Report on performance

Annual performance statements

I, Hamish McCormick, as the accountable authority of the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA), am pleased to present AFSA’s annual performance statements for 2018–19, as required under paragraph 39(1)(a) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). In my opinion, these annual performance statements are based on properly maintained records, accurately reflect AFSA’s performance and comply with subsection 39(2) of the PGPA Act.

Hamish McCormick
Chief Executive and Inspector-General in Bankruptcy
24 September 2019

Purpose

Our purpose is to maintain confidence in Australia’s personal insolvency and personal property securities systems through delivering fair, efficient and effective trustee and registry services, and risk-based regulation.

We deliver our purpose through our four goals, which are outlined below.

Our purpose is articulated in our corporate plan and corresponds to Outcome 1 in our Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19. Outcome 1 comprises two programs:

  • Program 1.1: Personal insolvency and trustee services
  • Program 1.2: Operation of a national register of security interests in personal property.

Our goals

Our four goals, shown in Figure 3, are the rationale for everything we do and help us to achieve government objectives. Our goals shape our business priorities, measures and strategies, which in turn inform the planning, delivery, monitoring and improvement of processes for all our work.

Goal 1: Foster confidence

We ensure the public has confidence in the systems we administer.

Goal 2: Deliver value

We are financially sustainable and operate in a commercially sound manner.

Goal 3: Effective services

We deliver our services in a manner that meets the needs of users and stakeholders.

Goal 4: Quality information

We deliver accessible, accurate and consistent information services, empowering users and stakeholders to make informed decisions.

Figure 3: AFSA’s goals, 2018–19

Results

The performance outcomes relating to the measures from the corporate plan and portfolio budget statements (pages 77–80) have been organised according to the four goals set out in AFSA’s Corporate Plan 2018–19:

  • Goal 1: Foster Confidence
  • Goal 2: Deliver value
  • Goal 3: Effective services
  • Goal 4: Quality information

We achieved nine of 12 performance measures for 2018–19 (the same as the result achieved in 2017–18). Some performance measures are new this year, or the way we have defined the performance criteria has been revised.

Our performance results in 2018–19 demonstrate that we:

  • foster confidence in the systems we regulate—our stakeholder engagements continue to drive improved outcomes, our compliance and regulatory programs continue to be well regarded, and our registers operate with a high level of availability
  • continue to deliver value through sustainable and responsible financial management, and by managing assets on behalf of creditors and the Commonwealth
  • provide effective services in our timely responses to applications in ways that meet the needs of our users
  • maintain a high standard of quality information by ensuring access to the right information to support informed decisions.

The following key has been used throughout the annual performance statements to indicate our achievements against key performance targets:

Achieved

Partially achieved

Not achieved

Foster confidence

Analysis

In 2018–19, we continued to work with stakeholders to foster confidence in the personal insolvency and personal property securities systems we regulate and administer.

We have a range of users and stakeholders with particular needs. It is important that we balance the different needs of those seeking relief from financial hardship and the needs of creditors who are affected financially. Using our time, resources and powers in a manner that strikes the right balance between these competing interests is an important way we help to preserve the overall confidence in the systems we administer and regulate.

Performance measure

AFSA builds to improve service delivery, understand our environment, and influence behaviour.

Performance criterion

Engage with stakeholders to understand emerging issues and responsibilities in our environment, define mutual expectations, and be responsive to feedback.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

Achieved

Stakeholder feedback demonstrates outcomes achieved have assisted to create an environment that minimises harm caused by significant noncompliance with the law or a failure by the regulated community to adhere to an expected standard of behaviour.

Achieved

Effective stakeholder engagement is crucial for us to deliver our services and meet our compliance objectives. It requires our ongoing commitment to establishing relationships and building good communication, understanding and trust.

In 2018–19, we held our inaugural Personal Insolvency Stakeholder Forum. Attended by representatives from a broad cross-section of industry, the forum provided an opportunity to collaborate, share information and perspectives about industry trends, emerging issues and risks, and identify ways we could improve our services. Sessions like these provide an invaluable opportunity to work cooperatively with industry groups and representative bodies to improve culture across the personal insolvency industry.

We proactively engaged with stakeholders in preparation for new debt agreement law reforms, which commenced on 27 June 2019. This provided an opportunity to share information about the legislative and system changes, and, reciprocally, for those affected by the reforms to tell us how we could support them.

We met with creditors, including senior representatives from a number of major banks, to discuss the law reform changes and to encourage their support of debtors under the new regime.

Our Registered Debt Agreement Administrator Forum in Melbourne in October 2018 provided further opportunity for detailed discussions about law reform. With over 40 practitioners attending, the forum focused on topics such as misleading and deceptive conduct, trends and key risks, and issues and challenges for the profession.

We recognise the important role that trustees play in the personal insolvency system. During the year, we delivered information sessions nationally to trustees, highlighting the benefit of using Official Receiver notices to improve outcomes in their bankrupt estates.

Under the Bankruptcy Act, a trustee of a bankrupt estate can apply to the Official Receiver for assistance to recover records. Generally, we exercise this power after a bankrupt demonstrates a pattern of noncompliance in providing the information needed to administer their estate.

In 2018–19, we used our Official Receiver powers on several occasions—accessing premises and recovering books associated with bankruptcies—to assist trustees to fulfil their duties. In one matter, we seized physical and electronic records associated with a bankruptcy to enable a trustee to progress investigations into a bankrupt’s financial affairs.

We conduct regular liaison meetings with other government agencies, such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Federal Police, who we work with on the Phoenix Taskforce—a whole-of-government approach to combatting illegal phoenix activity. Liaison meetings facilitate information and intelligence sharing, provide an opportunity to monitor and report on issues and harms, and increase awareness of compliance-related issues.

Performance measure

AFSA builds and maintains trusting and robust relationships with stakeholders to improve service delivery, understand our environment and influence behaviour.

Performance criterion

Engage with stakeholders to understand emerging issues and responsibilities in our environment, define mutual expectations, and be responsive to feedback.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

Achieved

Stakeholder feedback demonstrates outcomes achieved have enhanced information and services.

