Digital Annual Reporting Tool - Frequently asked questions

Annual Report Process

Has the date for providing the annual report to the responsible Minister changed?

No. For the 2020–21 reporting period the requirement in section 46 of the PGPA Act is to provide your entity’s annual report to the responsible Minister by 15 October 2021. A process to seek an extension for the provision of an annual report to the responsible Minister is set out under section 34C of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

When is the tabling date for annual reports?

In line with previous Tabling Circulars it is expected that annual reports will be tabled prior to the Estimates hearing in October. This ensures annual reports are available for scrutiny by the relevant Senate standing committee.

Is the use of the DART to publish annual reports to the Transparency Portal mandatory?

Yes. Under the PGPA Rule the use of the Digital Annual Reporting Tool (the DART) is mandatory for publishing the annual report to the Transparency Portal, as soon as practicable after the annual report has been tabled in the Parliament.

Are hard copies of the 2020-21 Annual Report required?

Yes. Hard copy documents are required for tabling purposes, as detailed by the Tabling Guidelines. If you have questions on the tabling process please contact Tabled documents are also required to be consistent with the Printing standards.

Are there any new requirements for the 2020–21 annual report?

Yes. The following 3 areas are new or revised requirements for the 2020-21 reporting cycle:

  1. Contract expenditure reporting: NCEs have new requirements for any contract published on AusTender. Guidance material and associated data templates have been updated accordingly. See Consultancy and Non-Consultancy Contract Expenditure Reporting.
  2. Other Highly Paid Staff (OHPS) reporting (NCEs and CCEs only): The first banding for OHPS (not remuneration for senior executives) has been indexed to start at $230,000. This change is reflected in the associated data template.
  3. Audit committee reporting (NCEs, CCEs and companies): An "Additional information" column has been added to the data template. See Audit Committee.

For further information please refer to the Contract Expenditure Reporting section below.

How does the DART work?

The DART is a collaborative online authoring and content management tool, used by all entities to produce content in a Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML) format to publish to the Transparency Portal.

The DART is not (and does not replace):

  • a Financial Management Information System;
  • a Human Resource Management System;
  • an information or records management tool;
  • a graphic design or typesetting tool; nor
  • an infographic creation tool.
How can my entity use the DART? What is the benefit of going Digital First?

When developing your annual report, a Digital First approach can help your entity to draw on the full functionality of the DART. A Digital First approach involves the use of the tool for all drafting, work flowing, and approvals for the complete annual report.  The DART is able to export the completed report to a Word format for printing and tabling purposes, as well as to the Transparency Portal in a HTML format.

The Digital First approach can also be used to help your entity meet many of the mandatory PGPA requirements. There are a range financial and non-financial data templates within the DART that contain all of the mandatory requirements as outlined in the relevant RMG. This can be completed in the templates, and then copied and pasted to the relevant section of your report.

Using a Digital First approach also ensures that your publication is compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which is a mandatory requirement for all Australian government entities publishing content to government websites.

The Word version of the report can be exported from the DART and be printed on A4 or B5 sized paper, in line with the printing requirements for tabling. This approach is intended to provide entities with an ability to reduce the process effort involved to generate the report and to enable other efficiencies, depending on your in house arrangements, in relation to printing, graphic design and typesetting.

After tabling has occurred, do I need to publish the annual report to our entity’s website as well as to the Transparency Portal?

It is mandatory to publish your annual report to the Transparency Portal. A Commonwealth entity/company may choose to publish its annual report to its entity/company website, as per the Tabling Guidelines.

Entities are encouraged to link from their entity website to their publication on the Transparency Portal.

Is it mandatory to use the DART to publish the corporate plan?

No. Entities are not required to use the DART to publish their corporate plan. The requirement under the PGPA Rule is to publish the corporate plan to the entity’s website and this has not changed for the 2021-22 corporate plan. A link to the entity’s corporate plan is contained on the Transparency Portal publications page.

