An annual report is a document prepared each year by the accountable authority of a Commonwealth entity.
Annual report principles
When corporate Commonwealth entities are preparing an annual report, they should consider the following principles. An annual report should:
Be written in plain English and provide sufficient information and analysis for the Parliament to make a fully informed judgment on the entity’s performance.
Align with the overall Commonwealth resource management framework, Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule) and the Commonwealth performance framework.
Show the relationship between the reporting requirements within government (including corporate plans, Portfolio Budget Statements and other portfolio statements accompanying any other additional appropriation bills), and between the government and non‑government sectors.
Accountable authorities have discretion as to the extent of information to include in annual reports and the sequence in which it is presented. The requirements for information set out in the PGPA Rule must be met.
Other legislative requirements
The operations that an entity reports on in its annual report can be affected by other legislation or legislative instruments. Such legislation can either be general in nature or specific enabling legislation of the entity.
Information required by other Acts or instruments to be included in the annual report must be included in one or more appendices to the report.
Below provides an overview of the other legislative requirements applicable to many entities. It is the responsibility of entities to consider whether the legislation applies to them.
Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Section 4 Annual reports
Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918
Section 311A Annual returns of income and expenditure of Commonwealth Departments
Nothing in subsection(1) requires particulars of a payment made by a Commonwealth Department in a financial year to be included in a return if the value of the payment is less than or equal to the disclosure threshold.
The first return under this section need only contain particulars in relation to the period starting on the commencement of this section and ending on the next 30 June.
In this section:
Reporting on advertising and market research is not restricted to electoral matters. See Types of advertising for further guidance.
The reporting threshold for each year is available from the Australian Electoral Commission.
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
Section 516A Annual reports to deal with environmental matters
Content of report
Note: The Auditor‑General Act 1997 lets the Auditor‑General audit a reporter’s compliance with these requirements.
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has Section 516A Reporting Guidelines available on their website. The additional guidance helps entities decide which of their activities to report on. Sets of generic indicators have also been provided to assist agencies with ongoing monitoring of their Ecologically Sustainable Development and environmental performance.
Questions about the application of these requirements should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the case of an entity that is defined as a ‘public service care agency’, compliance with the entity’s obligations under the Carer Recognition Act 2010 is required.
A public service care agency is defined in section 4 of the Carer Recognition Act 2010 to mean an agency as defined in the Public Service Act 1999 that is responsible for the development, implementation, provision or evaluation of policies, programs or services directed to carers or the persons for whom they care.
For further information about the obligations of entities under the Carer Recognition Act 2010, see the Carer Recognition Act Guidelines on the Department of Social Services website. Questions about the application of these requirements should be directed to email@example.com.