Achieved

We want to make it easier for those who are financially vulnerable to get the right information the first time. During the year, we worked with frontline service providers to clarify the support and information they need to help users to make informed insolvency decisions and comply with requirements. This has resulted in a more consistent approach to how we provide guidance and information to financial counsellors across states and territories. We visited more remote (North Queensland) stakeholders—financial counsellors, registered trustees and their staff (including the Indigenous Consumer Association Network)—to hear from them about issues they are facing, and share information about our recent initiatives and recent regulatory trends.

Feedback from our key Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) stakeholders identified that we need to understand the issues faced by small businesses in relation to the PPSR more comprehensively. We held the first Registrar’s roundtable in December 2018 as an opportunity to bring together advocates and champions for small business to highlight the barriers they face in using and understanding the PPSR. Findings will shape a program of work to support these users, including developing key resources and new materials in collaboration with stakeholders such as the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman. We are also using feedback from our PPSR training and testing environment—Discovery—to inform the restructure of information and access to the PPSR website, to better meet our users’ needs.

In 2018–19, we continued our cooperative and productive working relationship with the Attorney-General’s Department on initiatives such as the review of the Personal Property Securities Act 2009, reforms to debt agreements and proceeds of crime, and the proposal to change the default period of bankruptcy to one year. This collaborative relationship provides an opportunity to share ideas and exchange viewpoints.

Our positive engagement with international jurisdictions continued in 2018–19. Our international engagement provides an important opportunity to share our expertise and learn from others to strengthen the integrity and efficiency of our insolvency systems.

During the year, we hosted a delegation from the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights, who were interested in learning about Australia’s insolvency system and the insolvency options available. One of our senior investigators—a native speaker of Indonesian—presented an enforcement case study and effectively translated information to the delegation.

Angelina Gunawan (standing), Senior Investigator, Regulation and Enforcement, AFSA, delivers a presentation to a visiting delegation from the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights in Melbourne in February 2019.

Our Proceeds of Crime team met with officials from the Malaysian National Anti-Financial Crime Centre and related Malaysian agencies, who were established to curb tax and duties evasion, illicit outflow of funds, money laundering and associated corruption activities. The delegates—keen to learn about the operation of Australian taskforces—were given a presentation on our role under Australia’s proceeds of crime legislation, to help them build their own Malaysian model.

AFSA’s General Counsel, Andrew Sellars (second from right), and members of AFSA’s Proceeds of Crime team— John Hickson, Assistant Director, Insolvency and Trustee Services (far left), and Lisa English, Director, Insolvency and Trustee Services (far right)—welcome members of a Malaysian delegation to Canberra in January 2019.

We also participated in the International Association of Restructuring, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Professionals (INSOL) International Conference, and INSOL’s second Legislative and Regulatory Colloquium in Singapore. The conference’s theme, ‘Looking to the future: what to expect and how to prepare’, underscored the importance of the law and practice of insolvency looking ahead to anticipate the challenges of a rapidly evolving global economy.

Delegates at INSOL’s second Legislative and Regulatory Colloquium in Singapore in April 2019.

As a founding member of the International Association of Insolvency Regulators, we welcomed the opportunity to present two sessions at the 2018 annual general meeting and conference—one on the gender imbalance among insolvency practitioners and the other on regulatory trends and risks. The trends and risks identified by AFSA—‘right option, the first time’, mental health, creditor disengagement, use of data, cryptocurrency and culture—were relevant to many jurisdictions.

Performance measure

AFSA effectively discharges compliance, regulatory and decision-making responsibilities.

Performance criterion

Practical implementation of legislative reform.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

Achieved

Changes achieved as per mandated timeframes.

Achieved

On 27 June 2019, key reforms in the Bankruptcy Amendment (Debt Agreement Reform) Act 2018 commenced. The reforms seek to ensure that debt agreements are used when they are the right option to help those with unmanageable debt by providing a flexible way to come to an arrangement to settle debts without becoming bankrupt.

These reforms enhance regulation of the debt agreement regime. They improve industry standards by setting enhanced registration and practice requirements, introducing tougher penalties for wrongdoing, and granting the Inspector-General in Bankruptcy additional investigative powers to address administrator misconduct.

Implementation of the reforms was a significant undertaking, and involved consultation with key stakeholders such as the Personal Insolvency Professionals Association to develop the updates required to internal and external systems, products, forms, processes and guidance documentation. Drafting subordinate legislative instruments to support the reforms is ongoing, and we are liaising with the Attorney-General’s Department and other stakeholders to finalise this work.

While changes to our systems and processes arising from the reforms had direct implications for users of the debt agreement system, no significant problems in adjusting to the new arrangements have been identified to date.

Separate reforms for changes to the default bankruptcy period were anticipated, but did not commence in 2018–19.

Performance measure

AFSA effectively discharges compliance, regulatory and decision-making responsibilities.

Performance criterion

Stakeholder engagements ensure that our planning identifies key areas of risk of non-conformance.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

Achieved

Improved compliance by stakeholders.

Achieved

We are committed to making it easier for users of the personal insolvency system to comply with their obligations. We believe that most people want to comply with their obligations, and if they do, we can focus on targeting deliberate noncompliance.

The Personal Insolvency Compliance Program highlights our regulatory areas of interest and identifies key areas of risk of noncompliance. We develop the program annually and shape it by insights gained through our relationships with stakeholders, analysis of our own data holdings and historical trends.

We have commenced work on a new initiative—the Official Receiver Strategy—to enhance compliance outcomes. Currently, the Official Receiver function focuses predominantly on its administrative role; however, to exercise more judgement, we propose playing a more active role where we can have a positive influence on outcomes for participants in Australia’s economy.

Broad stakeholder engagement and consultation on the Official Receiver Strategy will commence in 2019–20, with the aim of publishing the strategy on the AFSA website.

To promote the compliance role of the Official Receiver, we engaged with the personal insolvency industry to raise awareness of the legislative powers that can be used to help trustees in the administration of bankruptcies. This enables registered trustees to obtain the information required to conduct effective investigation with the aim of increasing the return to creditors and improving compliance by bankrupts.

In June 2018, the PPSR Stakeholder Forum endorsed the PPSR Compliance Framework. Working groups were established to focus on branding, legislation, economic viability and data integrity, with the responsibility for these compliance areas shared with users.

