External scrutiny

External audit

During 2016–17, the ANAO reported on two portfolio-specific performance audits being the Indigenous Advancement Strategy and Effectiveness of the Governance of the Northern Land Council. These reports were tabled on 3 February 2017 and 20 June 2017, respectively.

The Department was involved in three multi-portfolio performance audits being Controls over Credit Card Use, Design and Monitoring of the Rural Research and Development for Profit Programme and Corporate Planning in the Australian Public Sector. Final reports were tabled on 31 August 2016, 20 September 2016 and 1 June 2017, respectively.

The ANAO commenced an audit in November 2016 to assess the design process and monitoring arrangements for the National Innovation and Science Agenda. The audit is continuing and the report is due to be tabled in September 2017. An audit is also under way to assess the effectiveness of the transition of the Remote Jobs and Communities Program to the Community Development Program. That report is due to be tabled in September 2017.

Judicial decisions and other external scrutiny

In Minister for Indigenous Affairs & Anor v MJD Foundation Limited [2017] FCAFC 37, the Full Federal Court dismissed the Minister's appeal from the judgment in MJD Foundation Limited v Minister for Indigenous Affairs [2015] FCA 1172. The Full Federal Court dismissed the appeal on the basis that the minister had no power under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Lands Right Act) to revoke a direction under subsection 64(4) for the payment of funds from the Aboriginals Benefit Account.

In response to the judgment of the Full Federal Court, the Department has updated how it supports the making of a direction under subsection 64(4) of the Lands Right Act for payment of funds from the Aboriginal Benefits Account, and revised its processes for administering payments made as a result of a direction.

The Department was not the subject of any other judicial decisions, or decisions of administrative tribunals or the Australian Information Commissioner during the reporting period that have had, or may have, a significant effect on the Department's operations.

Other external scrutiny

The Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration tabled its report on the Operation of the Administrative Arrangements Order, the effectiveness of the division and performance of responsibilities under it, and any other related matters on 23 March 2017. The Department provided a submission to the committee on 20 January 2017 and attended a public hearing on 14 March 2017. The committee made no recommendations. The Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister provided the government's response to the report on 15 June 2017.

Further information and transcripts are available on the Parliament of Australia website.

The Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee tabled a report on the Commonwealth Indigenous Advancement Strategy tendering processes in March 2016. The government responded to the report in October 2016.

Entities subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are required, under Part II of the Act, to publish information as part of the Information Publication Scheme. Information including an Agency Plan showing what information is published, is available on the Department's website.