This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as
introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest
does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be
consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the
Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 2)
Date Introduced: 5 February 1997
House: House of Representatives
Commencement: Royal Assent
To authorise the Minister for Finance to issue $363 000 from the
Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), in addition to funds appropriated
by the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Act
1996-97, for the operation of the Parliamentary Departments
during 1996- 97.
(a) Glossary of Terms
Appropriation - is the setting apart, assigning or
applying to a particular use or to a particular person a sum of
money. In the budget context an appropriation usually refers to an
authorisation by Parliament to draw on funds from the Consolidated
Revenue Fund (CRF).
Budget Outlays - refer to the net cost to the taxpayer
of providing government services. Appropriations/payments out of
the CRF are adjusted to take account (for example) of many
government receipts. Hence a hypothetical government program 'XYZ'
may have a total appropriation of $600 million but this may only
represent budget outlays of $500 million if the 'XYZ' receives
income of $100 million from other (non budget) sources.
Running costs - are the full current and minor capital
costs incurred by a department or agency in providing government
services for which the department or agency is responsible. For
many departments, staff salaries will represent the largest
proportion of such costs.
Borrowings - Borrowings allow agencies to bring forward
some future years appropriation to be spent in an earlier year.
This is intended to provide agencies with the flexibility to
respond to changing spending priorities; and a mechanism to meet
Borrowings are arranged either through annual appropriation or
additional estimates bills, such as is the case with this Bill,
with a consequent reduction in a future appropriation, or through
the Provision for Running Costs Borrowing (PRCB) where the
borrowing does not coincide with an appropriation Bill.
Agencies are allowed to borrow up to 10% of the total running
costs budget from any one year.
Running Costs Borrowings (PRCB) - The PRCB is a reserve
that agencies can draw on to borrow running costs funds from future
appropriation where it is not viable to wait until the passage of
the next Appropriation Bill. Agencies can borrow from the PRCB if:
there is a legitimate reason to borrow running costs; the agency
has a running costs appropriation; the borrowings are repaid in
full from some future appropriation; and sufficient funds are
Since 1982, the appropriations for the Parliamentary Departments
have been effected by a separate Bill. This followed the Fraser
Government's consideration of the Report of the Senate Select
Committee (the Select Committee) on Parliamentary Appropriations
and Staffing tabled on 18 August 1981.
Under current arrangements, the executive government maintains
control over the contents of the Bill as introduced. In theory
however, as the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill is
not for the ordinary annual services of the government, it may be
amended by the Senate.
The Public Service Act 1922 provides that the
administration of the Parliament is undertaken by five
Parliamentary Departments - the Department of the Senate, the
Department of the House of Representatives, the Joint House
Department, the Department of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff
(DPRS) and the Department of the Parliamentary Library.
The Department of the House of Representatives and the
Department of the Senate are responsible for the provision of
procedural, information and administrative services to Members and
Senators respectively. The Joint House Department performs building
management and maintenance functions associated with Parliament
House. DPRS provides reporting, information technology,
telecommunications and broadcasting services to the Parliament
through Hansard, the Parliamentary Information Systems Office
(PISO) and the Sound and Vision Office (SAVO). The Department of
the Parliamentary Library is responsible for the provision of
library, reference and research services to the Parliament.
Parliamentary Departments 1996-97 Funding
Funding across the Parliamentary Departments was to be reduced
in 1996-97 by the 2% across the board cut to government agencies,
the 1% annual efficiency dividend and a one-off cut of $10 million
to the Parliament.
Excluding provisions for borrowings and various advances to the
Speaker and the President, the sum appropriated for the
Parliamentary Departments under the Appropriation
(Parliamentary Departments) Act 1996-97 falls from $142.7
million in 1995-96 to $135.3 million for 1996-97. Allowing for
inflation, in real terms this is a cut of approximately 7.5%.
The major additional appropriations sought by this Bill relates
to running costs borrowings for the House of Representatives and
the Senate. It is stated in the Second Reading Speech to this Bill
The increases sought relate primarily to an increase in the
'Provision for Running Costs Borrowings' for each of the
Departments of the Senate and the House of Representatives from $50
000 to $200 000 to enhance their access to the borrowing
arrangements under the running cost rules.
The Minister Finance will be authorised to issue $363 000 from
the CRF for the purposes specified in the Schedule of the Bill
during 1996-97 (clause 3).
Clause 4 of the Bill allows the Minister to
appropriate additional funds from the CRF for increases in salaries
and similar payments during the year ending 30 June 1997. Amounts
issued must be reported to the Parliament.
20 February 1997
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services
This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other
sources should be consulted to determine whether the Bill has been
enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further
IRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents
with Senators and Members and their staff but not with members of
Commonwealth of Australia 1996
Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the
Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including
information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior
written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members
of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official
Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library,
This page was prepared by the Parliamentary Library,
Commonwealth of Australia
Last updated: 24 March 1997
Back to top