During 2018–19, the working groups progressed their work to develop guidelines to help businesses comply with their responsibilities regarding PPSR copyright and logo use, and responsible PPSR branding. These guidelines will provide details of what we expect from these users and what their responsibilities are, so they can do the right thing and willingly comply.

Performance measure

AFSA effectively discharges compliance, regulatory and decision-making responsibilities.

NEW Performance criterion

Use our data holdings to prioritise, design and deliver an effective compliance program.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

N/A – new measure

Improved compliance by stakeholders.

Achieved

Delivering outcomes for our Personal Insolvency Compliance Program relies on our ability to obtain and analyse the right information to assess the compliance of specific practice areas and to identify emerging trends. By issuing practitioners with compliance information requests—targeted requests for information about a specific area—we have established an effective, but less intrusive, way of collecting important compliance information.

We engaged with insolvency practitioners to assess if the information they provide to people with unmanageable debt—either published or through direct client contact—helps those people to make informed decisions. Generally, the findings showed that insolvency practitioners use pre-established scripted responses and checklists to gather information from the client to determine the right option for the circumstance. Overall, we found that the information practitioners provided to their clients appears to be adequate, and because of our engagement, practitioners have asked that we work further with them to help clarify our expectations of what information they should provide.

Our use of compliance information requests led to the identification of the need to improve our guidance materials on referring potential offences. We will continue to work with stakeholders to ensure that they clearly understand their roles and responsibilities regarding offence referrals, and enhance our guidance materials with practical examples.

During the year, we initiated eight Inspector-General reviews where we had identified instances of legislative noncompliance by registered trustees, including overcharging and overservicing to increase remuneration. We used intelligence obtained from creditor meetings and analysis of previous inspection results to identify poor conduct by insolvency practitioners and worked to improve administrative compliance and outcomes for creditors.

In one instance, we undertook an inspection of a trustee’s administrations and issued a severe reprimand. The trustee significantly reduced their remuneration, making these funds available for distribution to creditors. We will continue to monitor the practitioner—trustee remuneration remains a focus area of our 2019–20 compliance program.

This outcome demonstrates AFSA’s firm response to concerns of overcharging and overservicing, to ensure the system operates in a fair manner for creditors, debtors and practitioners. We expect to publish a report about remuneration in 2019–20.

To improve PPSR compliance and support better outcomes for consumers, business and the community, we have worked closely with stakeholders to develop some key principles for creating and managing PPSR registrations to help prevent unlawful, misleading, unnecessary or redundant registrations, and to encourage action to ensure registrations are accurate and effective.

These principles are now contained in a new booklet, ‘Responsible PPSR registration management’, available from the business resources section of our PPSR website. Building a shared understanding of the PPSR, and how to most effectively use it, is key to maintaining data integrity. The guidelines in the booklet are for anyone making—or supporting others to make—a registration on the PPSR.

 

The cover of AFSA’s new booklet to improve PPSR compliance, released in June 2019.

Performance measure

AFSA effectively discharges compliance, regulatory and decision-making responsibilities.

NEW Performance criterion

Use our data holdings to prioritise, design and deliver an effective compliance program.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

N/A – new measure

Change in profiles of enforcement outcomes by focusing on more serious matters.

Achieved

We seek to create an environment that minimises harm caused by significant noncompliance with the law, and to support the users of our systems—including debtors, creditors, insolvency practitioners, and those who register on and search the PPSR.

We have zero tolerance for untrustworthy advisers who seek to profit from intentionally misleading people about insolvency options. We will use the tools, powers and influence that we have against such advisers, including enforcement action.

We have several enforcement tools available to respond to allegations of offences against the Bankruptcy Act 1966, contraventions of the Personal Property Securities Act 2009, and practitioner misconduct. These include issuing official cautions and show cause notices, and referring briefs of evidence to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).

When selecting matters to refer to the CDPP, we consider the wellbeing of the general public, the seriousness of the crime and the harm it could cause, and the deterrent effect of prosecution.

In 2018–19, we issued thirteen official cautions and four show cause notices to practitioners. Outcomes included deregistration of a registered trustee and conditions imposed on the registration of a registered debt agreement administrator. We prosecuted 96 people, with 83 found guilty and 79 convicted (a 95 per cent conviction rate). Sentencing outcomes included fines, good behaviour bonds, community service and imprisonment.

Another tool at our disposal is our Personal Insolvency Compliance Program, which aims to resolve systemic issues in their early stages by adopting a proactive and preventative approach wherever possible. Through stakeholder consultation, and by evaluating the information and data available to us, we establish areas of compliance to focus additional resources in the year ahead.

In 2018–19, an area of focus was the disruption of untrustworthy advisers. We have referred some matters to the CDPP for consideration of prosecution action. Despite our attempts to disrupt the operations of these untrustworthy advisers, they continue to operate in the market. We will continue to gather intelligence, monitor activities, raise community awareness and take action where possible.

Performance measure

AFSA maintains fit-for-purpose registry services that support consumers and an innovative financial sector.

NEW Performance criterion

Deliver an ongoing enhancement program that is driven by business and community feedback, and legislative reform.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

N/A – new measure

Implement registry services enhancement program objectives.

Achieved

N/A – new measure

Usability improvements to reduce burden on users.

Partially achieved

During 2018–19, we continued to enhance our registry services to ensure that we support the needs of our stakeholders and enable the objectives of legislative reform.

To implement the changes under the Bankruptcy Amendment (Debt Agreement Reform) Act 2018 as smoothly as possible, we worked closely with key stakeholders, such as the Personal Insolvency Professionals Association, to make sure that we implemented the legislative changes in a way that was informed by the views of our stakeholders.

Due to the debt agreement reform, we recently released a new version of the prescribed information form for debt agreements. We have redesigned the form to provide clearer and more comprehensive information to debtors when they are considering entering into a debt agreement. This kind of approach enables our stakeholders to more easily engage with our registry services.

Throughout our preparation for the reform commencement, we used the AFSAsandpit—a website that we use to test changes to information products and services prior to formal launch—to engage with stakeholders about enhancements to the debt agreement guidance information and forms that enable our debt agreement services. This approach was well received by stakeholders, and with the feedback we received during this process, we released useful, fit-for-purpose information prior to, and alongside, the reform commencement.

