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accountable authority instructions

Instructions issued to manage the affairs of an entity to promote the efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of Commonwealth resources.

administered items

Items that are usually managed by an entity on behalf of the government. Entities do not have control over these items, which are normally related to activities governed by eligibility rules and conditions established by legislation (for example, grants, subsidies and benefit payments).

annual performance statements

Commonwealth entities report, through their annual performance statements, on the extent to which they have fulfilled the purposes they articulate at the beginning of a reporting year in their corporate plan. They must also report on performance criteria in the portfolio budget statements, portfolio additional estimates statements or other portfolio estimates statements.


Public monies the parliament authorises the Australian Government to withdraw from the consolidated revenue fund for a specified purpose.


The central web-based facility for the publication of Australian Government procurement information, including business opportunities, annual procurement plans and procurement contracts awarded.

Australian Government Office Occupancy Report

Covers office accommodation with 500 square metres or more, which is owned or leased by the Commonwealth. The report sets out the occupational density for entities against the current target of 14 square metres of office space per occupied work point.


Sets out the fiscal and economic outlook for Australia, and includes expenditure and revenue estimates for the current financial year, the budget year, and three forward financial years. It identifies the government’s social and political priorities and how they will be achieved. The Budget is usually announced in May each year.

Budget Process Operational Rules

Standing rules endorsed annually by Cabinet that set out the major administrative and operational arrangements that underlie the management of the Australian Government budget process.

The rules also identify the requirements that apply to all new policy proposals and other budget proposals, including those brought forward for consideration outside of the budget process.

carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e)

One tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent would fill the average-sized three-bedroom house.

career starter

A person completing a Year 12 certificate or equivalent by the end of the relevant year, or who has completed a Year 12 certificate within the last 24 months.

Central Advertising System

Coordinated procurement arrangement that consolidates government advertising expenditure and buying power to secure optimal media discounts on Commonwealth-wide media rates.

Central Budget Management System

The IT system used to manage the flow of financial information between Finance and Commonwealth entities to facilitate cash and appropriations management, the preparation of budget documentation, and financial reporting.

Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998

Provides a legislative framework for the conduct and reporting of fiscal policy, government decisions and Commonwealth financial statements. It aims to improve discipline, transparency and accountability in the conduct of fiscal policy.


An Australian Government agency that provides car-with-driver and other ground transport services to the Prime Minister, the Governor‑General, members of parliament, judges and international guests of government.


The Australian Government’s self-managed general insurance fund.

co-mingled recycling

A process that allows for mixed recyclables to be disposed of in a single container. Recyclable materials include glass, plastic, metal and aluminium cans and containers.

Commonwealth entity

A department of state of the Commonwealth; a department of the Parliament; an executive agency, or statutory agency, within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999.

consolidated financial statements

Statements that present the whole-of-government financial results inclusive of all Australian Government–controlled bodies, including bodies outside the general government sector, such as Australia Post and the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Consolidated Revenue Fund

Consists of all revenues and moneys raised or received by the executive government of the Commonwealth. The fund is self-executing in nature, which means that all money received by the Commonwealth automatically forms part of the fund.


A person or organisation providing professional, independent and expert advice or services. Typically the term is used to describe the application of expert skills to investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem; carry out defined research, reviews or evaluations; or provide independent advice, information or creative solutions to assist an entity in management decision-making.

corporate plan

The primary planning document of a Commonwealth entity that sets out the objectives and strategies the entity intends to pursue in achieving its purposes over at least four reporting periods. A corporate plan explains:

  • what an entity’s purposes are
  • what it will do to achieve its purposes
  • how it will know that it has achieved its purposes.

costings or cost estimates

An assessment of the financial impact of a proposed policy change. Commonwealth entities are required to provide costings for any new policy proposals and seek Cabinet endorsement. Finance must agree to these costings before they can be incorporated in a submission for Cabinet.

enhanced Commonwealth performance framework

Meets the obligation under paragraph 5(b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 to establish a performance framework across Commonwealth entities. The framework aims to improve the line of sight between what was intended and what was delivered. Corporate plans (and portfolio budget statements) and annual reports (including annual performance statements) are the bookends of the performance framework.

enterprise agreement

An employment agreement made directly between an employer and employees.

Expenditure Review Committee of Cabinet

The ministerial committee responsible for examining all proposals against the government’s overall fiscal strategy, advising Cabinet on budget spending priorities and initiating reviews of individual ongoing programs.

Final Budget Outcome

Encompasses Australian Government general government sector fiscal outcomes for the financial year and is based on external reporting standards. The Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998 requires that a Final Budget Outcome be released no later than three months after the end of the relevant financial year. The financial statements in the Final Budget Outcome are similar to those in the Budget but provide actual outcomes rather than estimates.

fiscal policy

The government’s approach to taxation and spending, both of which can affect the economy.


Dishonestly obtaining a benefit, or causing a loss, by deception or other means. Accountable authorities of Commonwealth entities must take all reasonable measures to prevent, detect and deal with fraud in accordance with section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014.

full-time equivalent

The effective number of full-time employees in an entity, where an FTE of 1.0 is the equivalent of one full-time person. Part-time employees are converted to full-time equivalents.

