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 Annual Report 2009-10 Performance Reports

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Chapter 5 Our performance

This chapter covers our performance in areas for which activity is measured across the Department and all programs. This includes:

  • Attorney-General’s Department Resource Statement for 2009–10 showing available resources to the Department reconciled with actual payments made (Table 1)
  • freedom of information requests
  • services provided to ministers and Parliament, and
  • small airline usage.

Chapters 6 to 8 provide detailed performance reports based on the outcomes and programs framework and performance information set out in the 2009–10 Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) and any Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (PAES).

The Department has three outcomes against which it reports, namely:

  • Outcome 1—An equitable and accessible system of federal civil justice. This outcome has two programs (see Chapter 6).
  • Outcome 2—Coordinated federal criminal justice, security and emergency management activity for a safer Australia. This outcome has two programs (see Chapter 7).
  • Outcome 3—Assisting regions to manage their own futures. This outcome has one program (see Chapter 8).

Performance reports are structured to demonstrate a clear relationship between the performance standards for each outcome and program, as set out in the PBS and PAES, and the actual results achieved for the Department in 2009–10.

Each chapter covers an outcome, providing:

  • an overview of the activities that contributed to that outcome
  • a resource summary table, and
  • separate reports on each departmental program and associated administered items.

At the program level, each performance report contains:

  • a summary of performance and key achievements contributing to the program
  • results of evaluations or reviews
  • purchaser/provider arrangements, where relevant
  • outlook for the following financial year, as at 30 June 2010, and
  • reports against the key performance indicators for the program and related administered items.

The report includes a selection of case studies that provide an insight into the people behind the Department’s key achievements.

2009–10 Resource statement

Table 1: Attorney-General’s Department resource statement, 2009–10

  Actual available appropriations for 2009–10
Payments made
Balance remaining
Departmental appropriation      
Prior year departmental appropriation 108,016
Departmental appropriation 239,834
S 31 relevant agency receipts 28,256
Total departmental appropriation 376,106 279,046 85,295
Administered expenses      
Outcome 1 381,500 373,220 8,280
Outcome 2 97,288 66,722 30,566
Outcome 3 116,510 120,654 –4,144
Payments to CAC Act bodies 10,979 10,979
Total Administered expenses 606,277 571,575 34,702
Total ordinary annual services 982,383 850,621 119,997
Administered expenses      
Specific payments to states, ACT, NT and local government      
Outcome 1
Outcome 2 7,400 4,745 2,655
Outcome 3
Total 7,400 4,745 2,655
Departmental non-operating      
Prior year departmental appropriation 27,101 25,162 1,939
Equity injections 8,374 1,335 7,039
Previous year’s outputs 2,717 2,717
Total departmental non-operating 38,192 26,497 11,695
Administered non-operating      
Prior year administered assets and liabilities 151,462 8,233 143,229
Administered assets and liabilities 24,990 24,974 16
Payments to CAC Act bodies—non-operating
Total administered non-operating 176,452 33,207 143,245
Total other services 214,644 59,704 154,940
Total available annual appropriations 1,197,027 910,325 274,937
Special appropriations limited by criteria/entitlement      
Judges’ Pensions Act 1968 s 14(b) 14,600 14,373 227
Law Officers Act 1964 s 16(13)-former Solicitors-General 450 163 287
National Handgun Buyback Act 2003 s 9 2,700 137 2,563
National Firearms Program Implementation Act 1996 75 75
Total special appropriations 17,825 14,673 3,152
Total appropriations excluding special accounts 1,214,852 924,998 278,089
Opening balance 18,499 18,499
Appropriation receipts 8,231 8,231
Appropriation receipts—other agencies
Non-appropriation receipts to special accounts 684 684
Payments made 7,025 –7,025
Closing balance 27,414 7,025 20,389
Total Resourcing and Payments 1,242,266 932,023 298,478

CAC Act = Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997

All figures are GST exclusive


1 Appropriation Bill (No 1) 2009–10 and Appropriation Bill (No 3) 2009–10.

2 Appropriation Bill (No 2) 2009–10 and Appropriation Bill (No 4) 2009–10.

Services to ministers and Parliament

Ministerial correspondence

During the reporting period, the Department processed 24,264 items of correspondence addressed to the Attorney-General or the Minister for Home Affairs; an average of approximately 93 items per day. Significantly, this reflects an increase of approximately 37 per cent from the previous financial year. The Department continued developing streamlined procedures to help process ministerial correspondence.

