4.1 Establishment, functions and powers
The FRC is the peak body responsible for overseeing the effectiveness of the financial reporting framework in Australia. Its key functions include the oversight of the accounting and auditing standards setting processes for the public and private sectors, monitoring the effectiveness of the auditor independence regime, and advising the Minister on these matters. A summary of the FRC's statutory functions appears in Appendix C.
The FRC operates within a framework set out in Part 12 of the ASIC Act. The Act sets out core objectives for accounting and auditing standards setting in Australia:
- Accounting standards should facilitate the Australian economy by reducing the cost of capital and enabling Australian entities to compete effectively overseas, and should maintain investor confidence in the Australian economy, including its capital markets.
- Accounting and auditing standards should facilitate the Australian economy by being clearly stated and easy to understand.
The ASIC Act expressly limits the FRC's ability to become involved in the technical deliberations of the AASB and AUASB. In particular, it provides that the FRC does not have power to direct the AASB or AUASB in relation to the development, or making, of a particular standard, or to veto a standard formulated or recommended by the AASB or AUASB. This provision is designed to ensure the independence of the standard setters.
4.2 Membership and meetings
Under section 235A of the ASIC Act, the members of the FRC are appointed by the Minister on a part-time basis and hold office on terms and conditions determined by the Minister. Most members of the FRC have been appointed on the basis of nominations put forward by key stakeholder groups.
As at 30 June 2011, the FRC had 18 members. During 2010-11, five members retired while four new members were appointed. A full list of members during 2010-11, and the stakeholders who nominated them, is in Appendix B.
Three ordinary meetings of the FRC were held during 2010-11. In addition, a special meeting of available Council members was held in March to enable Council members to discuss IFRS-related issues with Sir David Tweedie during his last visit to Australia in the capacity of Chairman of the IASB.
During 2010-11, no consultants were engaged to perform work on behalf of the FRC.
4.4 Communication and consultation
The FRC uses its internet website (www.frc.gov.au) and meetings with stakeholders and other interest groups as its primary means of communication and consultation.
Following each FRC meeting, information about the decisions taken at the meeting is placed on the FRC's website. The FRC's website also includes information about the FRC's members, minutes of past FRC meetings, reports published by the FRC and its procedural rules.
In 2010-11, the Australian Government provided funding through the Treasury for the purposes of the FRC. As the FRC's Secretariat is provided by staff of the Treasury's Markets Group, expenditures in connection with the FRC and the performance of its functions are included in the Treasury's annual financial statements.
Particulars of the funding for the AASB and AUASB (including the sources of that funding) are included in the separate reports of the AASB and AUASB.
4.6 Freedom of information
Statement covering the period from 1 July 2010 to 30 April 2011
The FRC has a website, www.frc.gov.au, which describes its functions and on which the minutes of its meetings, submissions to other organisations, rules of procedure and annual reports are publicly available.
The website also provides the contact details for the FRC Secretary.
Statement covering the period from 1 May 2011 to 30 June 2011
From 1 May 2011, agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme. This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report. All information published by the FRC can be accessed from links on the home page of the FRC's website.
The FRC did not receive any applications for access to documents under the FOI Act during 2010-11.
4.7 Regulatory impact statements
The FRC did not submit any regulatory impact statements in 2010-11.