Our PPSR enhancement program of work was limited during 2018–19, as we focused on transitioning to an improved arrangement to support and maintain the application and infrastructure. This has provided us with an opportunity to understand and support the needs of our stakeholders by building our capability in co-design and iterative development.

We enhanced the PPSR experience for consumers searching motor vehicles by reducing the number of steps required to complete a search. We were responsive to industry requests and delivered Takata airbag recall information as part of a PPSR search. We worked collaboratively with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to deliver the enhancement, raising awareness of an important consumer protection issue.

We have been receptive to requests from businesses to work with them to improve the way in which they use the registry services in their operations. We have worked in collaboration with these stakeholders to understand the specific issues, discuss different solutions, and—through iterative development—deliver enhancements to our registry services. We have received positive feedback on the outcomes, and by working with key stakeholders in this way, we continue to build our capability.

Performance measure

ICT systems and services are highly reliable and available.

Performance criterion

Online registry services availability.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

Achieved – 99%

Proportion of online registry services availability greater than or equal to 99%.

Achieved – 99%

It is imperative that our registers are accurate and operate with a high level of availability, given their importance in Australia’s economy—supporting informed commercial decision-making, managing financial risk and helping in the provision of access to finance.

We operate two main registers:

  • The PPSR is a real-time online system that contains data on security interests and registrations of personal property. It is not a register of title or ownership of personal property but acts as a noticeboard of security interests.
  • The National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII) is an electronic record of all personal insolvency administrations in Australia, which can be accessed by anyone for a fee. It can be searched to check an individual’s formal insolvency status and history, which can help users to make informed business decisions.

The PPSR is readily accessible to members of the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. During 2018–19, we achieved a 99 per cent availability level for the PPSR. The activities that resulted in suspension of the PPSR during the year can be found in Table 4.

The NPII can be accessed using our Bankruptcy Register Search facility. It is also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. During 2018–19, NPII availability was 99 per cent.

Total searches of the NPII and PPSR increased in 2018–19 compared to the previous year (Figure 4).

Figure 4: NPII and PPSR searches, 2018–19

* Includes Bankruptcy Register Search online facility, business-to-government (B2G) channel, index search agents and Official Trustee’s Information Services System (OTISS).

A high level of online availability of our registers further supports accessibility of our services to users through their preferred channel—for example, availability of business-to-government services (including providing data to banks and credit reporting agencies), online services (including bankruptcy notices online, debt agreements online and annual administration returns), and online application forms such as the overseas travel application and Official Receiver notices.

Maintaining the integrity of the data we hold is important to us. We employ a range of tools to proactively manage data integrity on the PPSR—from education and awareness raising, through to exercising statutory powers. We have also recently developed a data integrity program of work that identifies known data integrity issues and provides recommendations to mitigate these.

Case study: Building mental health capability

In December 2018, AFSA, together with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA), launched new mental health training programs for practitioners who support Australians impacted by personal bankruptcy or the insolvency of a company.

The Insolvency Mental Health Awareness Program has a dual focus—to build an understanding of the mental health of people accessing bankruptcy and insolvency services, and also to help insolvency practitioners and their staff to be more aware of, and manage, their own mental health.

The training programs, developed in conjunction with Mental Health First Aid Australia, range from a 90-minute overview session designed for all insolvency professionals, to more detailed online and face-to-face courses for those who would benefit from more intensive training and knowledge.

Completion of the training counts towards the continuing professional development required by ARITA, AFSA and ASIC.

To date, more than 100 practitioners and staff have participated in the available training and skills development.

The training is not designed to make practitioners experts in the area of mental health, but to give them greater confidence and tools to identify people experiencing mental health issues—and to give those people confidence that practitioners are able to appropriately engage with them.

Deliver value

Analysis

We are committed to being cost-effective and efficient while minimising red tape.

As a cost-recovered agency, we focus on delivering value to users and stakeholders in a commercially sound manner. We regularly review our fees to ensure they are appropriate to meet the costs of delivering our services. We make this process transparent by publishing our proposed fee schedule and inviting stakeholders to provide comment.

As the custodian of property under proceeds of crime legislation, we operate in a niche area. We continue to work to reduce the cost of managing this property, and to minimise red tape in disposing of property that quickly depreciates.

Performance measure

AFSA optimises funds available from proceeds of crime for crime prevention activities.

Performance criterion

Manage the costs of securing and protecting assets to optimise returns by benchmarking supplier costs and asset value trends.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

Partially achieved

Effectively manage the value of assets and cash held in trust in accordance with relevant directions and guidelines for potential beneficiaries.

Achieved

The proceeds of crime legislation prevents criminals from being able to profit from their crimes by depriving them of the benefits gained from criminal conduct and preventing reinvestment in further criminal activity.

The Official Trustee is the custodian of restrained property and disposes of both forfeited property and property available to satisfy pecuniary penalty orders. Funds from selling property are paid to the Confiscated Assets Account, a special account administered by AFSA. Funds in that account are available for the government to make payments to support various programs, including crime prevention and law enforcement. The Minister for Home Affairs makes those spending decisions.

During 2018–19, we paid $65 million into the Confiscated Assets Account, with $47 million then paid out in program payments, which contribute to the funding of crime prevention initiatives in Australia.

During the year, we focused on improving our processes to reduce red tape in cases where assets that rapidly depreciate need to be disposed of quickly, and introduced automated reporting to provide easier and faster access to up-to-date asset values. These initiatives will help optimise returns by reducing the cost of managing assets.

Performance measure

AFSA is financially sustainable and responsible.

NEW Performance criterion

Review and update cost recovery implementation statements when required.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

N/A – new measure

Complete cost recovery implementation statement reviews and required updates by 30 June.

Achieved

Our cost recovery implementation statements provide stakeholders with information on how we implement cost recovery for the PPSR and personal insolvency and trustee services. These documents demonstrate the link between the price charged for services and cost of the effort to deliver the activity.

