The watchdog that scrutinises government spending has received nearly $62 million additional funding in Tuesday's budget - an amount Labor says falls short of the figure the agency said it needed.
Australia's national audit office, famous for its report into "sports rorts" in the community grants program, will receive $61.5 million over four years to address rising costs. Budget papers also show its staffing will grow by about 50 employees next year.
The agency will also increase the number of audit reports into the public service from 40 to 48 by 2025, according to portfolio budget statements.
Budget papers said the funding injection responded to "more complex financial data and records management arrangements, new audit controls relating to COVID-19 measures, and the need to enhance IT cyber security migration".
The funding increase follows warnings that billions of dollars in government stimulus spending could go without scrutiny after the government cut the budget of the independent office last year, a move Labor said was "revenge" for the sports rorts scandal that revealed the role of a spreadsheet colour-coded by electorate in funding decisions.
However Labor MP Julian Hill, who is deputy chair of the joint parliamentary committee of public accounts and audit, said the agency's funding fell $10.6 million short of the total additional money requested by the audit office to do its work.
The funding announced in the budget followed eight years of cuts to the audit office under the Coalition government, he said.
"There had been enormous public criticism of years of cuts to the auditor-general as the government tried to hide from scrutiny, and it should not have got to this point of crisis," Mr Hill said.
In the lead-up to the 2020 budget, Auditor-General Grant Hehir warned that years of funding cuts to the Australian National Audit Office had taken their toll, and there would be fewer performance audits in future without a cash injection.
Just 42 performance audits were completed in 2019-20, down on the target of 48. Budget papers predict the audit office will prepare 40 performance audit reports for Parliament in 2021-22, but the number would rise to 42 in 2022-23, increasing to 45 in 2023-24 and 48 in 2024-25.
Funding for both assurance audit services and performance audit services were projected to rise in the portfolio budget statements.
The parliamentary committee told Parliament before the federal budget that the Australian National Audit Office was seeking $30.7 million over five years for mandated performance statement audits following a recent pilot program. The agency had also sought $41.4 million over four years to address cost pressures and restore by 2024-25 its capacity to meet its yearly target of 48 performance audits.
The committee said there were opportunities to provide for a more sustainable ongoing funding model to the agency, an issue it was examining in its 10-year review of the legislation for the audit office.
"Finalisation of this report need not preclude a funding commitment in this budget," the committee said in its statement to Parliament.
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