The Attorney-General's Department has drawn criticism for its handling of efforts to raise awareness of regulations safeguarding government decision-making from undue influence by lobbyists.
A national audit office report released on Friday found the department had not formed a strategy to raise awareness of the code of conduct regulating contact between lobbyists and government representatives.
The department has administered the code, including a register of lobbyists, since the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet relinquished responsibility for the regulations in 2018 after a machinery of government change.
An Australian National Audit Office report that year recommended the Prime Minister's Department review the appropriateness of the regulations in supporting the code's aims.
It said the department should better support the regulation of lobbyists by implementing a strategy to raise awareness of the code among lobbyists and government representatives.
The national auditor also recommended the department assess risks to compliance with the code and provide advice on whether the framework for managing compliance was adequate.
In its latest report, the audit office found the Attorney-General's Department had fallen short in acting on the recommendations since taking over responsibility for the lobbyist code.
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There was no planning for implementation at any stage in the transfer of responsibility between departments for both the code and the audit office's recommendation, the report said.
The Attorney-General's Department did not develop a strategy to raise awareness of the code, although registered lobbyists received information about some of their responsibilities.
"Limited activities were undertaken to inform lobbyists and government representatives of their compliance obligations under the code," the audit report said.
"[The Attorney-General's Department] did not develop a communications or stakeholder engagement strategy for the code.
"Communication primarily occurred through a dedicated website and through correspondence with registered lobbyist organisations, with limited public information and stakeholder engagement."
The Attorney-General's Department responded to the audit office's latest findings by agreeing to establish a plan to implement recommendations from the 2018 report, and engage senior managers in the efforts.
It said there had been challenges due to "significant" IT issues during the transfer of responsibility for the lobbyists register from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
"The department has focused its efforts during this time on ensuring there is a reliable public-facing register," it said.
The Attorney-General's Department said it had worked to support lobbyists during the transition.