On 14, 15 and 16 November 2015, leading Australian academics were invited to attend the 2015 Greater China Australia Dialogue Conference, to share their knowledge with Chinese and Taiwanese scholars and practitioners working in public sector administration.
Why from Australia?
The public administration sector is changing rapidly in a globalised world. Creating structures in the public administration sector to ensure government programs and organisations use their funds efficiently and effectively has been shown to be crucial as a means to nurture good practices within a community. In Australia, the government has developed a highly efficient model that in time has also cultivated government agencies to start generating their own funds. By introducing performance audits along with performance management practices, not unlike companies in the private sector, Australian government agencies are no longer required to fall back fully on government finances.
In rapidly expanding economies such as China or Taiwan, these auditing and management structures are largely still being established. Government agencies are still heavily reliant on government money, often without being assessed thoroughly enough. By initiating the Greater China Australia Dialogue Conference, China and Taiwan want to sharpen ties with eminent Australian academics so as to exchange knowledge on the public sector, thereby equipping Chinese and Taiwanese scholars with the tools they need to engage with public sector reform.
Professor Zahirul Hoque
Professor Zahirul Hoque, who is La Trobe Business School’s Head of Department of Accounting, as well as the Executive Director of the La Trobe University Centre for Public Sector Governance, Accountability and Performance (CPSGAP), has more than twenty years’ experience in the Public Sector. During a workshop themed ‘Value for Money’, he presented two papers on performance auditing, performance management and parliamentary oversight.
In his presentations Professor Hoque highlighted how the use of performance auditing and performance management can create a strong sense of accountability at all levels of a public sector organisation. By introducing this auditing process that independently evaluates the effectiveness and efficiency of government undertakings, parliaments can not only see how much government initiatives are costing them, but also how those initiatives benefit the country’s economy and, in turn, the community.
The positive effect of performative auditing is notable around the world, with performance auditing increasingly become international best practice. As Professor Hoque concluded in his paper, there is a lesson in this for other nations. But the road is long: developing and implementing new practices takes significant work and effort over many years. Having guidance from experts in such a situation is invaluable. For China and Taiwan, sharing knowledge with scholars like LBS’s Professor Zahirul Hoque is an important step in this process.