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A department's annual report is one of the most important means by which the department discharges its accountability to members of Parliament and the public they represent. It is the key resource for the financial review of the performance and current operations of each department conducted by select committees under the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives.

A good annual report can be a powerful way to promote better understanding and debate about how resources and powers were used, what was achieved in comparison to what was planned, and how to improve future performance. By doing so, it has the potential to create greater public trust and confidence in the work of the department.

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