Bills Digest No. 219  1997-98 Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill 1998-99


Numerical Index | Alphabetical Index

WARNING:
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 Bill.

CONTENTS

Passage History
Purpose
Background
Main Provisions
Endnotes
Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Passage History

Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill 1998-99

Date Introduced: 12 May 1998

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Finance and Administration

Commencement: On Royal Assent.

Purpose

To appropriate $138 090 000 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for the recurrent and capital expenditure of the five parliamentary departments for the 1998-99 financial year.

Background

This Bill forms part of a three-part package relating to government finance and covers expenditure for the five parliamentary departments. The other parts of the package are:

  • Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1998-99 which covers expenditure for the ordinary annual services of the government; and
  • Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 1998-99 which covers expenditure on:
    - capital works and services
    - payments to the States and Territories
    - expenditure on any new programs not covered by other legislation.

(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.

(b) Overview

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, maintenance and catering 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.

This Bill appropriates a total of $138 090 000 for all five departments for the 1998-99 financial year.

The Schedule in the Bill deals with the allocation of expenditure for each department.(1) Expenditure for each department is then divided into running costs and other services.

(c) Impact on Departments

House of Representatives

Total underlying outlays fall from $42.673m in 1997-98 to an estimated $42.187m in the current year and are estimated to fall to $41.489m by 1999-2000.(2)

The Department notes in its 1998-99 Portfolio Budget Statement that:

The Department's running costs appropriation for 1998-99 will be $23.994m which reflects a decrease of $0.128m from last year's net appropriation of $24.122m. The decrease reflects the effect of continuation of the 1% efficiency dividend, application of a price parameter adjustment, a variation in the level of carryover, supplementation for the cost of competitive neutrality charges for the Australian Protective Service and user charges, and a reduction reflecting a transfer of the Members' travelling allowance function to the Department of Finance and Administration.
Priority will continue to be accorded to the department's procedural and advisory services in support of the Chamber and the Main Committee and to procedural, research, analytical and drafting services to support committees established by the House of Representatives and certain joint committees. Priority will also be accorded to services to Members, and to Parliamentary security.(3)

Department of the Senate

Total underlying outlays rise from $32.982m in 1997-98 to an estimated $35.792m in the current year but are estimated to fall to $33.376m by 1999-2000.(4)

The Department notes in its 1998-99 Portfolio Budget Statement that:

The proposed appropriation of $26.365m for running costs and other services should be adequate for all anticipated departmental purposes. This figure comprises $25.950m in running costs and $0.415m in other services funding for the Parliament's Citizenship Visit Program (CVP). While the figure reflects a 1% efficiency dividend deduction applicable to all Commonwealth departments, there has been no other budget cut as such and no new policy proposals requiring additional funding.
The proposed appropriation of $26.365m is $0.351m higher than the estimated appropriation for 1997-98. In general terms, this reflects deductions for the efficiency dividend ($0.240m), transfer to the Department of Finance and Administration of the Senate department's previous function in administering senators' travelling allowance ($0.054m, $0.030m in future years), and recovery of superannuation supplementation ($0.185m). Additions include adjustments and supplementation for the cost of living ($0.361m), CVP ($0.029m), new Australian Protective Service imposts ($0.147m) an increased carry-over between 1997-98 and 1998-99 ($0.270m) and minor items ($0.023m).(5)

Joint House Department

Total underlying outlays rise from $33.105m in 1997-98 to an estimated $35.958m in the current year but are estimated to fall to $32.590m by 1999-2000.(6)

Department of Parliamentary Reporting Staff

Total underlying outlays rise from $32.872m in 1997-98 to an estimated $33.273m in the current year but are estimated to fall to $32.512m by 1999-2000.(7)

The Department notes in its 1998-99 Portfolio Budget Statement that:

The principal Budget adjustments for 1998-99 are a 1% reduction in running costs by means of the annual efficiency dividend imposed by government on the majority of budget funded departments and agencies and a reduction of $0.444m in telecommunications funds as a result of the whole of the government savings hypothecated to individual departments and agencies.
A permanent reduction of $0.470m in the Forward Estimates from 1999-2000 reflects savings in telecommunications costs flowing from 'whole of government' telecommunications arrangements announced in the 1996-97 Budget. The Forward Estimates for 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 are also reduced by $0.100m and $0.791m respectively to reflect information technology infrastructure savings also flowing from 'whole of government' information technology measures.(8)

Department of the Parliamentary Library

Total underlying outlays rise from $14.810m in 1997-98 to an estimated $15.255m in the current year but are estimated to fall to $14.753m by 1999-2000.(9)

The Department notes in its 1998-99 Portfolio Budget Statement that:

DPL's running costs base for 1998-99 has fallen slightly from $15.034m in 1997-98 to $15.004m in 1998-99, but the only significant variation has been the normal 1% efficiency dividend.
Salaries will absorb 72.4% of DPL's running costs in 1998-99, with collection development accounting for 10% of running costs. A further 5.8% is allocated for information technology, which is crucial to the Library's capacity to deliver quality services in the time frames required by Senators and Members. The remaining 11.8% while notionally discretionary expenditure, is committed to mandatory charges (such as compensation premiums) and essential service support (such as training and development of staff) fundamental to DPL's future effectiveness.
The implementation of the single client service program was finalised in 1997-98 and improvements in client service continued to be made through integrated and flexible use of the combined skills of both the information and research specialists.(10)

Main Provisions

Clause 4 provides that the Minister for Finance is authorised to appropriate a total of $138 090 000 from the CRF for the purposes listed in the Schedule of the Bill. These funds amount to the estimated cost of the services provided by all five parliamentary departments for the 1998-99 financial year.

Clause 6 allows the Minister, based on determinations of the Presiding Officers, to draw additional funds from the CRF for increases in salaries and payments during the year ending 30 June 1999. Any additional amounts drawn must be reported to the Parliament.

Clauses 4 and 6 must be read with Clause 12. This provides that amounts appropriated are not to be debited from the CRF after 30 June 1999.

Clause 11 allows both the President and the Speaker to make advances of up to $300 000 each to cover unforseen, erroneously omitted or understated appropriations proposed by the Bill in relation to the Senate or the House of Representatives.

In addition, the President and the Speaker can make a joint advance totalling $1 000 000 to cover urgent and unforeseen circumstances in relation to the Parliamentary Reporting Staff, the Parliamentary Library and the Joint House Department.

Endnotes

  1. Budget Paper No. 4 1998-99, 83.
  2. Department of the House of Representatives, Portfolio Budget Statements 1998-99, 9.
  3. Ibid., 4.
  4. Department of the Senate, Portfolio Budget Statements 1998-99, 8.
  5. Ibid., 4.
  6. Joint House Department, Portfolio Budget Statements 1998-99, 17.
  7. Department of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff, Portfolio Budget Statements 1998-99, 8.
  8. Ibid: Opening Statement to President and Speaker.
  9. Department of the Parliamentary Library, Portfolio Budget Statements 1998-99, 14
  10. Ibid., 5

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Ross Kilmurray
25 May 1998
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

This paper has been prepared for general distribution to Senators and Members of the Australian Parliament. While great care is taken to ensure that the paper is accurate and balanced, the paper is written using information publicly available at the time of production. The views expressed are those of the author and should not be attributed to the Information and Research Services (IRS). Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion. Readers are reminded that the paper is not an official parliamentary or Australian government document.

IRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents with Senators and Members
and their staff but not with members of the public.

ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 1998

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 duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1998.



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