I would like to recognise the high-quality and professional input from all Finance staff in delivering and achieving across a diverse range of activities during the year. In particular, I would like to highlight the following achievements that speak to the department’s purpose and priorities.
ASEAN–Australia Special Summit 2018
COMCAR successfully delivered services to visiting heads of state and heads of government attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)–Australia Special Summit 2018, held in Sydney from 15 to 19 March. COMCAR mobilised its resources to provide ground transport services to 11 ASEAN leaders, their spouses and other foreign dignitaries.
COMCAR worked closely with all ASEAN stakeholders, including the ASEAN Taskforce within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the NSW Police Force and other security agencies, airport operations staff, as well as hotel and venue managers.
Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey
The department played both a facilitating and a coordinating role in the delivery of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. Finance provided policy advice to government on the implications of implementing the postal survey, and assisted in responding to public inquiries on the survey.
Finance provided advice to government on its application of the Advance to the Finance Minister provision to fund the survey, as well as preparing the instrument allowing for the allocation of $122 million to the Australian Bureau of Statistics for the conduct of the postal survey.
The postal survey fulfilled the government’s election commitment to allow every eligible Australian to have their say on the issue of same-sex marriage.
Service Delivery Office
The Service Delivery Office is part of an Australian Public Service–wide initiative to transform the way the public service operates. The office is one of the hubs that is consolidating and standardising the delivery of the government’s corporate services under the Shared Services Program.
Since taking over responsibility for the Service Delivery Office in December 2016, Finance has systematically redesigned its operating model and modernised and revolutionised many services. This has turned the office into a more agile and efficient service centre with a 10 per cent reduction in operating costs in one year, which has been returned to client departments. The combined enhancements are delivering tangible benefits across numerous departments and are directly aligned with Finance’s purpose of helping government to manage public resources more effectively and cost-efficiently.
Finance has been sharing its experience with domestic and international colleagues of building enhanced data analytics capability to target public expenditure. We have
demonstrated how interactive data visualisations, coupled with high-performance statistical computation, can help policymakers better understand the complexity of Australia’s welfare, health and education systems and interactions with the tax system. We have also assisted international colleagues in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) gain a better understanding of the challenges associated with building institutional capability to undertake data analytics by preparing an OECD background paper and presenting to OECD senior budget officials.
Redeveloped Central Budget Management System
Implementation of the redeveloped Central Budget Management System (CBMS-R) commenced on 26 July 2017. The system was rolled out over a six-month period to accord with the Australian Government’s financial reporting requirements. CBMS now has a sustainable platform that is supported and upgradeable. It provides the capability to improve processes and frameworks, including greater opportunities for granular data analysis, enhanced reporting for Budget Estimates and more systematised reconciliation processes.
During the first 12 months of operation, CBMS-R was used to produce the 2016–17 Final Budget Outcome, the 2016–17 Consolidated Financial Statements, the 2017–18 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook and the 2018–19 Budget.
Finance has worked in partnership with key agencies to support the management and oversight of government business enterprises. In particular, great progress has been made during the year in establishing, restructuring and driving policy initiatives for Snowy Hydro Limited, WSA Co Limited (for Western Sydney Airport), ASC Pty Ltd and Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd.