The Western Australian (WA) State Government is committed to creating a strong, diverse and resilient economy. A strong economy drives job creation across a wide range of industries and a more dynamic economic profile. Achieving these objectives will require sustained investment promotion activity overseas as well as nationally, and investment facilitation that converts potential into actual investment.
Critical to supporting this objective is the work undertaken through the eight overseas trade and investment offices managed by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI).
The offices were consolidated under the management of JTSI in July 2017 as part of broader machinery of government changes across the WA public sector. Having brought these overseas offices together for the first time, it has become clear that there are substantially different practices between each office and there are likely opportunities to raise standards and outcomes, and share positive learning, all the while acknowledging the influence of local business conditions in each location.
To leverage these opportunities the Director General, Rebecca Brown, has commissioned an independent review and audit of the overseas trade and investment offices.
The review will consider the effectiveness and efficiency of current arrangements in delivering on the State Government’s objectives and operating within the broader legislative framework of the WA public sector.
It is anticipated that the review will make practical recommendations to ensure that the eight overseas trade and investment offices undertake their functions efficiently and effectively, with integrity and due regard for government policies and priorities and the public interest. The review terms of reference are available here.
The review panel will be led by an eminent public administrator, Helen Williams AC. Appointed the Secretary of the Department of Education and Youth Affairs in 1985, Ms Williams was the first woman to lead a Commonwealth department. She went on to lead the departments of Human Services, Communications, Tourism and Immigration, and the public service commission. She will be supported by two esteemed panel members: Jane Madden, a former Deputy Secretary of Austrade and long term DFAT officer with a significant number of senior in-country roles; and Geoff Leeper PSM, a long standing Commonwealth public servant with 25 years in senior executive roles, 14 of those as a Deputy Secretary/CEO, leading program, corporate and operational delivery roles. The review panel will be supported by a secretariat in JTSI and report to the Director General.
The first meeting of the panel will be held on 13 March 2019.
The review is expected to take six months.
KPMG have been awarded a contract to deliver the audit program, which will be completed within six months. The audit program will assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the internal controls, and the compliance of each office with legislation, policy and good practice in selected areas. Each audit will include: an expense audit, covering the last six years; a review of existing controls to prevent and detect fraudulent transactions; and an audit of remuneration, entitlements and travel of all Commissioners and Agent Generals over the last ten years.