External factors that may have an impact on the ALRC’s ability to achieve its outcome include the Government’s reform agenda and timelines, which influence both the number and scope of inquiries that are referred to the ALRC, and the rate at which the recommendations made in completed inquiries are implemented.
The Attorney-General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP, has indicated that he will refer a further two inquiries to the ALRC, meaning that the ALRC will work on four inquiries during 2013–14 as opposed to the usual two inquiries. On 7 June 2013, the Attorney-General, announced a new inquiry for the ALRC—a review of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), releasing draft Terms of Reference for community consultation—and a review into Legal Barriers for People with Disability for which he has also requested community consultation on the draft Terms of Reference. The Attorney-General’s Department has provided the ALRC with additional resources for 2013–14 to cover the costs of these additional inquiries. Managing these concurrent inquiries will require careful allocation of resources across the ALRC.
Identifying additional productivity savings is a challenge for the ALRC—a small single outcome agency—as costs continue to increase over the forward years with no increase in the ALRC’s appropriation. There is limited ability to make further savings if the ALRC work program is to continue at its current level.