As a fully cost-recovered agency, it is important that we regularly review our fees and charges to ensure they adequately meet the cost of providing our services. Transparency and consultation are key features of the process to review our fees. We engage with our stakeholders and invite them to review proposed changes and provide feedback.

A review of our cost recovery implementation statements in 2018–19—including for our personal insolvency and trustee services and the PPSR—revealed that no changes were required.

Performance measure

AFSA is financially sustainable and responsible.

NEW Performance criterion

Pay clients and suppliers according to prescribed payment terms.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

N/A – new measure

Proportion of client and supplier payments made according to prescribed payment terms greater than or equal to 90%.

Achieved – 97%

Suppliers are paid in accordance with the prescribed government payment term of 30 days, ensuring confidence in the government sector, and maintaining positive client and vendor relationships. Paying our suppliers on time helps supplier cash flow, and reduces the cost of supplying goods and services to the Australian Government.

We continue to review our payment processes and supplier interactions to remain efficient and effective in making payments, contributing to the achievement of this performance measure. From 1 July 2019, the government is moving to 20-day payment terms. We are reviewing and refining our processes to ensure that we comply with this change and maintain our high payment standards in 2019–20.

Case study: Even more value added to $2 motor vehicle searches

Motor vehicle searches are the most popular searches of the PPSR. When someone is thinking about buying a second-hand car, they can do a search to check whether there is still finance owing on the vehicle and whether it has ever been written off or reported as stolen. A search of the PPSR costs $2.

In early 2018, the Australian Government issued a compulsory recall for all vehicles with defective Takata airbags, affecting an estimated one-in-four vehicles in Australia.

In September 2018, the PPSR database was updated so that search results also included information on whether the vehicle had Takata airbags and was under recall.

From September 2018 to June 2019, more than 205,000 motor vehicle searches—or about 6 per cent of all motor vehicle searches on the PPSR—have identified that the vehicle is subject to the recall.

Effective services

Analysis

To maintain confidence in the systems we administer, it is important we make high-quality decisions and provide timely responses to applications. Our aim is to provide a professional, responsible service that meets the needs of our users. A key to our success is making sure we can provide services via the channels that people want to use. For this reason, we have focused on transitioning services to digital channels and increasing our online service offerings.

Given our wide range of users, we accept that the service we provide will always be a compromise between competing requirements from these different user groups. We are working to strike the balance between supporting bankrupts at a time when they are under significant financial pressure, while also aiming for improved responses from them through a more streamlined application process.

Performance measure

AFSA delivers fair, transparent and predictable services.

NEW Performance criterion

Bankrupt estates that require administration are administered in a timely manner.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

N/A – new measure

Data obtained through profiling estates and bankrupts is effectively used to identify assets, areas for investigation, and likely income contributors.

Achieved

To ensure we are administering bankruptcies effectively and efficiently, we have undertaken a major project to redesign our most significant source of data on bankrupts and their estates—our statement of affairs form.

In consultation with our stakeholders, we’re designing a more straightforward form to capture data that easily identifies the bankruptcy administrations likely to generate a return to creditors—those with assets and potential income contributions—as well as administrations that potentially require investigation. This new form will allow us to profile bankruptcy administrations and bankrupts in a more efficient way, helping us to direct our efforts and resources towards the administrations that require it.

We expect to release our new stakeholder-endorsed bankruptcy application form (statement of affairs) online in early 2020.

Performance measure

AFSA delivers fair, transparent and predictable services.

NEW Performance criterion

Promptly conduct necessary investigations into insolvent estates and only apply further resources to those estates that are likely to result
in the recovery of funds.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

N/A – new measure

Proportion of administered estates finalised beyond six months that results in the recovery of funds or a distribution to creditors is greater than or equal to 50%.

Achieved – 63%

It’s important that we use our resources in a way that is efficient and commercially sound so that creditors benefit from the recovery of funds. To achieve this, we must identify those bankruptcy administrations—through our initial assessment processes—that would not result in the recovery of funds for creditors. We advise creditors of this three months after the person became bankrupt and finalise the administration.

Where we have assessed that we could recover funds from the bankruptcy administration, we investigate to confirm whether we need to apply further resources to the matter. This ensures that we make informed decisions about how we allocate resources in a way that benefits creditors. Many of the administrations that are more than six months old are financially complex and may have barriers stopping the quick sale of assets.

Some of these administrations remain active beyond six months, as we have an obligation to identify and refer potential offences against the Bankruptcy Act and other legislation. To foster confidence in the systems we administer, it is important that we continue to resource investigations into the financial affairs of people using bankruptcy to seek protection from creditors. These matters may result in no return to creditors.

We continue to implement changes to how we collect and use information from people who become bankrupt, to improve our analytical ability to assess where we should focus our efforts to result in the recovery of funds.

In 2018–19, the number of new personal insolvency administrations decreased by 15 per cent compared to the previous year (Figure 5).

Figure 5: New personal insolvency administrations, 2018–19

Performance measure

AFSA delivers fair, transparent and predictable services.

NEW Performance criterion

Actively manage insolvent estates to produce timely outcomes for debtors and creditors.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

N/A – new measure

Proportion of active administrations that are greater than 18 months old is less than or equal to 50%.

Not achieved – 54%

We maintain our focus on achieving timely and efficient outcomes for creditors and debtors, only just missing our target in 2018–19 (54 per cent instead of 50 per cent).

The Official Trustee administers a large number of bankruptcies that cannot generate a return to creditors from the sale of assets, as what is owed on the assets exceeds their value. We periodically review the value of assets to determine if there has been any change that could potentially result in a return to creditors if the assets were sold.

In 2018–19, we conducted a review of these active administrations, with a view to either recovering funds for the benefit of creditors or closing the administration if a return was not likely. While we closed many administrations, 54 per cent of those older than 18 months remain open because of the possibility that creditors could receive a return in the future if there is a change in asset value. A trustee may hold these assets for a minimum period of six years before having to return them to the person who is bankrupt.

We do not expect that these active administrations will reduce significantly over the next three years, but we do expect that keeping them open will lead to increased distributions to creditors.

Performance measure

AFSA delivers fair, transparent and predictable services.

NEW Performance criterion

Improvements to systems and business processes improve the timeframes in which decisions are made in response to applications.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

N/A – new measure

Proportion of decisions made within 5 days in response to applications is greater than or equal to 99%.