What is the end-to-end annual report Process?

Please see the below image for the end-to-end annual report Proces

An image of the end-to-end Annual report Process can be found here.

Publishing online

What is the process to publish an annual report using the DART to

Publication of your annual report to the Transparency Portal is the responsibility of each entity. The annual report is to be published using the DART after it has been tabled in the Parliament in line with the PGPA Rule.

Once the printed copy is tabled, each entity will need to use the “Publish to Transparency Portal” function from the “export” menu within the DART. This functionality publishes the digital report to the Transparency Portal in HTML.

The “Preview on the Transparency Portal” feature is available within the DART so that you are able to view the digital annual report prior to it being published onto

Do I need to provide alternative text for all images, diagrams and infographics included in a digital annual report?

Yes. Australian government entities are required to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) Level AA. This is also required under the Australian Government Digital Service Standard.

By correctly using the DART, your entity will be producing a digital annual report that complies with WCAG 2.0 to make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision.

To produce WCAG 2.0 compliant annual report, all images must have alternative text to describe the information or function of the image. Alternative text appears to the user when images are disabled or fail to load, or when screen reader or text-to-speech software is used.

If you include images, the same text presented in the image must be included as alternative text.

This includes:

·       images of letters or documents

·       photographs of handwritten documents

·       images of signatures

·       graphs and charts, including flow charts and organizational charts

·       diagrams and illustrations where the page text relies on the user being able to understand the image

·       maps

Can my entity’s annual report branding and graphic design imagery be included in the digital annual report?

Yes, the DART can incorporate an entity’s desired image for a front cover, a banner and font to aid with your individual branding. The details for these inclusions are below.

Organisation crest

Appears in the top left corner, on every page of the digital annual report

  • Max. file size: 1Mb 
  • Supported file types: .jpg .png .gif 

Document cover page image 

  • Dimensions: 526 x 760 pixels 
  • Max. file size: 1Mb 
  • Supported file types: .jpg .png .gif 

An example is provided here.

Banner image 

Appears at the top of the page, on every page of the digital annual report

  • Dimensions: 1140 x 288 pixels 
  • Max. file size: 1Mb 
  • Supported file types: .jpg .png .gif 

An example is provided here.


The available fonts from the type kit can be previewed on Google Fonts;  

Does the digital version of the annual report need to be identical to the hardcopy?

In accordance with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's Tabling Circular No.1 2021, while the core content and information of the digital version needs to be identical to the hardcopy of the annual report, there are some elements that may not be applicable. This includes, but is not limited to, the contents page, index page and page numbers.

Minor/non-structural edits that better align the report with a digital approach are possible, for example this could be where a reference to a page number is changed to allow for a cross-reference to be inserted. Hyperlinks to governing legislation, important Acts, and other relevant online information should be inserted at least once, at their first mention.

Is an index or table of contents required for my entity's digital annual report on Transparency Portal? 

There is no need to add an index into the DART, as the Search feature in the Transparency Portal performs the same function. Similarly, there is no need to add a table of contents into the DART, as one is automatically generated when you publish to the Transparency Portal, based off the heading structure of the document in the DART.

If your entity has chosen to remove the index and table of contents from the digital annual report, we suggest you enter “N/A” in the List of Requirements for the “Part of Report” references for these elements.

If your entity still wishes to include an index and/or table of contents in the digital annual report, we suggest you include cross-references to the relevant parts of the report, rather than page numbers. 

Audit Committee

Are there any new requirements for the 2020–21 annual report?

No. The reporting requirements for 2020-21 for the disclosure of audit committee information will remain the same as those reporting requirements for 2019-20. Additional membership changes will come into effect from July 2021. This will mean new reporting requirements for the 2021-22 annual report. For further guidance please see the audit committee webpage and RMG 202: Audit committees. Further information regarding disclosure reporting requirements for Audit Committees can be found here.

Do I need to report the audit committee information together in the annual report? 