The most frequent topics arising in ministerial correspondence included the Ethiopian adoption program, people smuggling, classification of computer games and films, extradition of Daniel Snedden, deaths in custody, the bill of rights, capital punishment and family law.

Parliamentary questions on notice

The statistics in Table 2 are provided for Departmental Outcomes 1, 2 and 3. They do not include questions on notice assigned to, and responses prepared by, corporate areas and portfolio agencies.

Table 2: Services to ministers and Parliament, 2009–10

Outcome/Output Submissions to ministers Cabinet submissions lodged Responses provided to ministerial correspondence Responses to questions on notice Briefs* Speeches
Outcome 1—An equitable and accessible system of federal civil justice 1,084 5 5,028 14 395 64
Outcome 2—Coordinated federal criminal justice, security and emergency management activity, for a safer Australia 956 17 1,809 10 333 44
Outcome 3—Assisting regions to manage their own futures 257 0 655 0 43 1
Attorney-General’s Department total 2,297 22 7,492 24 771 109


* Approximate number of meeting briefs, possible parliamentary question and ministers’ office briefs (does not include updated briefs or briefs provided by portfolio agencies).

Small airline usage

Australian Government departments aim for a target figure of 25 per cent usage on smaller airlines. In 2009–10, the Attorney-General’s Department reached an average of 8.81 per cent. Factors influencing the choice of airline included competitive ‘B’ Class fares available on Qantas flights, the Best Fare of the Day policy, and available flight options at suitable times. Departmental employees flew with Qantas more often than Virgin during2009–10 (Figure 4). The Department will continue to develop initiatives to improve its usage of smaller airlines on the route.

Figure 4: Small airline usage between Canberra and Sydney, 2009–10

Figure 4: Small airline usage between Canberra and Sydney, 2009-10 

Freedom of information requests

During 2009–10, the Department received 67 requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (in addition to the two already on hand at 1 July 2009). Of those 69 requests, four were withdrawn, three were transferred to other agencies, 46 were processed and 16 remained on hand as at 30 June 2010.

The Department received six applications for internal review of decisions made during the reporting period, four of which were finalised and two of which were still on hand as at 30 June 2010.

During the reporting period, the Department was the respondent in three applications for review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The applicants withdrew two and the Tribunal dismissed one.

Table 3: Freedom of information: number of requests, 2009–10

  2009–10 2008–09
Number of requests carried over from previous financial year 2 21
Number of requests received 67 73
Number of requests withdrawn 4 5
Number of requests transferred to another agency 3 3
Number of requests finalised 46 77
Number of requests outstanding as at 30 June 2010 16 9
Percentage of requests dealt with in line with FOI Act deadlines 75% 65%

Franca Musolino, Celeste Moran, Anna Yang, Paul Pfitzner and Amanda Davies, Social Inclusion Division 

Franca Musolino, Celeste Moran,
Anna Yang, Paul Pfitzner and Amanda
Davies, Social Inclusion Division

Our people

Protecting and promoting human rights in Australia

ensuring respect for individuals is at the core of government decision making

In April 2010, the Attorney-General launched Australia’s Human Rights Framework, an initiative informed by the 2008–09 National Human Rights Consultation. The framework aims to ensure respect for individuals is at the core of government decision making and to provide practical information on human rights to the Australian community.

Amanda Davies, Special Adviser for the Human Rights Branch, led a small team including Franca Musolino, Celeste Moran, Paul Pfitzner and Anna Yang to develop the framework.

‘This project saw us develop options for the Government’s consideration, informed by the consultation process, to better promote and protect human rights in Australia. When the Government decided on the approach it wished to take, we developed the framework for public release,’ Amanda explained.

‘Australia’s Human Rights Framework is a package of initiatives designed to improve awareness and understanding of human rights in the community and improve the quality of law making by ensuring that the rights and responsibilities of individuals are considered when policy and legislation is being developed.’

In addition to the public consultation, all Australian Government departments were consulted. This was integral to the project, as every department has an interest in human rights, but their views and issues are different and the framework needed to represent everyone.

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