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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.

Advances to the Finance Minister

Funding provisions enable urgently required funding allocations to be issued to entities.


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 Investigations Standards

The Australian Government Investigations Standards set the minimum standard of conduct for entities conducting investigations into the programs and legislation they administer. The Standards are designed so entities may apply them and maintain a minimum quality standard within investigations. All non-corporate Commonwealth entities must keep to these standards.

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.

Australian Public Service (APS) Employee Census

The Australian Public Service Employee Census is a voluntary survey in which APS employees may share their views about the APS. The survey is conducted annually and collects information on a range of workforce issues including health and wellbeing, employee engagement, performance management, leadership, and general impressions of the APS.


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.

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 agencies

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Treasury and the Department of Finance.

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.

Commonwealth Procurement Rules

Rules representing the government policy framework under which Commonwealth entities undertake their own procurement in line with both Australia’s international obligations and good practice. They enable entities to design processes that are robust and transparent and instil confidence in the Australian Government’s procurement.

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.


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 Commonwealth entity

A corporate Commonwealth entity is a body corporate that has a separate legal personality from the Commonwealth, and can act in its own right exercising certain legal rights such as entering into contracts and owning property. Most corporate Commonwealth entities are financially separate from the Commonwealth.

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, and 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.

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

Full-time equivalent is a point-in-time measure of the hours an employee is scheduled to work (irrespective of whether they are on paid or unpaid leave) converted to a proportion of 1 with adjustments for part-time employees. See below for calculation of FTE.


Hours an employee is scheduled to work in the fortnight, divided by number of full-time hours in a fortnight (75).

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.


Finance's collaboration and communication platform for government.

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.


A single online point of discovery for information about all government grants. Individuals and organisations are able to register to receive notifications on grant opportunities relevant to them. Information on grant opportunities is presented to the public in a standard and consistent format.

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.

Near Real-time Funds

Automation of a daily payment function to enable Commonwealth entities to access their appropriations on a near real-time basis.

non-corporate Commonwealth entity

Non-corporate Commonwealth entities are legally and financially part of the Commonwealth. Examples include departments of state, parliamentary departments or listed entities. Non-corporate Commonwealth entities are established under power that comes from the Constitution, usually through legislation and the exercise of executive power. They form part of the executive government, are accountable to the parliament, and are subject to the PGPA Act, which further clarifies the financial and corporate governance arrangements of these bodies.

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.


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.

Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Outlook

The Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998 (the Charter) provides for the Secretary to the Treasury and the Secretary of the Department of Finance to release publicly a Pre‑election Economic and Fiscal Outlook report within 10 days of the issue of the writs for a general election.

The purpose of the report is to provide updated information on the economic and fiscal outlook. The information in the report takes into account, to the fullest extent possible, all government decisions and all other circumstances that may have a material effect on the economic and fiscal outlook in existence before the issue of the writs for an election.


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.


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.

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.

Shared Services Transformation Initiative

Part of the Government’s vision for a more efficient and sustainable public sector. The initiative will transform the way the Australian Public Service operates by reforming and standardising traditional operating models to enable a one-APS way of doing business.


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.

Underlying cash balance

The underlying cash balance is a cash measure that shows whether the AustralianGovernment has to borrow from financial markets to cover its operating activities and net investments in non-financial assets used in the provision of goods and services.