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Audit details

Audits in progress

The following audits are in progress:

Last updated: 17 July 2014

Technical and Further Education Institutes: Results of the 2013 Audits

This report provides the results of the audits of approximately 27 entities, comprising 14 technical and further education institutes and the 13 entities they control. The report will address their financial and performance reporting, financial sustainability, their financial policies and delegations, and management of procurement.

The report is expected to be tabled in August 2014.

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Access to Legal Aid

Legal aid is the provision of publicly funded legal services for people who are otherwise unable to afford it privately. It is an important aspect of a democratic society, aimed at enabling fair and equitable access to justice and the legal system.

People in need of legal aid typically represent the more vulnerable in society and their complex needs are often the product of entrenched systemic disadvantage. In 2012–13, Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) provided legal advice, duty lawyer services and grants of legal assistance to 86 861 unique clients.

VLA is experiencing increasing demand for its legal services and an increase in the complexity of its caseload. There have been a number of justice system changes in recent years that are having, and will continue to have an influence on the number of cases coming before the courts, with consequent increased demand for legal aid.

The audit will assess whether VLA is performing its functions and duties, and achieving its objectives under the Legal Aid Act 1978. To address this objective, the audit will assess the arrangements in place to:

The report is expected to be tabled in August 2014.

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Landfill Management

Landfills are an important part of Victoria’s waste management infrastructure. While disposal of materials to landfill is the least preferred management option for waste, landfills will continue to be required to manage those wastes that cannot practically be removed from the waste stream. Active landfills currently receive a range of wastes. However, there are also a number of landfills across the state that are now closed. Active and closed landfills pose a wide range of risks to the environment and public health based on their siting, design, operation and management. Landfills should not leave an unacceptable environmental legacy for future generations to address and, as such, landfills must be managed and regulated in accordance with best practice. Landfill design, operation and management have improved significantly over the last two decades. However, managing potential environmental and health impacts from active and closed landfills still remains a significant challenge for landfill owners and operators.

This audit will determine whether landfills in Victoria are being appropriately designed, managed and rehabilitated so as not to pose an unacceptable risk to the environment and public health.

The report is expected to be tabled by the end of August 2014.

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Coordinating Public Transport

The limited coverage offered by Melbourne’s radial train network means that effective coordination with other modes of public transport is essential for enabling the efficient movement of people, including access to jobs and services. Key objectives within the Transport Integration Act 2010 (TIA) establish a strong imperative for achieving a coordinated public transport system. Specifically, these include that the transport system should facilitate network-wide efficient, coordinated and reliable movement of persons and goods, as well as seamless travel within and between different modes of transport.

Many multimodal journeys on public transport in Melbourne incur long wait times between connecting services. This can cause passenger frustration with the public transport system, reduce economic productivity and impede accessibility to key services and jobs and, therefore, social inclusion. The audit will examine Public Transport Victoria’s progress and effectiveness to date in coordinating public transport services. Specifically, it will examine how its activities and existing contractual arrangements support the achievement of seamless travel within and between different modes.

The report is expected to be tabled in August 2014.

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Managing the Environmental Impacts of Transport

The environmental impacts of transport are diverse and include the production of greenhouse gases (GHG), other air pollution and noise.

The transport sector is the second largest producer of GHG in Victoria, with passenger cars responsible for approximately 60 per cent of those emissions. While total emissions from public transport are lower, trains and trams are particularly GHG-intensive due to their reliance on brown coal.

Motor vehicles also contribute up to 70 per cent of total urban air pollution in the Port Phillip Region, including Geelong, and as Melbourne continues to grow, there is a risk that transportation noise will become an increasing source of community concern, particularly in residential areas.

These impacts not only have an effect on the environment, but can also contribute to reduced livability and loss of amenity, as well as poor health.

This audit will examine the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, VicRoads and Public Transport Victoria in managing the environmental impacts of transport by assessing whether: 

The report is expected to be tabled in August 2014.

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Emergency Response ICT systems

Victorians expect emergency services to promptly and efficiently respond to crisis incidents.

To deliver required outcomes, emergency service systems must involve both ICT systems and people performing key tasks.

 Like all ICT systems, emergency response ICT systems require certain periods of down time for scheduled maintenance and, from time to time, unplanned outages can occur and disrupt operations. An emergency services organisation needs to be able to cope with these outages and continue to deliver critical services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Given the critical nature of the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority's role, the audit will examine the suitability, resilience and operation of key ICT systems and investigate the impact on service delivery of periods of partial or total system failure. It will examine measures taken to manage system failures and efforts to improve business continuity and make critical systems more resilient.

The report is expected to be tabled in September 2014.

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Management and Oversight of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve

The Caulfield Racecourse Reserve is a significant public asset in terms of its physical size, value and its importance to the community. It is a 54.46 hectare parcel of Crown land located 8 kilometres south east of Melbourne permanently reserved in 1879 for racing, recreation and public park purposes. A restricted Crown Grant vests management of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve in specified trustees.

Over recent years, community groups and other stakeholders have raised concerns about a range of issues related to the use and management of the reserve. These include use of the reserve for predominately racing purposes to the detriment of community use, a lack of suitable access to the reserve and the lack of transparency and accountability of the trust.

This audit will examine the effectiveness of the trustees' management of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve and the oversight provided by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries of the trustees' stewardship of the reserve.

The report is expected to be tabled in September 2014.

