About 20 registered IT assets owned by West Australian Government agencies - including desktop computers and laptops - could not be located at the state's auditor-general's request.
The Western Australian office of the Auditor-General released its report [PDF] into the asset registers for the 2008-9 financial year this week.
Agencies have to keep a register of so-called ‘attractive items' - computers, cameras, DVD players, electrical tools and other portable items worth $5,000 or more.
"While agencies can decide whether or not to keep a register of assets worth less than $5,000, the TI [Treasurer's Instruction] requires them to protect those assets if they are ‘portable and attractive'," according to the auditor.
The auditor examined registers maintained by 16 agencies in the state.
"Overall, the agencies we examined had established suitable registers and procedures to record and track their attractive assets," the auditor said.
"However, we found some weaknesses in practice."
These included outdated, incomplete or inaccurate records and "inadequate monitoring of losses and discrepancies."
Out of the 660 assets audited from agency registers, 52 - about eight percent - could not be located and had not been disposed of - raising concerns that may have been stolen.
"IT equipment such as desktop computers and laptops comprised 40 percent of the items that could not be found," the report said.
Data and communications devices were also unable to be located, the report said.
At four agencies, "more than 10 percent of items" listed on their registers could not be found. A "small number of items" couldn't be located at nine other agencies.
But at three agencies, all items were located. The identities of those agencies wasn't disclosed.
"Thirteen of the 16 agencies [audited] met our expectations for checking attractive assets and records," the auditor said.