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Oversight of Australia’s intelligence agencies

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has today fulfilled one of its key statutory oversight responsibilities with the tabling of its review into the administration and expenditure of the Australian intelligence agencies for the 2015–16 financial year.

The Committee concluded that the six agencies making up the Australian Intelligence Community are overseeing their administration and expenditure appropriately.

On presenting the report to the Parliament, the Committee Chair, Mr Andrew Hastie MP, highlighted the changing security environment in which the agencies work. This includes ongoing challenges in relation to terrorism, communal violence, border integrity, espionage and foreign interference.

“Agencies have continued to respond to the changing security environment”, Mr Hastie said. “The Committee has previously noted its concerns about the constant resourcing pressure on agencies as they carry out their work to secure the Australian people and our interests.”

He added, “During the period, agencies benefited from additional funding under a range of new funding measures. As the Committee notes in its report, both ASIO and ASIS were provided with additional funding by the Government to support their operations and strengthen their capacity to meet strategic priorities. These measures are welcomed by the Committee as they will offset some of the resourcing pressures on the agencies. The Committee will continue to monitor the resourcing of both agencies in future reviews.”

The six agencies of the Australian Intelligence Community are the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), the Office of National Assessments (ONA), the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO), and the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO).

Through its review, the Committee received comprehensive submissions and conducted private hearings with each of the agencies. The Committee also took evidence from the Australian National Audit Office and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

Further information about the inquiry, including the Committee’s report, can be accessed via the Committee’s website at http://www.aph.gov.au/pjcis.

www.ozrural.com.au

Henry Sapiecha