Achieved – 99%

When debtors decide to seek relief through formal bankruptcy options under the Bankruptcy Act, our registry service works to process the applications and register the details on the NPII.

We continued to focus on ensuring that our registry services make it easy for users to interact with us.

In 2018–19, we maintained an efficient handling of insolvency applications, supporting informed decision-making by users of the bankruptcy register service.

The redevelopment of our primary bankruptcy application form—the statement of affairs—will make it easier to assess applications and make prompt decisions that provide relief to debtors. We expect to launch the form in early 2020.

Performance measure

Service design and delivery is user-centric.

NEW Performance criterion

Use user-centric design to inform what channels we provide and the digital transformation of services.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

N/A – new measure

Improved customer satisfaction.

Achieved

N/A – new measure

Decreased customer effort.

Partially achieved

To improve the satisfaction of our users and to reduce the effort required to interact with our services, it is essential that we understand their needs and experiences when using our services. This is key to understanding how we digitally transform our services in a way that has the most positive impact on users.

 

In August 2018, we established a new website to enable us to test ideas, get feedback, and invite our users and stakeholders to be a part of our change process. The AFSAsandpit provides a platform for users to contribute to our services during the design phase—when it’s easier to consider and incorporate feedback. This increases our confidence that the service we design will meet user needs when we launch the service.

The AFSAsandpit has been an essential part of implementing a human-centred approach to our service design. It provides us with a coordinated approach and a platform to engage with our users and stakeholders, enabling us to be transparent, collaborative and responsive to user needs.

Since the AFSAsandpit was established, we’ve invited feedback on website designs, forms, online services, and guidance for law reform implementation. We’ve received more than 200 pieces of feedback and over 300 people have registered to be part of our research group—signing up to be notified whenever we publish on the site with an invitation for feedback.

In 2018–19, we broadened the number of channels used to provide information to the community. We launched into the social media space with the activation of a LinkedIn account, giving us a digital channel on which to share valuable information about our people, culture and work with the Australian public.

In the past year, we have grown our LinkedIn followers across the personal insolvency industry and progressively matured how we deliver our content, increasing the reach and engagement of our information to those who need it. We continue to explore opportunities to expand our social media presence following the activation of our AFSA Twitter account in June 2019.

We have a wide range of users who access our services. We need to ensure a balance between the needs of debtors for timely relief from unmanageable debt and adequate information to allow trustees to administer bankruptcies. We are committed to delivering user-friendly and fast services for all who need to access our services. Our aim is to make it easy for users to provide us information and interact with us through their preferred channel. One of the ways we have improved user experience is by moving our forms online.

Throughout 2018–19, we have worked to transition our paper and PDF forms online, in accordance with the whole-of-government agenda to move to digital channels. Online forms improve our data quality and make it simpler for stakeholders to provide us with information and interact with us. Almost all of our simple transactional forms are now available to users via the AFSA website. Feedback from stakeholders about the online forms has been positive.

A key aim of our project to redesign our primary bankruptcy application form was to make it easier for users to access, accurately complete and submit the form. As part of the redesign, we conducted extensive user research and worked with major stakeholder groups, financial counsellors and research participants via our AFSAsandpit.

Our user testing found that the previous form was difficult and frustrating for users, so we’re working to convert the form into plain English and reduce the complexity and duplication of questions. By making the form easier to understand and complete, we should receive applications with fewer errors and incomplete fields, reducing the effort required to complete the form and the number we return to applicants to correct.

If our services are easy to access and effective, and make it easier for users to comply with our requirements, then we deliver a better client experience and minimise the time we need to spend on administrative follow-up. It also means that we can strengthen our focus on those who are not doing the right thing.

People contacting our National Service Centre have the option to complete a client survey after their call, providing us with useful information about their satisfaction. This information helps us to identify opportunities to improve our processes, information and services. Over 92 per cent of users who completed the survey in 2018–19 strongly agree that we made it easy for them to complete their enquiry.

The online forms are a great improvement! — user feedback

Figure 6 shows that total email enquiries to our National Service Centre continued their sharp rise in 2018–19, while total phone enquiries continued to decrease. The number of complaints received by our National Service Centre about our insolvency services decreased in 2018–19 compared to 2017–18, while the number of complaints about the operation of the PPSR also decreased in 2018–19 compared to the previous year.

Figure 6: Enquiries and complaints to AFSA’s National Service Centre, 2018–19

Case study: Researching user journeys to improve offence referrals

As part of our Inspector-General in Bankruptcy role, we receive and assess referrals from insolvency practitioners—trustees and debt agreement administrators—to investigate alleged offences against the Bankruptcy Act. In 2014, we introduced pre-referral enquiries—an option for practitioners to contact us when they consider that an offence may have occurred, but it is not clear whether there is sufficient evidence to support a full offence referral.

During 2018–19, to ensure that the pre-referral enquiry and alleged offence referral processes remained effective and efficient for practitioners, their staff, and our own staff, we established a working group to research the user pain points and explore possibilities to improve the processes.

Led by our Client Experience team, we analysed qualitative and quantitative data to help us understand the journeys of the different users in the offence referral processes. Our research included data obtained by requesting feedback through our AFSAsandpit website, conducting interviews with different users, and conducting a multidisciplinary group workshop to explore the processes.

In May 2019, we finalised our findings, categorising them into three main groups. We found that:

  1. with two options available, practitioners can be confused about which process to use
  2. practitioners are having some difficulties completing the forms
  3. practitioners are often dissatisfied with the outcomes of the matters they refer.

Using the results of this research, we’ve developed a program of work to address these main findings, which we’ll continue in 2019–20. This work includes developing a simpler offence referral form, updating information in different channels to provide consistent and clear direction to trustees about the types of matters they need to refer, and sharing more information about enforcement outcomes with practitioners.

Quality information

Analysis

One of our key challenges is to ensure that people in financial hardship have access to the right information at the right time so they can make an informed decision that is most appropriate for their circumstances. Our focus is on ensuring that we—along with registered practitioners and others—position information correctly within the insolvency process.

