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Glossary

Actual available appropriation The Actual available appropriationindicates the total appropriations available to the agency for 2010–11 as at the 2011–12 Budget. It includes all appropriations made available to the agency in the year (+/- section 32 transfers, formal reductions, Advance to the Finance Minister and movements of funds). It is to be the same as the comparator figure included in the Appropriation Bills, and as such provides a comparison with the appropriation proposed for the budget year.
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 2010–11, the Budget was introduced in May 2010, and the Additional Estimates Bills were introduced in February 2011.
Administered item Appropriation that consists of funding managed on behalf of the Commonwealth. This funding is not at the discretion of the agency and any unspent appropriation is returned to the CRF at the end of the financial year. An administered item is a component of an administered program. It may be a measure but will not constitute a program in its own right.
Agency Generic term for Australian Government General Government Sector entities, including those governed by the FMA Act or CAC Act and the High Court of Australia.
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.
Appropriation An amount of public money parliament authorises for spending (i.e. funds to be withdrawn from the CRF). Parliament makes laws for appropriating money under the Annual Appropriation Acts and under Special Appropriations, with spending restricted to the purposes specified in the Appropriation Acts.
Central Agencies The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Finance and Deregulation.
Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act) The CAC Act sets out the financial management, accountability and audit obligations on Commonwealth statutory authorities and companies in which the Commonwealth has at least a direct controlling interest. A list of CAC Act bodies can be found at: finance.gov.au/financial-framework/cac-legislation/docs/CAC-body-list.pdf.
Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) The principal operating fund from which money is drawn to pay for the activities of the Government. Section 81 of the Australian Constitution provides that all revenue raised or monies received by the Executive Government forms one consolidated revenue fund from which appropriations are made for the purposes of the Australian Government.
Departmental item Resources (assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses) that agency Chief Executive Officers control directly. This includes outsourced activities funded and controlled by the agency. Examples of departmental items include agency running costs, accrued employee entitlements and net appropriations. A departmental item is a component of a departmental program.
Estimated actual expenses Details of the current year's estimated final figures as included in the Budget documentation. As the Budget is released in May each year, but the financial year does not close off until 30 June, the current year numbers that are used for comparison with Budget amounts can only be estimates.
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year Expenses not involving a cash flow impact are not included within the calculation of an appropriation. An example of such an event is goods or services received free of charge that are then expensed: e.g. ANAO audit services the ANAO does not charge for audit services however the expense must be recognised. Similarly, bad debts are recognised as an expense but are not recognised for the purpose of calculating appropriation amounts to be sought from Parliament.
Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) The FMA Act sets out the financial management, accountability and audit obligations of agencies (including Departments) that are financially part of the Commonwealth (and form part of the General Government Sector).  A list of FMA Act agencies can be found at: www.finance.gov.au/financial-framework/fma-legislation/docs/FMA-Agencies-List.pdf.
Forward Estimates Period The three years following the budget year. For example if 2011–12 is the budget year, 2012–13 is forward year 1, 2013–14 is forward year 2 and 2014–15 is forward year 3. This period does not include the current or budget year.
Measure A new policy or savings decision of the government with financial impacts on the government's: underlying cash balance; fiscal balance; operating balance; headline cash balance; net debt or net worth.  Such proposals are normally made in the context of the annual Budget, and are typically published in Budget Paper No. 2, in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) and in the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook (PEFO).
Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) The MYEFO provides an update of the government's budget estimates by examining expenses and revenues in the year to date, as well as provisions for new decisions that have been taken since the Budget. The report provides updated information to allow the assessment of the government's fiscal performance against the fiscal strategy set out in its current fiscal strategy statement.
Official Public Account (OPA) The OPA is the Australian Government's central bank account held within the Reserve Bank of Australia. The OPA reflects the operations of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Outcome An outcome is the intended result, consequence or impact of Government actions on the Australian community.
Outcome Statement An outcome statement articulates the intended results, activities and target group of an Australian Government agency.  An outcome statement serves three main purposes within the financial framework:
  • to explain and control the purposes for which annual appropriations are approved by the Parliament for use by agencies;
  • to provide a basis for annual budgeting, including (financial) reporting against the use of appropriated funds; and
  • to measure and assess agency and program (non-financial) performance in contributing to Government policy objectives.
Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) Budget related paper detailing budget initiatives and explanations of appropriations specified by outcome and program by each agency within a portfolio.
Program Activity that delivers benefits, services or transfer payments to individuals, industry and/or the community as a whole, with the aim of achieving the intended result specified in an outcome statement.
Program support The agency running costs allocated to a program. This is funded as part of the agency's departmental appropriations.
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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