Accountability to the Minister for Trade
EFIC is part of the Australian Government's Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio and the Minister for Trade is responsible for EFIC.
The Minister for Trade has a number of powers in relation to EFIC, as set out in the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Act 1991 (Cth) ("EFIC Act"). The Minister for Trade 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, EFIC is not required to obtain ministerial approval or directions to enter into a particular transaction. Details of Ministerial directions are published in EFIC's annual reports, which are tabled in the Federal Parliament.
EFIC is required to provide the Minister for Trade with a Statement of Intent in response to the Minister's Statement of Expectations. These statements express and formalise the Minister for Trade'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 also required to notify the Minister for Trade 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 or the Minister for Finance.
The Minister for Trade, or the Minister for Trade's representative responds to questions about EFIC from members of the Federal Parliament and to parliamentary orders relating to EFIC.
Appointment of Members of the Board
The Minister for Trade is responsible for EFIC and appoints members of the Board who are all non-executive directors.
The Board, following consultation with the Minister, appoints the Managing Director who is also a meber of the Board and is a full-time employee.
The Minister for Trade is represented on the Board by the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, or his alternate.
The Board is rigorous in ensuring that a Board member does not participate in discussions or decisions where there is, or may be, a conflict between that member’s interests and the interests of EFIC or one of our customers. EFIC maintains a register of Board members’ disclosed interests.
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 or the Minister for Trade's representative, responds to questions about EFIC from members of Federal Parliament and to parliamentary 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.