor-General’s functions, mandate and powers. Our 2016 – 2020 Strategic Plan and other associated annual plans respond to our legislated responsibilities.

Under the Audit Act, the Auditor-General must undertake audits of financial statements of Tasmanian State entities and issue audit reports outlining their compliance with relevant legislation and accounting standards. The Auditor-General must also prepare an audit report on the Public Account Statements and any other statements required to be prepared by the Treasurer in accordance with any written law. All of these audits must be completed within specified time frames.

 

Auditor-General

The roles and responsibilities are defined in the Audit Act 2008 (refer to section “Auditor-General’s Role”). The Auditor-General is the administrative head of the Tasmanian Audit Office.

The Auditor-General forms part of the accountability mechanism whereby Parliament holds the Government accountable for fulfilling its responsibilities. The Audit Office assists the Auditor-General in fulfilling this role.

Rod Whitehead is the current Auditor-General who joined the Office in March 2016.

Key Roles and Responsibilities of the Auditor-General

  • Perform audits in accordance with the Audit Act 2008, other relevant legislation, and recognised professional auditing standards and practices.
  • Carry out special investigations in accordance with section 23 of the Audit Act 2008.
  • Report on the audit of the accounts of:
    • All Government departments including Treasury (except the Tasmanian Audit Office);
    • All public bodies including local government entities and state owned companies;
    • The Office of the Governor;
    • The Legislative Council;
    • The House of Assembly; and
    • The Legislature-General.
  • Appoint officers of the Tasmanian Audit Office or other suitable persons to carry out audits or investigations.
  • Maintain regular contact with the Public Accounts Committee.
  • Dispense with audits of public bodies if there is sufficient cause to do so.
  • Make the final decision on all qualified audit reports.
  • Determine Audit Office policy on all accounting issues.

 

Rod Whitehead
Ric De Santi

Deputy Auditor-General

The role of the Deputy Auditor-General is to provide policy advice to the Auditor-General on auditing and accounting issues and acts as the Auditor-General in his/her absence. The position of Deputy Auditor-General encompasses the role of Chief Operating Officer whereby it has responsibility for the operations of the Tasmanian Audit Office. The Financial Audit and Corporate Support Services units report directly to the Deputy Auditor-General.

Ric De Santi is the current Deputy Auditor-General.

State Entities

The State entities audited include agencies, local government councils and joint authorities, Government Business Enterprises, State-owned companies, State authorities which are not a Government Business Enterprise and the council, board, trust or trustees, or other governing body of a corporation, body of persons or institution that is or are appointed by the Governor or a Minister of the Crown and a Corporation within the meaning of the Water and Sewerage Corporations Act 2008.

Audits

Audits must be completed in accordance with the requirements of Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards with audit reports, both the audit opinion and any management letters, issued to the State entity’s responsible Minister and to the relevant accountable authority.

Whilst not a legislative requirement, when conducting audits of State entity financial statements, regard is had to whether there has been any waste of public resources or
any lack of probity or prudence in the management of or application of public resources.

In addition, the Auditor-General has the authority to undertake:

  • Performance audits examining the efficiency, effectiveness and economy of a State entity, a number of State entities, or a part of a State entity or a subsidiary of a State entity
  • Examination or investigation into any matter relating to the accounts of the Treasurer, a State entity or a subsidiary of a State entity
  • Examination or investigation into any matter relating to public money, other money or to public property or other property
  • Compliance audits examining the compliance by a State entity or a subsidiary of a State entity with written laws or its own internal policies.
  • The results of all audits conducted by the Auditor-General are reported to Parliament for its consideration.

Audit Acts

The Audit Act 2008 can be downloaded from www.thelaw.tas.gov.au and a summary of the differences between the Financial Management
and Audit Act 1991 and the Audit Act 2008 is contained the following document: The Audit Act

Audit Practice Statement

Click on this link to access our Audit Practice Statement

 

Divisions

The Audit Office has four divisions to provide its services:

 

Financial Audit Services

The Financial Audit Services unit reports ultimately to the Auditor-General but is directly responsible to the Deputy Auditor-General. The day-to-day operations of the unit are managed by the Assistant Auditor-General – Financial Audit Services.