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Heatwave Management: Reducing the Risk to Public Health

Heatwaves represent a significant risk to public health. More people died in the 2009 heatwave than in the Black Saturday bushfires. The elderly, young children and people with chronic diseases are particularly at risk.

The focus of the audit is on whether the Department of Health’s Heatwave Framework has been effective in reducing the impact of extreme heat on public health. This framework includes—Victoria’s heatwave plan, which guides a statewide response to heatwaves; the development of heatwave plans in local councils; a heat health alert system; various communication resources; and a heat health surveillance system that monitors the impact of heatwaves on human health.

The audit includes the Department of Health, the Department of Human Services, Ambulance Victoria and Victoria Police. A small number of councils and health services have also been included.

The report is expected to be tabled in October 2014.

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Effectiveness of Catchment Management Authorities

Victoria's catchment assets comprise land, water and biodiversity resources and are critical to both building healthy and resilient ecosystems and supporting Victoria’s primary production industries. They also provide a range of recreational activities that support tourism. Effectively managing these assets requires an integrated approach that recognises the complex relationships within ecosystems. It also requires strong community involvement, as more than two-thirds of Victoria’s land is privately owned.

The Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 (the Act) divides Victoria into 10 catchment regions, each with its own catchment management authority (CMA) that reports to the ministers for Environment and Climate Change and Water through a board. Under the Act, each CMA’s primary role is to develop and coordinate implementation of a regional catchment strategy in partnership with its communities. These strategies outline a future vision for the landscape and identify priorities, objectives and targets for managing natural resources in the region. CMAs released their latest regional catchment strategies in 2013. The regional catchment strategies are supported by various sub-strategies for each region, covering native vegetation, river health, salinity and other areas.

The audit will assess the effectiveness of CMAs in performing their legislative functions and how the Department of Environment and Primary Industries supports and monitors the CMAs in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities.

The report is expected to be tabled in October 2014.

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Mental Health Strategies for the Justice System

A significant proportion of people coming into contact with the criminal justice agencies have a mental illness. National and international evidence shows that the rate of mental illness amongst people involved with the criminal justice agencies is much higher than for the community generally. Those who complete a period of imprisonment often return to unstable, disadvantaged situations without effective social support.

Organisations in the justice, health and human services portfolios have closely related, and sometimes interdependent, responsibilities for people with mental illness. The number of agencies involved, together with the difficulties of managing, supporting and rehabilitating people with mental illness, means that a coordinated approach to planning and service delivery is required if outcomes are to be improved.

The audit will assess the effectiveness of planning and coordination for mental health undertaken by Victoria Police, the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services. The audit will consider whether:

The report is expected to be tabled in October 2014.

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Public Sector Performance Measurement and Reporting

Effective measurement and reporting of public sector performance is essential to achieving transparency and accountability in government. Past audits and a 2014 review by the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee identified ongoing shortcomings with departmental performance information.

The audit will examine the effectiveness of public sector performance measurement and reporting.

It will consider whether publicly reported information by a selection of departments meaningfully demonstrates performance and the achievement of outcomes that are important to the Victorian community. The audit will also examine whether departments have properly applied the government’s performance measurement and reporting system and whether the Department of Treasury and Finance has effectively overseen the development and application of an updated and effective public sector performance measurement and reporting system.

The report is expected to be tabled in October 2014.

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Additional School Costs for Families

In Victoria, education is compulsory for children aged 6–17 years. Through primary and secondary schools, the government provides free instruction in the standard curriculum program—the arts, English, health and physical education, languages other than English, mathematics, science, studies of society and environment, and technology.

In addition to Commonwealth and state government funding, government schools may charge parents fees for goods and services associated with the delivery of free instruction and optional extras, and may also ask for voluntary donations. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) is responsible for administering a parent payment policy, which outlines the types of payments schools may request. Each school is responsible for determining the amount parents are charged.

There is increasing community concern about the extent to which education costs are being borne by families and the potential impact this may have on the educational experience of those unable to afford such costs. There is a need to ascertain whether parent charges are reasonable, fair and consistent with government and school policies.

The audit will assess whether DEECD and government schools are managing parent education costs economically, efficiently and effectively and in accordance with legislation and policies. To assess the objective, the audit will examine:

The report is expected to be tabled in February 2015.

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Effectiveness of Support for Local Government

Councils provide a significant social and economic contribution to their communities across Australia. In Victoria, Local Government Victoria (LGV) and the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) provide important support to the 79 councils to both assist them to carry out their duties and obligations and facilitate more efficient and effective council operations. Such support activities may include the provision of advice, advocacy, guidance and services such as training.

Previous performance audits in the local government sector have highlighted a need for improvement in key areas of council administration. With the significant social and economic contribution councils make to their communities, it is important to assess how effectively and efficiently the support to councils is delivered to achieve intended outcomes and to determine whether value for money is being achieved.

The report is expected to be tabled in February 2015.

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Responses to 2012–13 Performance Audit Recommendations

Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) performance audits include recommendations to address deficiencies identified by audit and improve the management and delivery of public services. Audited agencies are asked to respond to recommendations and state whether they accept them and how they will respond. Agencies are then required to monitor audit recommendations and enact planned responses under Standing Direction 2.6 (f) of the Financial Management Act 1994.

The objective of this audit is to determine the extent of agency response to, and monitoring of, VAGO performance audit recommendations. The audit will examine whether:

The report is expected to be tabled in February 2015.

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