While we are making progress in this space, we acknowledge that there is still room for us to improve our ability to provide information to users at the time they need it most. We need to find better ways of linking bankrupts, and those considering bankruptcy, with information to help build financial literacy and help them deal with their financial circumstances. We also need to ensure that those who need to interact with the PPSR have readily accessible information about the register and know how to use it.

Performance measure

AFSA improves access, consistency and quality of information services.

Performance criterion

Implement a program of review that encompasses feedback to ensure the security, reliability and integrity of information, and to promote accessibility.

2017–18 result

2018–19 target

2018–19 result

Achieved

Proportion of people who agree we provide accessible, accurate, relevant and easily understood information.

Achieved

We want to make it easier for people to access our services and information. One way that we can readily reach users is through our website, afsa.gov.au.

During the year, we released a ‘new look’ website homepage. With a contemporary design and improved layout, the new homepage provides a better user experience and makes it easier to navigate the site on mobile devices. We sought input for the new page from website users via our AFSAsandpit, and their feedback helped shape the final design.

The total number of sessions on the AFSA website increased by 6 per cent in 2018–19 compared to 2017–18, while the total number of PPSR website sessions in 2018–19 increased by 26 per cent compared to the previous year (Figure 7).

Figure 7: AFSA and PPSR website sessions, 2018–19

When someone has become bankrupt or is considering bankruptcy, it’s important that they have access to tools and information so they can understand what’s required of them, the consequences of bankruptcy, and how it will affect their lives.

We’ve continued our efforts to refine the content and structure of our website based on user feedback. In 2018–19, we developed additional online resources to help our users with debt decisions, and expanded our website content to better connect people in financial difficulty with the resources and organisations that can help them. We are also dedicated to developing simple online tools such as our new income contributions calculator. This handy tool shows users the amount of income contributions they may need to pay during bankruptcy. Client research helped shape and test this initiative.

I work for the ATO in insolvency/bankruptcy and one of the biggest questions we have is in regards to lodgments, outstanding lodgments, post-bankruptcy lodgments, and credits from lodgments while in a Part IX [debt agreement] or bankruptcy. Love what you have done to this point with your site and this will allow us to guide people to it for more information as we are restricted as a creditor as [to] what we can tell people in insolvency situations. — feedback from website user

To improve accessibility and awareness of our information and services, we launched social media channels on LinkedIn and Twitter, increasing the reach of, and engagement with, our information.

We looked for new ways to share our information with those who need it. In 2018–19, we proactively shared our information on other organisations’ platforms, such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s MoneySmart, to improve accessibility and increase our chances of getting the right information to the right people at the right time. Vulnerable debtors who are accessing financial literacy information via MoneySmart now also have access to personal insolvency information to help them make decisions about their financial circumstances.

AFSA is proud to be a partner of the Australian Government’s National Financial Capability Strategy 2018, and we look forward to continuing to work alongside other organisations who deliver financial capability and wellbeing initiatives to ensure people in financial hardship get the support they need.

We continue to issue our digital Personal Insolvency Regulator quarterly newsletter. It aims to provide insolvency professionals and stakeholders with sound guidance, helpful practical material, and news on initiatives and focus areas.

There is an increasing demand for the data we hold to help inform decision-making in the financial sector. We publish informative insolvency and personal property securities data on our website. In response to client demand, we expanded our published PPSR statistics in 2018–19 to include the types of amendments and statistics to inform users about registrations expiring after seven years of the PPSR being in operation. We further improved accessibility of our data by including easy-to-understand infographics in our statistical releases.

Our data holdings are widely sought and we continue to expand our data sharing and release through trusted user arrangements. In 2018–19, we met with key financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of Australia to discuss how our data can be used to help them analyse the economy. We shared our expert knowledge with data advisory committees, including working groups advising the government’s Data Champions Network and the National Data Commissioner on topics such as data management and data capability.

We value the work of academics and the important contribution they can make through research. Throughout the year, we consulted on, and provided data to support, academic projects on topics such as gambling, payday lenders and the experience of bankrupts.

During the year, the University of Melbourne finalised its personal insolvency research project—an in-depth study of the relationship between financial stress and Australian personal insolvency laws—to evaluate the effectiveness of these laws in practice over several years. To support our commitment to use data to shape and improve outcomes—and to facilitate robust statistical analysis—our Statistics and Economics team worked extensively with the university’s researchers and statistical consultant. As part of this cooperation, we released a large dataset containing de-identified records of nearly 29,000 individual bankruptcies—the largest data file we have ever released.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance the Statistics team at the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) … for the time and expertise they have contributed to this research project. — University of Melbourne researchers

We continued our work with PPSR stakeholders to ensure the accuracy of data held on the PPSR. The PPSR supports many people, from young people looking for a second-hand car, to the farmer or small business owner who sells goods on credit. With more than 10 million current registrations, it is critical that the data held on the PPSR is accurate. We take the view that data integrity is a shared responsibility with the broader PPSR user community.

In 2018–19, we worked closely with stakeholders to develop some key principles for creating and managing PPSR registrations and to help prevent unlawful, misleading, unnecessary or redundant registrations—and encourage action to ensure registrations are accurate and effective. Those principles are now contained in a new booklet, ‘Responsible PPSR registration management’. Through building a shared understanding of the PPSR and how to most effectively use it, we can improve and maintain data integrity.

PPSR Stakeholder Forum members join Hamish McCormick, AFSA Chief Executive (at back), Peter Edwards, Deputy Registrar of Personal Property Securities and National Manager, Client Services (standing, third from left), and AFSA staff to launch our new ‘Responsible PPSR registration management’ booklet at the June 2019 forum in Sydney.

Case study: Engaging with GovHack brings rewards

Gavin McCosker, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer of AFSA (centre), with members of the GovHack winning team Insolvit—Denver Stove (left) and Aaron Mendonsa (right).

We’ve been a sponsor and active participant in GovHack for three years, and in November 2018, we received the Best Government Participation – Australian Government award for 2018.

GovHack provides the opportunity for government to engage with the community to help solve complex problems and improve lives. One of the benefits of our participation is having our data viewed by fresh eyes—and the opportunity to invite new ways of thinking and technical solutions that we may not have thought of.

