Letter of transmittal

National Commission of Audit logo

14 February 2014

The Hon Tony Abbott MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House

The Hon Joe Hockey MP
The Treasurer
Parliament House

Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Parliament House


Dear Prime Minister, Treasurer and Minister

In accordance with the Terms of Reference we are pleased to present the First Report of the National Commission of Audit.

This Report – Towards Responsible Government – examines the Commonwealth’s finances. We provide advice and recommendations on what we believe should be done now to ensure that spending is placed on a sustainable long-term footing. Our recommendations will help to achieve savings sufficient to deliver a surplus of 1 per cent of GDP by 2023-24. We have not considered taxation in detail which is to be reviewed through another process.

The Commission received more than 300 submissions and met with many people within Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and from the broader community. As well as these submissions and the work undertaken by the Commission itself, our Report drew on material and analysis that was in the public domain. This material is referenced in the Appendix to our Report.

The Commission has focused on the fifteen largest and fastest growing programmes which have driven the unsustainable increases in expenditure commitments.

The Commission will comment further on public sector performance, efficiency and accountability in Phase Two of our Report. However, the Commission believes that there would be further significant savings from an independent in depth review on a portfolio-by-portfolio basis.

In undertaking its review of the size and scope of government, the Commission concludes that reforming the Federation is a matter of fundamental importance. We have made recommendations to this effect which will strengthen the Federation which has served us so well.

The Commission has been assisted by a highly professional Secretariat led by Mr Peter Crone. We record our appreciation for the efforts of the talented and motivated women and men drawn from your departments who helped us prepare this Report. We also record our appreciation for those who have made submissions and given us advice.

Yours faithfully

Tony Shepherd Peter Boxall Tony Cole
A.F (Tony) Shepherd AO
Peter Boxall AO                                Tony Cole AO
Robert Fisher The Hon Amanda Vanstone
Robert Fisher AM The Hon Amanda Vanstone