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Parliamentary Questions

Question On Notice No. 2177 asked in the Legislative Council on 4 June 2019 by Hon Robin Scott

Question Directed to the: Minister for Regional Development representing the Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Industrial Relations
Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Tabled Paper No: 2895- View tabled paper
Question

(1) I refer to a letter, dated 21 September 2018, titled ‘Request for an Audit Statement on the Form 5 Report on operations for the year ending 10 October 2017 affecting M15/736’ signed by Fenni Ramli, Compliance Coordinator, Titles Compliance Branch, Resource and Environmental Compliance Division from the Department of Mines Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) and all these types of requests for the last 2 years. Can the Minister table and list all the tenement numbers within the State of Western Australia which have received a request for an Audit Statement of Form 5 Report on Operations in the last two years from the department?
(2) If no to (1), why not?
(3) Can the Minister explain the process and trigger mechanism as to how each tenement has been targeted/selected, for a request for an Audit Statement on the Form 5 Report on Operations?
(4) If no to (3), why not?
(5) What does DMIRS estimate it costs financially each tenement holder, whom receives a request for an Audit statement from DMIRS?
(6) Can the Minister explain why DMIRS is targeting only particular and select tenement holders with requests for Audit Statements on Form 5 Report on Operations, as opposed to targeting all tenement holders within the State of Western Australia?
(7) If no to (6), why not?
(8) Can the Minister explain why DMIRS is instigating these requests for Audit Statements on Form 5 Report on Operations which cause a huge administrative burden and financial burden on the Mining Industry, rather than relying and allowing any person in the mining industry whom monitors physical on ground activity and believes expenditure has not been incurred on any mining tenement to lodge an application for forfeiture and use the Wardens Court as the appropriate mechanism?
(9) If no to (8), why not?
(10) Can the Minister explain and define whom the Minister would regard and accept as ‘another suitable qualified’ person approved by the Minister other than registered as a company auditor or taken to be an auditor under part 9.2 of the Corporations Act to undertake the task of completing an Audit Statement for Form 5 on Operations?
(11) If no to (10), why not?
(12) Can the Minister table and list the names of all persons whom have been approved by the Minister within the last 2 years to conduct Audit Statements as fitting into the category of another suitably qualified person, approved by the Minister for the purposes of section 115B(3) of the Mining Act 1978?
(13) If no to (12), why not?

Answered on 6 August 2019

(1) Yes. See tabled paper no.  

(2) Not applicable

(3) The process is initiated through a randomly generated list of all Form 5 expenditure reports lodged. The list may be amended to take into account the timeframe since the holder was last audited, and/or whether expenditure reports appear inconsistent, particularly when checked against other information held by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS).

(4) Not applicable

(5) DMIRS does not estimate costs associated with an audit as this is for the tenement holder and appointed auditor to determine as part of their audit engagement.

(6) DMIRS has determined that auditing approximately 0.5% of all expenditure reports lodged annually, per month, through the audit request process is an appropriate level of compliance monitoring.

(7) Not applicable

(8) The provisions that allow third-party applications for forfeiture do not replace the obligation upon DMIRS to monitor compliance with the Mining Act 1978, specifically whether conditions of mining tenements are being met by tenement holders. DMIRS considers that regular audits are the most appropriate way to meet this specific obligation.

(9) Not applicable 

(10) Section 115B(3) of the Mining Act 1978 states that an audit statement is to be prepared and signed by:

(a) a person registered as a company auditor, or taken to be registered as an auditor, under Part 9.2 of the Corporations Act; or

(b) another suitably qualified person approved by the Minister for the purposes of this section.

In relation to (b) it would be necessary for the person to satisfy the Minister prior to the audit being commenced that they have the required skills, experience and academic qualifications to be able to conduct the audit. Any application seeking such approval by the Minister is lodged in the form of a letter with the Department as soon as possible after the tenement holder has received the letter requesting an audit. It is accepted that an Accountant who is a member of the Institute of Public Accountants, Australian Society of Certified Practising Accountants, or Institute of Chartered Accountants would be regarded/accepted as “another suitably qualified” person approved by the Minister to undertake an audit of a Form 5. The person engaged to conduct the audit and prepare and sign the audit statement must also be independent of the tenement holder; and therefore the company accountant would not be able to conduct the audit or prepare/sign the audit statement.

(11) Not applicable

(12) Yes. A delegation to approve a suitably qualified person for the purposes of preparing and signing the audit statement has been ongoing since it was originally delegated by the then Minister in his delegation instrument signed 15 April 2013.  The most recent Delegations were signed on 1 April 2019. Under delegation, three persons have been approved as suitably qualified persons for the purposes of preparing and signing an audit statement during the period specified. See tabled paper no.    ]

(13) Not applicable