Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs is a policy area with a high level of Parliamentary and community interest. In particular, there is strong interest in ensuring funding provided through government programs achieves intended outcomes. The Australian Parliament and COAG rely on the monitoring and reporting arrangements led by PM&C and the Productivity Commission to understand the level of progress that is being made towards achieving the Closing the Gap targets.
The audit was undertaken to provide assurance that the Closing the Gap framework is appropriately governed, and that monitoring and reporting arrangements are being managed effectively and draw on accurate and appropriate data. It also sought to provide assurance that PM&C has maintained an appropriate leadership role in managing the framework and ensuring Australian Government programs contribute to Closing the Gap objectives. As the audit was undertaken at an early stage of the Closing the Gap Refresh process, its findings can inform the development of new implementation and monitoring arrangements for the refreshed framework.
The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of arrangements for monitoring, evaluating and reporting progress towards Closing the Gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage.
To form a conclusion against the audit objective, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) adopted the following high level criteria:
Have appropriate governance arrangements for implementing and monitoring the Closing the Gap framework been maintained?
Have appropriate processes been established for reporting progress towards the Closing the Gap targets?
Have effective processes been established to monitor and evaluate the impact of Australian Government programs on Closing the Gap?