House of Representatives Speech-Intelligence and Security Committee Report

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s oversight of the Australian intelligence community is a key element of our national security architecture. I am therefore pleased to present the sixth review of the administration and expenditure of the Australian intelligence community by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s oversight of the Australian intelligence community is a key element of our national security architecture. I am therefore pleased to present the sixth review of the administration and expenditure of the Australian intelligence community by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

The review examined a wide range of aspects of the administration and expenditure of the six intelligence and security agencies, including the financial statements for each agency, the reorganisation and consolidation of agency structures, the impact of any recent legislative changes, their human resource management including separation rates, training, recruitment and accommodation and budget growth, and financial governance systems associated with expenditure.

With regard to human resource management, the committee found that maintaining adequate levels of language skills, particularly with expertise in local dialects, remains a challenge for a number of agencies. The committee also noted that some agencies experienced higher separation rates in 2006-07, exacerbated by a competitive job market and internal policies encouraging staff mobility.

All Australian intelligence community agencies indicated that performance management and evaluation continued to be a key service delivery priority. In some agencies this process has involved developing more user-friendly intelligence product, more stakeholder engagement programs, annual customer surveys and formal performance reviews.

The committee also noted that, in recognition of an upward trend in its litigation workload, ASIO introduced a new Legal Division and a Terrorism Litigation Advice Branch within the Investigative Analysis and Advice Division.

The committee identified the challenges associated with e-security across the Australian intelligence community. It heard that agencies are working collaboratively and diligently to maintain optimum levels of e-security in a fast paced and global threat environment.

The committee found that despite facing the challenges associated with considerably increased budgets and the rapid, large-scale recruitment of staff all agencies are currently managing expenditure appropriately. The committee is satisfied that the administration and expenditure of the six intelligence and security agencies is sound. The committee found that all agencies continue to effectively manage rapid expansion while maintaining high standards of integrity and professionalism.

On behalf of the committee I thank the heads of the Australian intelligence agencies and all those who contributed to this review, in particular, the committee secretariat: Dr Margot Kerley, Mr Robert Little, Ms Phillippa Davies and Ms Donna Quintus-Bosz.