Future Fund

A government fund established for accumulating assets to offset future Australian Government superannuation liabilities.


An open source web content management and hosting service developed to help agencies create modern, affordable and responsive websites, making it easier to collaborate and innovate. GovCMS helps reduce the technology and compliance burden on Commonwealth entities.


A new generation platform to provide a single environment for both internal and external collaboration across government to improve public sector productivity.

government business enterprise

A Commonwealth entity or Commonwealth company that is prescribed as a government business enterprise by the rules of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

green brief

A summary of a proposal and the associated financial implications, and Finance and central agency views on a proposal to be considered by the Expenditure Review Committee of Cabinet.

Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority

Audits and reports on parliamentarians’ work expenses. Provides advice to parliamentarians and their staff on travel and work-related expenses to support them in undertaking their duties, requiring that taxpayer funds be spent appropriately and in compliance with the relevant principles and regulations.

Indigenous Procurement Policy

A mandatory procurement-connected policy to leverage the Commonwealth’s annual multibillion dollar procurement spend to drive demand for Indigenous goods and services, stimulate Indigenous economic development and grow the Indigenous business sector.

The policy has three main parts:

  • a target number of contracts that need to be awarded to Indigenous businesses
  • a mandatory amount set aside for remote contracts and contracts valued between $80,000 and $200,000
  • minimum Indigenous participation requirements in contracts valued at or above $7.5 million in certain industries.


A policy or decision of the government that affects revenues, expenses or capital.

Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook

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 taken since the Budget to allow assessment of the government’s fiscal performance against the fiscal strategy statement. The Treasurer is required to publicly release and table in parliament a Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook report by the end of January each year, or within six months after the Budget, whichever is later.

National Property Efficiency Program

Capitalises on the Commonwealth’s position as a major purchaser of leases and facilities management services in the Australian property market. The program is delivered through two key activities:

  • absorbing entities' lease requirements, where feasible, into existing vacant office accommodation (Operation Tetris)
  • ensuring that leases and other property services are delivered through coordinated procurements that will maximise the Commonwealth 's substantial purchasing power.

non-ongoing staff member

A person engaged as an employee under paragraph 22(2)(b) or (c) of the Public Service Act 1999.

ongoing staff member

A person engaged as an ongoing employee under paragraph 22(2)(a) of the Public Service Act 1999.

Operation Tetris

Requires Commonwealth entities to fill vacant leased office space in the Australian Capital Territory rather than to enter into new leases or to renew expiring leases.


A government objective in a portfolio area. Outcomes are desired results, impacts or consequences for the Australian community influenced by the actions of the Australian Government. Actual outcomes are the results or impacts actually achieved.

performance information

Evidence about performance that is collected and used systematically. It relates to appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency and the extent to which an outcome can be attributed to an intervention.

portfolio budget statements

Statements that inform parliamentarians and the public of the proposed allocation of resources to government outcomes. They also assist the Senate standing committees with their examination of the government’s Budget. Portfolio budget statements are tabled in parliament on Budget night and published as Budget-related papers.


Encompasses the whole process of acquiring goods and services. The process begins when a need is identified and a decision made on the acquisition requirements. It continues through to risk assessment, awarding of a contract, delivery of and payment for the goods and services and, where relevant, the ongoing management of the contract and consideration of disposal.


Actions taken by the government to deliver stated outcomes.

Public Service Modernisation Fund

Identifies and recommends transformation initiatives across government for investment through the Modernisation Fund announced in the 2017–18 Budget, which provided $500 million of projected savings to be reinvested in reforms ‘such as automation of public services and business re-engineering’.


In the context of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, purposes include the objectives, functions or role of a Commonwealth entity. Finance’s purposes are described in the Corporate Plan 2017–18.

red tape

A colloquial term for unnecessary regulation.

resource management framework

Governs how the Commonwealth public sector uses and manages public resources. The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 is the cornerstone of the framework.

risk management

The systematic application of policies, procedures and practices to clearly identify, analyse, evaluate, treat and monitor risks associated with identified opportunities. Risk is broadly defined as the effect of uncertainty on objectives or the impacts of unforeseen events or undesirable outcomes.


In the context of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), a legislative instrument made by the Finance Minister under sections 101 to 105 of the PGPA Act prescribing matters:

  • required or permitted by the PGPA Act, or
  • necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to the PGPA Act.

The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 supports the operation of the PGPA Act.

Service Delivery Office

Provides corporate transactions services to other Australian Government agencies. The office is one of six hubs under the Shared Services Program, which is an APS-wide initiative that is transforming the way the public service operates by consolidating and standardising the delivery of corporate services through designated shared services hubs.

Shared Services Program

A whole of government initiative that is transforming the way the public service operates by consolidating and standardising the delivery of corporate services through designated shared services hubs.


Embedding a culture of continuous improvement in Finance to anticipate and respond to change, identify opportunities to do things better, build our capabilities and invest in our relationships.

transformation plan

Sets out the Department's internal approach to its transformation agenda with four focus areas: people, stewardship, making business better and integrated business planning.