Yes, entities are encouraged to report all the information required by the PGPA Rule together in one section in the annual report. This includes how much audit committee members are remunerated for being on the audit committee. While entities can include the remuneration figures elsewhere in the annual report (e.g. under remuneration for key management personnel), entities should ensure the figure is also reported with the audit committee information. This makes it easier for the information to be found and to confirm that all requirements have been met.

How do I report information of my audit committee members who served only part of the reporting cycle?

Reporting the number of meetings attended by audit committee members should be done consistent with the requirements in the annual report (i.e. number of meetings attended/total number of meetings conducted during the reporting period). Where audit committee members attended a reduced number of meetings because they served for part of the reporting cycle, this should be explained in a footnote to the table, with corresponding markers linking the note to the specific information in the table.

When reporting the number of meetings attended by audit committee members, this should only be in reference to the meetings attended in their capacity as an audit committee member (i.e. not the governing board or other committee meetings the audit committee member may also be attending in the reporting period).

Do I report audit committee members’ remuneration GST included?

Yes. The figure provided for the remuneration of audit committee members should be GST inclusive.

How much of the qualification, knowledge, skills or experience of my audit committee members do I need to report?

Entities should provide biographical information relevant to the audit committee member’s position/area of expertise that they have accumulated and bring to their role as an audit committee member. Although a specific level of detail is not prescribed, it is expected that samples of the qualifications, knowledge, skills or experience would be included to demonstrate how each audit committee member contributes to the 4 legislative functions of the audit committee (and any additional functions prescribed by the accountable authority in the audit committee charter). The intention of this requirement is to allow each entity to present that their audit committee, as a whole, has the appropriate qualifications, knowledge, skills or experience to deliver the audit committee functions.

How do I report the remuneration for the audit committee member if they also serve in another position in the entity?

For the purposes of audit committee remuneration disclosure in s17AG(2A), only the remuneration that members receive for being on the audit committee should be reported. The total remuneration of each of those members is defined by section 4 of the PGPA Rule to mean the sum of the following (calculated on an accrual basis):

  • base salary
  • bonuses
  • other benefits and allowances
  • superannuation contributions (made by the employer)
  • long service leave
  • other long‑term benefits
  • termination benefits

Total remuneration for this purpose excludes any amounts received for other roles performed. For example, where members are also remunerated for being on the board, only the amount received for being on the audit committee should be reported in this section. Entities should not report the total amount received by the member for all duties performed. Where members are not remunerated, a $0 figure should be reported.

Elsewhere in the Annual report where the total remuneration of Key Management Personnel (KMP) is disclosed, this figure includes remuneration for other roles and being on the audit committee.

Entities are encouraged to use cross-referencing to explain the components of total remuneration, including where individuals are also remunerated for audit committee membership. Entities can also explain that the audit committee component is separately disclosed in the audit committee remuneration section.

Are there different reporting requirements for internal and external audit members?

 No. The PGPA Rule does not differentiate between internal and external members, and all audit committee members information needs to be reported.

Do I still need to report if my audit committee has a different name?

Yes. The name your accountable authority chose for its audit committee does not change its statutory functions, membership requirements nor the entity’s reporting obligations in relation to its audit committee. This means the recent changes to the PGPA Rule including s17(4), s17AG(2A) and s17BE(taa) will apply.

You may need to review this information with your corporate/legal area, and review your audit and risk committee charter to verify it has the statutory functions required by the PGPA Act and Rule, and if so, treat it as the audit committee for the membership requirements in s17(4) and the reporting purposes of PGPA Rule s17AG and s17BE(taa).

How do I report if my entity was subject to a MoG change?

Audit committee disclosures need to cover the full reporting period, consistent with other disclosures in the annual report. The gaining entity has an obligation to report the audit committee disclosure requirements for the full reporting period, and is responsible for obtaining information from the merged or abolished entity related to their audit committee conduct. Where necessary, notes should be used to explain details in relation to a Machinery of Government (MoG) change.