Participation also raises broader awareness of our role, and provides insights into the public sector and the work that we do.

In 2018, we sponsored two prizes, both of which were very popular with competitors:

  • Predicting noncompliance in personal insolvencies—this had 14 entries, many using advanced machine learning and data science techniques.
  • Storytelling or visualising regional personal insolvency data—this had 32 entries, many developing innovative ways to educate people on their obligations while insolvent.

We were so impressed with the winning entries for our prizes that we invited the members of one team, Insolvit, to work with us and help us move forward with their proposal. Insolvit developed a machine-learning approach to help identify people who may be at risk of noncompliance because they don’t fully understand their legal obligations. This created an opportunity for us to develop additional or alternative information products to help people be aware of what they need to do to meet their requirements. We know that most people want to do the right thing. With the help of Insolvit, we’re making it easier for people to comply.

‘It was really cool to see the government actually try to find new ways of being better, engaging with the community more, and be as technical as possible’, said Aaron Mendonsa, a member of the Insolvit team.

‘I know not all the departments are like that, but it was great to see AFSA be so progressive. I think it’s exceedingly easy for government to be complacent or even go the other way, and think every single problem needs to be solved with machine learning and data science. It was nice to see AFSA trying to find the balance.’

Report on financial performance

Overview of financial performance

Our financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2019 are in Section 6 of this report.

Our departmental activity is funded from two main sources:

  • $52.3 million of government appropriation reflecting the funding for our insolvency program
  • $43.2 million from Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) and insolvency fees.

AFSA also received $3.6 million in departmental capital appropriation for our insolvency program.

Our administered income consisted of $63.0 million from insolvency fees and charges and $73.0 million from proceeds-of-crime-related revenue.

In 2018–19, we reported a departmental operating deficit after depreciation and amortisation of $1.6 million. The drop in revenue from 2017–18 to 2018–19 is reflective of the planned decrease in PPSR fees under the cost recovery implementation statement.

Our non-financial assets increased significantly during the year, reflecting our investment in refreshing ICT infrastructure that underpins our personal insolvency and personal property securities programs. We also implemented improvements to our core business systems to accommodate the legislative changes for debt agreements that came into effect on 27 June 2019.

Table 1 sets out our 2018–19 entity resource statement. Table 2 outlines our expenses by outcome and programs in 2018–19.

Table 1: Entity resource statement, 2018–19
 

Actual available appropriation for 2018–19
$’000
(a)

Payments made 2018–19
$’000
(b)

Balance remaining
2018–19
$’000
(a) – (b)

Ordinary annual services*

Departmental appropriation**

219,325

112,595

106,730

Total ordinary annual services

219,325

112,595

 

Total available annual appropriations and payments

219,325

112,595

 

Special appropriations

Special appropriations limited by criteria/entitlement

Bankruptcy Act 1966

 

922

 

Customs Act 1901, section 208DA(3)

 

11

 

Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1987, section 34B(3)

 

2,762

 

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, section 70(1)(b)

 

387

 

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, section 100(1)(b)

 

1,344

 

Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013

 

1,075

 

Total special appropriations

 

6,501

 

Special accounts†

Opening balance

123,948

   

Non-appropriation receipts to special accounts

73,431

   

Payments made

 

52,281

 

Total special accounts

197,379

52,281

145,098

Total net resourcing and payments for entity

416,704

171,377

 

* Appropriation Act (No. 1) 2018–2019 and Appropriation Act (No. 3) 2018–2019. The amount includes prior-year departmental appropriations and retained revenue receipts under section 74 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

** Includes an amount of $3.6 million in 2018–19 for the departmental capital budget. For accounting purposes, this has been designated as ‘contribution by owners’.

† Does not include ‘special public money’ held in AFSA’s Services for Other Entities and Trust Moneys special account.

Table 2: Expenses by outcome and programs, 2018–19

Outcome 1: Maintain confidence in Australia’s personal insolvency and personal property securities systems through delivering fair, efficient and effective trustee and registry services, and risk-based regulation

Budget*
2018–19
$’000

Actual expenses
2018–19
$’000

Variation
2018–19
$’000

Program 1.1: Personal insolvency and trustee services

Administered expenses

Ordinary annual services

457

(457)

Special appropriations

3,000

6,501

(3,501)

Special accounts

44,534

52,025

(7,491)

Departmental expenses**

Departmental appropriation

55,986

53,491

(2,495)

Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year

4,429

3,685

(744)

Total for Program 1.1

107,949

116,159

(8,210)

Program 1.2: Operation of a national register of security interests in personal property

Departmental expenses

Departmental appropriation

44,706

36,664

8,042

Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year

155

4,003

(3,848)

Total for Program 1.2

44,861

40,667

4,194

Outcome 1 totals by appropriation type

Administered expenses

Ordinary annual services

457

(457)

Special appropriations

3,000

6,501

(3,501)

Special accounts

44,534

52,025

(7,491)

Departmental expenses

Departmental appropriation

100,692

90,155

10,537

Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year

4,584

7,688

(3,104)

Total expenses for Outcome 1

152,810

156,826

(4,016)

 

2017–18

2018–19

Average staffing level (number)

476

458

* Full-year budget as reported in the 2018–19 Budget.

** Departmental appropriation combines ‘ordinary annual services’ (Appropriation Acts nos. 1 and 3) and retained revenue receipts under section 74 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

Cost recovery

Under the Australian Government Charging Framework, which came into effect on 1 July 2015, and in conjunction with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines, we have adopted formal cost recovery regimes for:

  • fees and charges for personal insolvency and trustee services
  • administration of the PPSR, incorporating the provision and maintenance of an online register and service support via multiple channels.

A cost recovery implementation statement for personal insolvency and trustee services came into effect on 1 July 2015. A new cost recovery implementation statement for the PPSR came into effect on 1 August 2018. The statements are available on AFSA’s website.

Our cost recovery arrangements comply with the government’s policy and are consistent with the key principles that underpin the government’s cost recovery guidelines. Regular reviews of charges are performed to ensure the relevance of the current charging arrangement.

The Australian Government Charging Framework supports government entities to design, implement and review government charging. Several factors can influence a review, including changes within the economy, stakeholder demands and legislative amendments.