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Legislative framework and external scrutiny

This section outlines the legislative framework and external scrutiny mechanisms under which Austrade operates.

Austrade operates under the following legislation:

  • Australian Trade and Investment Commission Act 1985—defines the functions, duties and powers of the CEO and the Commission
  • Export Market Development Grants Act 1997—provides for the Export Market Development Grants scheme, the Government’s principal export market assistance program, which is administered by Austrade
  • Public Service Act 1999—governs the establishment and operation of, and employment in, the Australian Public Service
  • Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013—provides the framework for the proper management of public money and property.

Independent audits

Austrade was the subject of one cross-entity Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) performance audit report, tabled in Parliament during 2017–18, titled Implementation of the Annual Performance Statements Requirements 2016–17.

ANAO better practice guidelines encourage agencies to consider relevant ANAO reports on other agencies to improve public administration across Australian Government agencies. During 2017–18, Austrade reviewed 49 ANAO reports (7 from 2016–17; 42 from 2017–18) tabled in Parliament by the Auditor-General and assessed the following 22 reports as relevant to Austrade’s operations:

  • Replacement Antarctic Vessel (2016–17 audit report no. 45)
  • Implementation of the Annual Performance Statements Requirements 2015–16 (2016–17 audit report no. 58)
  • myGov Digital Services (2016–17 audit report no. 59)
  • Procurement of the National Cancer Screening Register (2016–17 audit report no. 61)
  • Protecting Australia’s Missions and Staff Overseas: Follow-on (2017–18 audit report no. 5)
  • The Management of Risk by Public Sector Entities (2017–18 audit report no. 6)
  • Efficiency of the Australia Council’s Administration of Grants (2017–18 audit no. 7)
  • Administration of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (2017–18 audit report no. 8)
  • Management of the Pre-construction Phase of the Inland Rail Programme (2017–18 audit report no. 9)
  • Design and Monitoring of the National Innovation and Sciene Agenda (2017–18 audit report no. 10)
  • Costs and Benefits of the Reinventing the ATO Program (2017–18 audit report no. 15)
  • Australian Government Procurement Contract Reporting (2017–18 audit report no. 19)
  • Low Emissions Technologies for Fossil Fuels (2017–18 audit report no. 20)
  • Delivery of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal (2017–18 audit report no. 23)
  • Audits of the Financial Statements of Australian Government Entities for the Period Ended 30 June 2017 (2017–18 audit report no. 24)
  • Australian Electoral Commission’s Procurement of Services for the Conduct of the 2016 Federal Election (2017–18 audit report no. 25)
  • Defence’s Procurement of Fuels, Petroleum, Oils, Lubricants, and Card Services (2017–18 audit report no. 28)
  • Unscheduled Taxation System Outages (2017–18 audit report no. 29)
  • Implementation of the Annual Performance Statements Requirements 2016–17 (2017–18 audit report no. 33)
  • Management of Special Appropriations (2017–18 audit report no. 35)
  • Mitigating Insider Threats through Personnel Security (2017–18 audit report no. 38)
  • Efficiency through Contestability Programme (2017–18 audit report no. 41).

Judicial decisions, and decisions of administrative tribunals and the Australian Information Commissioner

During the reporting period, there were no judicial decisions or reviews by outside bodies that had a significant impact on the operations of Austrade.

Details of appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal under the Export Market Development Grants Act 1997 are shown on page 79.

Austrade was subject to one review by the Information Commissioner. This review is ongoing and not yet finalised.


Austrade did not receive any complaints under the Privacy Act 1988 during 2017–18.

Austrade considered the requirements under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As part of Austrade’s responsibilities in raising privacy awareness, information was provided to all staff in relation to the GDPR, as well as guidance to staff in responding to queries from Austrade clients about the GDPR.

Austrade was a supporter for the Privacy Awareness Week 2018. Activities to mark the week included an all-staff communication to remind them of their privacy obligations; informing staff of privacy changes taking place in 2018; and highlighting to staff some of the privacy breaches by other entities that were reported in the media, and emphasising the need to be vigilant in handling personal information.

Austrade is preparing for the Australian Government Agencies Privacy Code, commencing on 1 July 2018. Austrade has already appointed a Privacy Officer and Privacy Champion.

Freedom of information

Agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme. This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act, which has replaced the formal requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report. Austrade meets its obligations under the FOI Act by displaying on its website,, a plan showing what information is published in accordance with the requirements of the Information Publication Scheme.

Austrade participated in the Information Publication Scheme agency survey administered by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

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