Consultancy and Non-Consultancy Contract Expenditure Reporting

What are the new consultancy and non-consultancy contracts reporting requirements?

From the 2020-21 reporting period, the PGPA Rule (s17AG (7) and (7A) and s17AGA) requires that non-corporate Commonwealth entities include in their annual report the following information related to their expenditure on consultancy and non-consultancy contracts:

  • the number of and expenditure on, new and ongoing reportable consultancy and non consultancy contracts.
  • additional information about organisations receiving amounts under reportable consultancy contracts or reportable non consultancy contracts.
  • the organisations reported are the top 5 recipients of expenditure and those who received 5% or more of an entity’s total expenditure on each category of contract.

The DART contains a data template for consultancy and non-consultancy contract expenditure reporting to meet the reporting requirements. Please see the guidance on the Finance webpage and below for further information. If you have any further questions, please send them through to

If one of my contracts is reported to end on AusTender in June 2020, but I am still making payments in July 2020, do I need to report the payment made in the 2020-21 annual report?

Yes, you need to report the payment as part of an ongoing contract for the 2020-21 annual report. For the purposes of the reporting requirements, “ongoing” is defined as contracts that have activity during the reporting period. Activity includes payments being made by one or more of the parties to the contract in fulfilment of their obligations. Where a contract has an end date on AusTender in the previous reporting period, but payments are still being made in the current reporting period, the contract is still ongoing and should be reported as such.

Data Templates - General 

 Do we need to complete the data templates?

Yes. Completing the data templates within the DART is mandatory. The data templates have been designed to capture the mandatory requirements of the PGPA Rule.

The data templates that cover the reporting requirements relevant to each entity are included in the Data Templates chapter of the DART. The data templates are also available in the relevant Resource Management Guides (RMG 135, 136, 137). We encourage entities to be familiar with the templates in the corresponding RMG prior to drafting your annual report.

How are the data templates used in the Digital Annual Reporting Tool?

A key piece of functionality of the Transparency Portal is the ability to compare data within annual reports: across years, across entities and more powerfully across both. This functionality can be found in the ‘Find data’ and ‘Financial ratios’ functions. The information contained within the data templates is used to populate these functions of the Transparency Portal. This occurs once the data templates are completed, and the digital annual report is published to the Portal.

The Data Templates chapter located in the DART does not publish to the digital publication on the Transparency Portal and is disabled from the preview function.  

How should the data templates within the DART be completed?

All data templates will be preloaded under the Data Templates chapter for your entity and will need to be completed within the DART.

The non-financial data templates can be used in the body of your annual report content, to minimise any duplication of effort or the likelihood of errors. The data templates are different for each entity type (corporate, non-corporate and companies) and have been designed to capture the required information for annual reporting.

For the financial date templates, please see the answers below in the Financial Statements chapter.

Do the data templates need to be included in both versions (the hard copy and the digital version) of the annual report? 

The content of the hard copy annual report needs to be the same as the digital version published onto

When the data templates are completed there may be times that the templates may not present appropriately for publication within the body of the report - such as a table with all zeros. Where this is the case, the content within your report can be displayed differently from the template.

However, the information reported has to be the same. For example, a statement in the annual report may detail that there is no performance pay for the entity. The data template for performance pay within the DART data templates chapter must be completed with zeros. This is necessary to ensure a consistent and accurate whole-of-government data set of the reported information.

Can my entity provide further information beyond that required in the data templates as required by the PGPA Rule? 

Yes. Your entity may provide further information beyond the requirements of the PGPA Rule. If the data templates are completed and copied into the body of the annual report additional rows and columns can be added to provide further information, such as more granular information on the location of employees (NSW can be further broken down into cities and towns, if desired for example).

How should I complete a mandatory data template (or a row or column within them) if it does not apply to my entity?

