|Auditor-General of New South Wales|
|Appointer||The Governor of New South Wales|
|Term length||Appointed for a term of 8 years, and is ineligible for reappointment|
The Auditor-General is responsible for audits of NSW Government agencies, universities, and NSW local government, and also provides certain assurance services for Commonwealth grants and payments to the State under Commonwealth legislation. The Auditor-General is the head of the Audit Office of New South Wales (AONSW), a statutory authority established under the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 to conduct audits for the Auditor-General.
The Auditor-General is independent of the Government, and is accountable to the Parliament of New South Wales and regularly reports on the audits. Parliament promotes independence by ensuring the Auditor-General and AONSW are not compromised in their roles by:
The vision of the Audit Office of New South Wales is Our insights inform and challenge government to improve outcomes for citizens. AONSW is headquartered in the Darling Park office precinct in the Sydney central business district, and is a short walk from Town Hall station.
AONSW comprises four branches:
The Financial Audit and Performance Audit branches conduct financial and performance audits, principally under the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 and the Corporations Act 2001, and examines allegations of serious and substantial waste of public money under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994. In 2016, the Local Government Act 1993 expanded the Auditor-General's mandate to include financial and performance auditing of NSW local government.
In 2016-17, AONSW completed 426 financial audits of NSW Government agencies and NSW universities, as well as seventeen performance audits. In 2017-18, this increased to 550 financial audits of NSW Government agencies, NSW universities and NSW local councils, and nineteen performance audits, as a result of the mandate to audit NSW local government. The full list of the financial audits and performance audits are included in Appendix Two and Appendix Five of the 2017-18 Annual Report.
Some of the key NSW agencies audited include:
AONSW offers a graduate program for tertiary accounting graduates within the Financial Audit branch. AONSW supports graduates with a range of training and mentoring opportunities, commencing with a two-week induction program, and ongoing structured training throughout the course of the program. Along with other employees, graduates also receive opportunities to participate in secondment opportunities to other branches within the organisation, NSW public sector agencies, or to a Big Four accounting firm.
The Office of the Auditor-General is responsible for audit quality and compliance with Australian Auditing Standards, and incorporates the Professional Service Branch responsible for governance matters and disclosures. It has developed a corporate governance model for the NSW public sector, the Governance Lighthouse, reflecting the eight core Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Corporate Governance Principles across seventeen major points of good governance. The Governance Lighthouse provides practical advice and resources on implementing successful governance in the public sector.
Corporate Services supports the service delivery branches of AONSW and comprises back-office functions including:
The Auditor-General and the Audit Office of New South Wales work closely with Legislative Assembly Public Accounts Committee. The committee was first established in 1902 to scrutinise the actions of the executive branch of government on behalf of the Legislative Assembly.
The Public Accounts Committee has responsibilities under Part 4 of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 to inquire into and report on activities of government that are reported in the Total State Sector Accounts and the accounts of the State's authorities. A key part of committee activity is following up aspects of the Auditor-General's Reports to Parliament. The committee may also receive referrals from ministers, the Legislative Assembly and the Auditor-General to undertake inquiries. The committee may also recommend improvements to the efficiency and effectiveness of government activities.
For more than 185 years, the Audit Office of New South Wales has been assisting the Parliament of New South Wales hold government accountable for its use of public resources. This is done by reporting directly to Parliament on audits of government financial reports and performance.
The following individuals have served as Auditors-General of New South Wales.
|Order||Auditor-General||Term start||Term end||Time in office|
|1||William Lithgow||8 November 1824||30 April 1852||27 years, 174 days|
|2||Francis Merewether||1852||1856||3–4 years|
|3||George Nichols||1856||1856||0 years|
|4||Terence Aubrey Murray||1856||1856||0 years|
|5||William Mayne||1856||1864||7–8 years|
|6||Christopher Rolleston||1864||1883||18–19 years|
|7||Edward Rennie||1883||1903||19–20 years|
|Auditor-General's independence from parliament and government established in 1902|
|8||John Vernon||1903||1915||11–12 years|
|9||Frederick Coglan||1915||1928||12–13 years|
|10||John Spence||1928||1942||13–14 years|
|11||Edmund Swift||1942||1949||6–7 years|
|12||William Campbell||1950||1963||12–13 years|
|13||William Mathieson||1963||1967||3–4 years|
|14||Victor Cohen||1967||1968||0–1 years|
|15||Daniel Fairlie||1968||1977||8–9 years|
|16||William Henry||1977||1980||2–3 years|
|17||Jack O'Donnell||1980||1985||4–5 years|
|18||Kenneth Robson||1985||1992||6–7 years|
|19||Anthony Harris||1992||1999||6–7 years|
|20||Robert Sendt||1999||2006||6–7 years|
|21||Peter Achterstraat||2006||2013||6–7 years|
|22||Grant Hehir||2013||2015||1–2 years|
|23||Margaret Crawford||2016||current||3–4 years|
Margaret Crawford commenced as the Auditor-General of New South Wales in April 2016.
Margaret has over 20 years of experience as a senior executive across many large, complex public sector organisations - local, State and the Commonwealth governments - including the Victorian Department of Human Services, the Australian Taxation Office, the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority and Australia's largest local government, Brisbane City Council. Most recently, before joining the Audit Office, she held the position of Deputy Secretary at the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.
Margaret has worked across a diverse range of sectors, including housing and homelessness, community and disability services, road transport policy and regulation, taxation administration and gaming regulation.