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The Auditor-General

The Auditor-General makes an important contribution to public sector accountability by providing independent assurance to the Parliament that government activities are conducted and accounted for properly and in accordance with law.

The Auditor-General’s responsibilities are to:

  • conduct and report on financial report and controls audits of the accounts and operations of the Treasurer and public sector agencies
  • conduct and report on special audits relating to matters of accountability and probity
  • examine publicly funded bodies at the request of Parliament, the Treasurer, a Minister or the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption
  • undertake examinations of the local government sector
  • examine issues referred by whistleblowers and other members of the community
  • review and report on summaries of confidential government contracts at the request of a Minister
  • lead the Auditor-General’s Department as its chief executive.

Principal legislation

The Auditor General is appointed by Parliament under the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987.   This Act is an important part of the accountability link between Executive Government, the Parliament and the taxpayers of South Australia.  As well as establishing the Auditor-General’s mandate, it prescribes the financial reporting obligations of the Treasurer and public sector agencies.


The Auditor-General's Department

The Act provides for an administrative unit to be established to assist the Auditor-General to carry out his duties and responsibilities. The Auditor-General's Department comprises both auditors and the staff who provide services such as administration, finance management, human resources management, technical research, quality assurance and ICT support.

Relationship with Parliament

The Act establishes that the Auditor-General is independent from Executive Government. The Auditor-General’s primary relationship is with Parliament.

The Parliament appoints and can remove the Auditor-General, and it determines the Auditor-General’s salary. However, the Act states that the Auditor-General is not subject to the direction of any person as to the manner in which he carries out the functions or exercises powers under the Act.

The Act also states that the Auditor-General must submit a report to Parliament each year. This report is the primary method of communication between the Auditor-General and the Parliament.

An effective working relationship exists between Parliament’s Economic and Finance Committee and the Auditor-General's Department. The Auditor-General and senior audit officers meet regularly with the Economic and Finance Committee to discuss issues relating to audit matters raised by the Auditor-General and other matters of interest to the Committee.

For further information see Public Finance and Audit Act 1987