Entities are not able to delete the data templates contained in the DART, or rows or columns within them, as the templates reflect the mandatory data requirements and have been set up to ensure the reporting of a complete Commonwealth data set. Data templates, or rows or columns within them, which do not apply to your entity must be populated with “0” in each cell.

The cross-reference for a non-applicable data template should link to whichever chapter would most likely contain that data, if it were applicable. For example, if your entity does not have administered funding, the administered financial data templates should link to the Financial Statements chapter in your entity’s annual report. This cross-referencing, which drives the ‘View original’ button in the ‘Find Data’ tool in the Transparency Portal, provides assurance to users that there is no data as it was not in the annual report itself.

Does the DART contain templates for the presentation of the annual performance statements?

No. There are no specific templates for the presentation of the annual performance statements in the DART.

How should I display negative amounts in the financial data templates?

Entities are required to complete the financial data templates with information/figures consistent with their audited annual financial statements. If the required figure in the data template corresponds to a negative number in the financial statements, please insert the negative number in the data templates.

Please note, if a negative number is displayed in brackets in the financial statements, you are required to remove the brackets and present the negative number in the data template using the minus symbol instead, i.e. change (1,234) to -1,234.

How should I display null values in the data templates?

Where a particular line item has a zero (0) value for your entity, these are to be reported as a “0” in the data templates. Cells are not to be left blank, have N/A written or contain the - symbol. This is to ensure consistency of the information across all Commonwealth entities.

Human Resources Statistics Data Tables

What human resources information must be reported? 

All Commonwealth entities and companies are required to report human resource information for the current and previous year reporting periods in relation to each of the following:

  • Full-time employees, as identified by your entity’s employment arrangements. As a guide, the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website provides general employment definitions available at
  • Part-time employees as identified by your entity’s employment arrangements.
  • Gender, as defined under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, and in line with the recommendations made in the Attorney General’s Department’s Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender (2013).
  • Location, based on the State or Territory of employment.

All human resources statistics are to be calculated and reported on an actual head count basis as at the end of each reporting period. In addition, non-corporate Commonwealth entities that engage employees under the Public Service Act 1999 (PS Act) are required to report additional human resource information.

The RMGs and the DART contain the data templates for the reporting of human resource information relevant to your entity.

Does my entity use the APS employee templates if we do not engage employees under the Public Service Act 1999?

No. The requirement under paragraph 17AG(4)(b) of the PGPA Rule requires the annual report to include statistics on the number of APS employees. This applies to departments and executive agencies, and to prescribed agencies staffed under the PS Act.

What is the difference between an employee and an APS employee?

The term employee has its ordinary common law meaning. As a guide the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website provides a definition for an employee as a “person that’s hired to provide a service to a company either on a full-time, part-time or casual basis in exchange for payment. Other known terms: staff and worker”. This can be found on the Fair Work Ombudsman's website in their dictionary.  

The term APS employees applies to departments and executive agencies, and to prescribed agencies staffed under the PS Act 1999. For further information see RMG 135.  

How does my entity report employees who are absent from the workplace, on secondment, maternity or long service leave or are inoperative?

Employees who are on secondment, maternity, or long service leave are still employees of the entity and are to be accounted for in the data templates. Employees on leave without pay, or other inoperative employees should be reported in the same manner as any other employee on any other type of leave.

Financial Statements 

Does my entity use the DART to prepare the financial statements?

No. The DART is not a Financial Management Information System. Entities should undertake their normal process to prepare the financial statements in line with the existing reporting requirements for financial statements.

Once completed the financial statements can be transferred into the Tool (copying and pasting from Microsoft word or excel). The Tool facilitates the digital HTML publication of the annual report (including the financial statements) onto the Transparency Portal.

Does the DART contain templates for the presentation of the financial statements?

No. The DART does not contain templates that prescribe the presentation of the financial statements. Financial statements need to be presented in your digital annual report in the exact same manner as your audited financial statements.

