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Accrual accounting

System of accounting where items are brought to account and included in the financial statements as they are earned or incurred, rather than as they are received or paid.

Accumulated depreciation

The aggregate depreciation recorded for a particular depreciating asset.

Administered items

Expenses, revenues, assets or liabilities managed by agencies on behalf of the Commonwealth.  Agencies do not control administered items, but administer them according to legislation or other directives of Government/Ministers.  Administered expenses include grants, subsidies and benefits.  Administered revenues include taxes and other levies collected by agencies on behalf of the Commonwealth but not available for use by those agencies.

Additional Estimates

Where amounts appropriated at Budget time are insufficient, Parliament may appropriate more funds to Portfolios through the Additional Estimates Acts.  This is the Additional Estimates process.

Additional Estimates Bills or Acts

These are Appropriation Bills 3 and 4, and a separate Bill for the Parliamentary Departments Appropriations (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No 2).  These Bills are introduced into Parliament after the Budget Bills.  In 2007-08, the Budget was introduced in May 2007, and the Additional Estimates Bills were introduced in February 2008.


An authorisation by Parliament to spend moneys from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Annual appropriation

Two appropriation Bills are introduced into Parliament in May and comprise the Budget for the financial year beginning 1 July.  Further Bills are introduced later in the financial year as part of the additional estimates.  Parliamentary departments have their own appropriations.


Future economic benefits controlled by an entity as a result of past transactions or other past events.

Capital expenditure

Expenditure by an agency on capital projects, for example purchasing a building.

Consolidated Revenue Fund

Section 81 of the Constitution stipulates that all revenue raised or money received by the Commonwealth forms the one consolidated revenue fund (CRF).  The CRF is not a bank account.  The Official Public Account reflects most of the operations of the CRF.

Departmental items

Assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses which are controlled by the agency in providing its outputs.  Departmental items would generally include computers, plant and equipment assets used by agencies in providing goods and services and most employee expenses, supplier costs and other administrative expenses incurred.


Apportionment of an asset's capital value as an expense over its estimated useful life to take account of normal usage, obsolescence, or the passage of time.

Deprival asset valuation

Values non-financial assets according to the current cost of their replacement.  That is, non-financial assets are valued at the lowest cost of replacing the gross 'service potential' of those assets.

Equity or net assets

Residual interest in the assets of an entity after deduction of its liabilities.


Total value of all of the resources consumed in producing goods and services or the loss of future economic benefits in the form of reductions in assets or increases in liabilities of an entity.

Fair value

Valuation methodology:  The amount for which an asset could be exchanged, or a liability settled, between knowledgeable and willing parties in an arms length transaction.  The fair value can be affected by the conditions of the sale, market conditions and the intentions of the asset holder.

General Government Sector

In accordance with international Government Finance Statistics conventions, the Commonwealth general government sector includes all departments and other administrative units, statutory authorities and other entities that are predominantly funded, directly or indirectly, by the Commonwealth Government.


Future sacrifices of economic benefits that an entity is presently obliged to make to other entities as a result of past transactions or other past events.


An indicator of where the impact of a Government directed activity occurs is used where an output or administered item is provided to specific locations.


A decision by the Cabinet or Ministers that has been finalised since the 2008-09 Budget and has resulted in a change in expenditure in the years 2008-09 to 2011-12.

New works

The construction of new items (assets).

Operating result (net surplus or deficit)

Equals revenue less expense.


The results, impacts or consequences of actions by the Australian Government on the Australian community.

Output groups

The aggregation of outputs.


The goods and services produced by agencies for the government, external organisations or individuals.  Outputs include goods and services for other areas of government external to the agency.


Total value of resources earned or received to cover the production of goods and services.

Special Account

Balances existing within the CRF, that are supported by standing appropriations (Financial Management and Accountability (FMA) Act 1997, ss.20 and 21).  Special Accounts allow money in the CRF to be acknowledged as set-aside (hypothecated) for a particular purpose.  Amounts credited to a Special Account may only be spent for the purposes of the Special Account.  Special Accounts can only be established by a written determination of the Finance Minister (s.20 FMA Act) or through an Act of Parliament (referred to in s.21 of the FMA Act).

Special Appropriations (including Standing Appropriations)

An amount of money appropriated by a particular Act of Parliament for a specific purpose and number of years.  For special appropriations the authority to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund does not generally cease at the end of the financial year.
Standing appropriations are a sub-category consisting of ongoing special appropriations - the amount appropriated will depend on circumstances specified in the legislation.

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