Accountability to the Minister for Trade and Competiveness
EFIC is part of the Australian Government's Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio and the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness is responsible for EFIC.
The Minister for Trade and Competitiveness has a number of powers in relation to EFIC, as set out in the the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Act 1991 (Cth) ("EFIC Act"). The Minister may give written directions to EFIC in respect of the performance of its functions or the exercise of its powers if satisfied that it is in the public interest that directions be given. The Minister may also approve, or direct, entry into transactions on the National Interest Account. In relation to the Commercial Account, the Minister cannot require EFIC to obtain ministerial approval for a particular transaction or direct EFIC to enter into a particular transaction. Details of Ministerial directions must be published in EFIC's Annual Report.
Any budgetary appropriation in respect of EFIC that relates to the National Interest Account is effected through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and is scrutinised by the Federal Parliament.
EFIC is required to provide the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness with a Statement of Intent in response to the Minister's Statement of Expectations. These statements express and formalise the Minister's expectations of EFIC and the Board's intention to meet these expectations.
As a Commonwealth authority under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (Cth) ("CAC Act"), EFIC is required to notify the Minister of certain significant events such as the acquisition or disposal of interests in companies or other ventures. The EFIC Board must also keep the Minister informed about EFIC's operations and provide any information required by the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness or the Minister for Finance and Deregulation.
Appointment of Members of the Board
The Minister responsible for EFIC, the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness, appoints members of the Board, except the Managing Director.
The Board, following consultation with the Minister, appoints the Managing Director (although the current Managing Director’s appointment has been ‘grandfathered’ from a previous Ministerial appointment).
The majority of the Board is from the private sector, with the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, or his alternate, representing the Australian Government.
Accountability to the Australian Parliament
Powers and functions
EFIC's functions and general powers are set out in the EFIC Act in sections 7 and 11 respectively.
Each year, EFIC prepares an Annual Report that is tabled in Parliament.
The Minister for Trade and Competitiveness, or the Minister's representative, responds to questions asked by members of Parliament about EFIC and to Federal Parliament orders relating to EFIC.
The Auditor General, through the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), is EFIC's external auditor and is responsible for auditing EFIC's accounts. The ANAO has contracted Ernst & Young to carry out the external audit work on its behalf.
In addition, the ANAO conducts other audits which may cover EFIC. Those audit reports are tabled in Parliament.
EFIC has contracted Deloitte to carry out its internal audit function.
Contingent liability and loan ceilings
Regulations of the Parliament, made under the EFIC Act, set limits on the total value of risk EFIC may assume on the Commercial Account in various product categories. Click here for more information about the EFIC Act.