The unit, as its name implies, undertakes annual financial audits. The unit is divided into five teams that are run by the Group Leaders – Financial Audit (refer to organisational chart for more details).

Any audit assignment that relates to forming an opinion on the annual financial statements of Tasmanian State entities is a financial audit. In Tasmania there are approximately 170 State entities. These audits provide independent assurances to Parliament and the community that the information presented in the financial
statements of the State entities is presented fairly, in all material respects, in accordance with the Australian Accounting Standards.

Financial audits are conducted using a risk-based methodology that involves designing audit procedures to address identified entity and system risks. The financial audit methodology requires the extensive use of audit software during the planning, execution and finalisation phases, together with the use of data analysis techniques where appropriate. The methodology and techniques used ensure that the audits are conducted in the most efficient manner and that audit reports on financial statements are provided on a timely manner.

The outcome of a financial statement audit is an audit report which can be “unmodified” (unqualified) or “modified” (qualified). Audit reports can also include an emphasis of matter paragraph whereby the users’ attention is drawn to a matter included in the financial statements that is fundamental to the users’ understanding of those statements.

The Auditor-General will issue an unqualified audit report when he/she forms the opinion that the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the affairs and transactions of the client. In the case of a qualified audit report, the Auditor-General forms the opinion that the financial statements are not free from material misstatement or he has not been able to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence.

 

Performance Audit Services

The Performance Audit Services unit reports directly to the Auditor-General and is managed by the Assistant Auditor-General – Performance Audit.
The unit generally conducts performance and compliance audits.

A performance audit is an audit that deals with any aspects of an organisation’s effectiveness, economy, efficiency or compliance with relevant legislation.

A compliance audit seeks to confirm that specific legislation, directions and regulations have been adhered to by public sector agencies.

The audit process begins with the planning phase that identifies the issues to be examined, timing, objectives, approach to be used and the resources required.

The next stage of an audit involves the systematic gathering, analysis and testing of information. The information is evaluated to develop conclusions and make constructive recommendations as required.

The results of all audit reviews are discussed with, and formally communicated to, senior management of audit clients. The audit process culminates in the presentation of a Special Report to Parliament.

The Assistant Auditor-General is responsible to the Auditor-General for ensuring the Audit Office’s methodology for performance and compliance audits
is complied with during the performance of all audits and complies with Australian Auditing Standards.

Corporate Support Services

Corporate Support Services (CSS) provides support and assistance to the Office in the corporate areas of human resources, finance, administration, facilities, contract management, information management and publications.  CSS also manages the service level agreements with both the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Queensland Audit Office (QAO).  DoJ provides the Office processing assistance and advice in relation to finance, information technology and human resources.  However, all decisions are made by the Office.  QAO provides a managed service for the audit toolset IPSAM for the Office. This toolset provides the audit methodology aligned with auditing standards for the conducting of audits by the Office.

Office of the Auditor General

Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) consists of the Auditor-General, Deputy Auditor-General and the Director – Technical and Quality with administrative support.  The Auditor-General is the administrative head of the Tasmanian Audit Office and the Deputy Auditor-General provides policy advice to the Auditor-General on auditing and accounting issues and acts as the Auditor-General in his/her absence.  The position of Deputy Auditor-General encompasses the role of Chief Operating Officer whereby it has responsibility for the operations of the Tasmanian Audit Office.  The other functions of the section incorporate:

  • ensuring that audits comply with the Office’s financial and performance audit methodologies and assesses compliance by carrying out quality control procedures in line with ASQC 1
  • being a key point of reference for all staff, clients and other key stakeholders on the interpretation and application of accounting and auditing standards and
  • assessing, coordinating, investigating and reporting on referrals received by the Auditor-General.