Scoping studies into future ownership operations for Defence Housing Australia, Australian Hearing Services, the registry services of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Royal Australian Mint have been progressed, as announced by the Government in the 2014-15 Budget.
As part of the Government's commitment to smaller government and the efficient management of Commonwealth property, the Department of Finance also undertook a scoping study into the divestment options of six Commonwealth properties in Canberra. The Government, as part of the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2014-15, also announced that it would be conducting a scoping study on options for the future management, operations and ownership of the Intra Government Communications Network (ICON).
The Government has considered the progress and recommendations of the independent scoping studies as part of the 2015-16 Budget. Further information can be found on the Minister for Finance's media site: Small Government – Transforming the Public Sector; and Getting best value from Commonwealth properties.
- Inland Rail Market Testing Project
- Australian Hearing Services
- Future of Australian Hearing and contestability of hearing services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Registry Services
- Divestment of Commonwealth Properties in the Parliamentary Triangle
- Defence Housing Australia
- Royal Australian Mint
- Intra Government Communications Network (ICON)
The Australian Government announced on 3 May 2016 that it will deliver Inland Rail through the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) in partnership with the private sector, and that there will be a market testing process to identify opportunities for private sector involvement.
The market testing process is to be led by the Department of Finance (Finance) and jointly overseen by Finance and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
The full Terms of Reference and the details to register interest in the Inland Rail Market Testing process are available at: https://www.finance.gov.au/market-testing/Inland-Rail
The Government has announced that it will formally examine a proposal put forward by a consortium, led by the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, together with Cochlear Limited and Macquarie University, regarding the transfer of Australian Hearing into non-government ownership.
The Consortium has advised it may discuss aspects of its proposal for Australian Hearing with stakeholders and other parties. The Government has not yet made any decisions on the future ownership of Australian Hearing and any discussions the Consortium undertakes on its own behalf do not indicate any change in this position.
At the completion of the process to assess the Consortium’s proposal, the Government will consider the best way forward.
The Government’s key objective is to ensure that Australian Hearing has the strongest possible future and is in the best possible position to continue to provide high quality and valued services to Australians with a hearing loss.
2015 stakeholder consultations
Following the Government's announcement that it would defer consideration of the scoping study into Australian Hearing pending a further consultation period, information sessions with key stakeholders have been held in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
The sessions provided stakeholders with a better understanding of the implications of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) on the future delivery of government funded hearing services in Australia, including the implications for Australian Hearing. There was also an opportunity to discuss relevant findings of the scoping study into the future ownership options for Australian Hearing.
A key focus of the information sessions was how the NDIS will affect the delivery of Community Service Obligation arrangements under the Hearing Services Program, and the flow on consequences this will have for Australian Hearing regardless of its future ownership.
The outcomes of this further consultation period will help the Australian Government manage the transition of certain clients of the Hearing Services Program to the NDIS. It will also help to inform the Government's consideration of the future ownership of Australian Hearing.
The Government sought Final Bids for the right to upgrade and operate the Registry and to develop and sell value added products and services. Final Bids were due by 4pm, Sydney (Australia) Time, 29 August 2016. Following the evaluation process, the Government has decided not to engage a private operator for the ASIC registry taking into account the overall financial benefits as well as the costs to Government.
The Government, following a scoping study process, has decided to divest East Block, West Block, ANZAC Park East and ANZAC Park West, while choosing to retain the John Gorton Building and Treasury Building. Divestment will be subject to market testing and will further address the associated heritage and environmental issues, ensuring that adequate protections are in place. The sale process will also consider the best approach for divestment of each building.
The Department of Finance will continue to consult with relevant stakeholders, including the National Capital Authority, the ACT Government, the Australian Heritage Council and tenant agencies throughout the sale process.
Following consideration of the independent scoping study, the Government has decided to retain ownership of Defence Housing Australia. The Government will, however, take steps to improve Defence Housing Australia's operations to ensure it can continue to deliver quality housing and accommodation services to members of the Australian Defence Force.
The decision to reform DHA and update its business operations does not change the Government's commitment to support the housing needs of the Australian Defence Force members, who will continue to receive housing and related services in accordance with Department of Defence housing policy.
Following careful consideration of the recommendations of the scoping study, the Australian Government has announced that the Royal Australian Mint will be retained in Government ownership in its current form, because it is operating as an effective business and it is well-regarded by its international peers.
The Government is undertaking a scoping study on options for the future management, operations and ownership of the Intra Government Communications Network. The Government will consider the recommendations of the scoping study later in 2015. No decision on the future ownership of ICON will be made until this time.
ICON scoping study – Frequently asked questions
Further information & useful links
Ministerial media releases – Scoping studies
- Getting on with building the Inland Rail
- Appointment of Advisers for the Scoping Study into the Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd
- Further consultation on future ownership option for Australian Hearing
- Delivering a smaller, more rational Government
- Next phase of asset recycling strategy
- Appointment of advisers for scoping studies for Australian Hearing and Defence Housing Australia
- Appointment of Advisers for Scoping Studies for ASIC's Registry Services and the Royal Australian Mint
- Smaller, more efficient and effective Government
- Government progresses its property divestment program
- Government progresses in Intra Government Communications Network scoping study
Last updated: 19 December 2016