The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) was founded on 23 July 2012, and is one of four parliamentary departments supporting the Australian Parliament.
The establishment of the PBO followed consideration by the Joint Select Committee on the Parliamentary Budget Office and subsequent passage of the Parliamentary Service Amendment (Parliamentary Budget Officer) Bill 2011.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer is Mr Phil Bowen PSM FCPA.
The role of the PBO is to inform the Parliament by providing independent and non-partisan analysis of the budget cycle, fiscal policy and the financial implications of proposals.
As set out in the Parliamentary Service Act 1999, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has the following functions:
- Outside the caretaker period for a general election – to prepare policy costings on request by Senators and Members of the House of Representative, with the requests and the PBO's responses to be kept confidential if so requested by the requestor.
- During the caretaker period for a general election – to prepare costings of publicly announced polices on request by authorised members of Parliamentary parties or independent members.
- To prepare responses (other than policy costings) to requests relating to the budget by Senators or Members of the House of Representatives.
- To prepare submissions to inquiries of Parliamentary committees on request by such committees.
- To conduct research and analysis of the budget and fiscal policy settings.
The PBO will ensure that it takes all reasonable measures to maintain the confidentiality of requests and related responses when directed to do so by the requestor.