Your complete financial statements and accompanying notes will need to be copied directly into the DART from word or excel.

There are related data templates in the tool that require a subset of financial statement information to be entered, as published in the financial statements. These templates do not replace the existing reporting requirements for financial statements available in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Financial Reporting) Rule 2015 and RMG 125 Commonwealth Entities Financial Statement Guide. These resources are available here

Why can I not add rows to the financial data templates to capture all of the data from the financial statements?

The financial data templates collect a subset of information from entity’s financial statements, rather than each and every row. This is because the information entered in the data templates enables cross-entity comparisons in the ‘Find data’ and ‘Financial ratios’ functions of the Transparency Portal, and only certain financial data is required for this. 

The data templates chapter located in the DART does not publish to the Transparency Portal and is disabled from the preview function. If a user wishes to see the full financial statements, they will be able to access them in the body of the annual report published to the Transparency Portal.  

What is required when reproducing the Independent Auditor’s Report within the DART?

When inserting the Independent Auditor’s Report within the DART, each page of the Report must be inserted as an image. To maintain WCAG compliance, you must also ensure the content of the Report is fully copied into the alternative text field and ensure each image within the Report (i.e. logos and signatures) is adequately explained in the alternative text.

How do I complete the Regulatory Charging Summary Note table?

The Regulatory Charging Note Summary Table draws from information that is provided in the Regulatory Charging Financial Statement Note. The note is completed in accordance with section 34A of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Financial Reporting) Rule 2015 with guidance provided in RMG 125 Commonwealth entities financial statements guide. Entities are to report in the DART the aggregated totals of departmental and administered expenses and revenue that relate to regulatory charging (cost recovery) activities. For further information about what is a regulatory charging activity please see RMG 302 The Australian Government Charging Framework.


Can additional columns and information be included in the list of requirements if there is specific legislation that applies to my entity?

Yes. If there are additional specific legislative requirements that apply under enabling legislation or other legislation, entities are able to add additional rows to the compliance index, after copying the List of Requirements table from the data templates chapter into the body of the annual report.

Please do not add rows to the List of Requirements table in the data templates chapter.

How will corrections to annual report information (from a corrigendum or a correction to a previous reporting period) occur?

Instructions for requesting a correction to annual report content that has been published to the Transparency Portal are found in the form: Correction to annual report content on the Transparency Portal - Procedure, available on the DART GovTeams page.

For queries regarding corrections to the tabled copy of an annual report, entities must refer to the process outlined in the Tabling Guidelines.

My entity uses Microsoft TEAMs internally, but I’m having trouble accessing GovTEAMs notifications.  Each time I click on the link it loads in my internal version of MS TEAMs and the comment cannot be found?

This issue is due to MS TEAMs and GovTEAMs not being able to “communicate” to each other. Microsoft does not currently offer a simple way to switch between tenancies of Office 365 on the same machine. As such, where an entity uses MS TEAMs within their work environment, the default for any link clicked will go to their internal tenancy. Because the external tenancy rather than the internal tenancy has the information, the error message will appear.

Entities may need to work with their IT area/team to have the ability to access GovTEAMs. One solution is to have your IT area/team set up a specific web browser that accesses GovTEAMs, where you log in and use the web version of TEAMs in order to access the chat function. A second solution is to log out of your internal credentials and enter into MS TEAMs your GovTEAMs login credentials. MS TEAMs then accesses the information on the external (GovTEAMs) tenancy.

Do I need access to the Digital Annual Reporting GovTEAMs community in order to complete my entity’s annual report?

GovTEAMs is not essential for report development. However the DART team use GovTEAMs to not only communicate out messaging but also to store important information for users, such as this Frequently Asked Questions document.

Additionally, the DART team has fostered a Community of Practice channel where entities can ask “how to” or process related questions and seek responses from their peers. The channel also enables entities to share knowledge, such as the case studies that highlight instances of better practice.

Did you find this content useful?