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AWI gets tick of approval from auditor with just six recommendations for improvement

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AWI chairman Jock Laurie.
Camera IconAWI chairman Jock Laurie. Credit: Australian Wool Innovation/Australian Wool Innovation

Australian Wool Innovation has passed its first audit by the Australian National Audit Office with only six recommendations for improvement, which have been accepted by the organisation.

AWI chairman Jock Laurie welcomed the report’s findings, which were handed down last week, and highlighted that AWI was “largely complying with the Statutory Funding Agreement with the Australian Government”.

In his letter of response to the draft report in May, Mr Laurie said to the Auditor-General Grant Hehir that AWI was proud of the research, development and marketing work it undertakes on behalf of Australian woolgrowers in accordance with the SFA.

“We note that the audit coincided with the implementation of new frameworks and programs to improve our performance and measurement systems,” Mr Laurie said.

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“Our sole purpose is to invest in both R&D and marketing projects which will enhance the profitability, international competitiveness and sustainability of the Australian wool industry.

“We aim to increase value, demand and market access for Australian wool through collaboration and consultation with stakeholders, investment in research, development, extension and marketing initiatives whilst collaborating and consulting with stakeholders.

Incoming AWI chairman Jock Laurie.
Camera IconIncoming AWI chairman Jock Laurie. Credit: Australian Wool Innovation/Australian Wool Innovation

It was ANAO’s first ever audit of AWI, or an industry-owned rural research and development corporation, and was carried out after the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee wrote to the Auditor-General requesting an audit be conducted on AWI in 2021.

The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit identified the topic as an audit priority of Parliament for 2022–23.

The report found that AWI was largely effective in meeting the requirements of the SFA — its management and governance arrangements are largely fit-for-purpose; it is largely effective in applying the performance principles under the SFA; and its arrangements for the management of funds are largely effective.

The six recommendations to AWI were aimed at improving board performance reviews, the development and maintenance of a balanced portfolio, measurement and reporting on improvements in administrative efficiency, arrangements to determine eligible R&D processes for preparing matching payment claims, and risk management.

AWI has agreed to implement all the recommendations.

The full ANAO report can be found at anao.gov.au/work/performance-audit/australian-wool-innovation

THE SIX RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Update policies, board performance review processes and reporting to include skills listed in the Statutory Funding Agreement
  • Develop, implement and maintain a balanced portfolio by establishing an investment portfolio and monitoring investments
  • Establish performance indicators to measure and report on improvements in admin efficiency
  • Improve arrangements for determining eligible research and development
  • Improve processes for preparing matching payment claims
  • Consistency apply the processes and requirements for project risk management

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