Seventeen delegates from the Chinese National Audit Office arrived in Australia in May 2014 for a 20-week program prepared especially for them by the University of Canberra’s Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis. The program came to a conclusion with a Farewell Luncheon and awarding of certificates by the Institute’s Director, Professor Mark Evans, on Tuesday 7 October 2014.
Other speakers at the Luncheon included Minister-Counsellor (Education) Xu Xiao, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China; Professor Simon Ridings, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global),University of Canberra, on his first day in the position; Adjunct Associate Professor Ian Maclean, the Program Director; and Ms Liu Liyun, Deputy Director-General, Audit Research Institute, Chinese National Audit Office, who led the delegation.
The program objectives were to provide the CNAO with knowledge and practical experience of public sector auditing in Australia, including government accounting policies and practices, budget processes, and government financial and performance auditing. The program aimed to enable the CNAO participants to apply the new policies and practices to strengthen state audit functions in China.
Highlights of the Program included visits to Parliament House to observe hearings of a Senate Estimates Committee and the Joint Committee on Public Accounts and Audit; visits to the Australian National Audit Office including a presentation by the Deputy Auditor-General, Mr Steve Chapman, a visit to the ACT Auditor-General’ Office, during which the delegation had the opportunity to interview the ACT Auditor-General, Dr Maxine Cooper; and a week-long trip to Sydney incorporating visits to the NSW Parliament and its Public Accounts Committee, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, the Treasury and the NSW Audit Office.
The delegation also had on-campus presentations from experts and practitioners in public sector accounting, auditing including from the Department of Finance, the Department of Human Services, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian National Audit Office, the ACT Government Directorate of Community Services, CPA Australia and the University of Canberra. Staff and associates of the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, the Discipline of Accounting, Banking and Finance within the School of Information Sciences and Accounting, and elsewhere within the University of Canberra all provided specialist training.
A highlight of the Farewell Lunch was the presentation by the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis to the Chinese National Audit Office of a print of a fresco by the 14th-century Italian painter Ambrogio Lorenzetti.
The fresco, which was painted on the walls of the Council Room of the then governors of Siena, Italy, is known as the “Allegory of Good Government”. In presenting the print to Ms Liu, Professor Evans remarked that “The painting illustrates in a powerful way the values on which good governance, and our Institute, are founded. Its antiquity… reminds us that these values lie deep within the human experience”.
Another highlight of the Farewell Lunch was an eight-minute video prepared by the delegation as a souvenir of its time in Australia. The video featured hundreds of professionally-edited photographs of the delegation at work and at play, with personal messages from each delegate.
Professor Evans also presented Ms Liu with a personal letter to be delivered to the Auditor-General of China, Mr Liu Jiayi. The delegation met Mr Liu on the afternoon of their arrival in Beijing on Saturday 10th October 2014.
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