Section 1: Department overview and resources

The Department of the Senate is the secretariat to the Australian Senate. All of its functions derive from this purpose and its work is substantially driven by the requirements of the Senate and senators. The department facilitates meetings of the Senate and its committees. It succeeds when the Senate and its committees meet in accordance with their decisions, and when senators and others receive the advice and support they need to participate in those meetings.

The department's outcome is delivered under a single program, comprising services and activities in the following areas:

  • Advice about Senate and committee proceedings
  • Secretariat support for the Senate
  • Secretariat support for committees
  • Advice and support for senators
  • Public information and parliamentary education
  • Capability, governance and accountability.

The department is one of the four parliamentary departments supporting the Australian Parliament. It is responsible to the Senate through the President of the Senate. Its administrative head is the Clerk of the Senate.

The total appropriation in the 2016-17 Budget for the department is $23.8m, comprising departmental appropriation of $22.9m and $0.9m of capital appropriation, compared with $21.5m and $0.4m in 2015-16, respectively. Figure 1 shows the trend in departmental appropriations in recent years.

The department appropriation includes one-off departmental supplementation of $3.0m in 2016-17 only; an ongoing increase of $0.07m as a result of a government decision to standardise employer contribution rates for superannuation; and a reduction of $0.01m from 2016-17 due to a government decision that Commonwealth employers would no longer meet administrative costs for members of the Public Sector Superannuation Accumulation Plan (PSSAP).

The department also received an increase in capital funding of $0.4m in both 2016-17 and 2017-18 to implement a system to receive and publish digital copies of tabled documents, and one-off capital funding of $0.2m in 2016-17 as supplementation for changes to AusTender reporting due to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

The department has third party access to special appropriations to drawdown funds for the payment of senators' salaries and certain allowances, superannuation, and some postage and freight expenses. The resourcing of these special appropriations is detailed in the statements prepared by the relevant departments.

Supplementary funding in 2016-17 of $3.0m provides welcome budgetary relief to ensure the department can continue to meet the needs of the Senate and senators. The requirement for this funding reflects continuing high levels of demand for the department's services arising from decisions of the Senate, particularly in the areas of committee activity, and the compounding effects of efficiency dividends.

Figure 1: Trends in departmental appropriation ($'000)

Budget Statements

1.1 RESOURCE STATEMENT

Table 1.1 shows the total funding from all sources available to the department for its operations and to deliver its programs and services.

The table summarises how resources will be applied by outcome.

Information in this table is presented on a resourcing (i.e. appropriations/cash available) basis, while the ‘Budgeted expenses by Outcome 1' tables in Section 2 and the financial statements in Section 3 are presented on an accrual basis.

Table 1.1: Resource statement - Budget estimates for 2016-17 as at Budget May 2016
2015-16 Estimated actual
$'000
2016-17 Estimate
$'000
Departmental
Annual appropriations (a)
Prior year appropriations available 10,853 10,361
Departmental appropriation 21,136 22,864
s 74 retained revenue receipts (b) 511 450
Departmental capital budget (c) 367 894
Total departmental annual appropriations 32,867 34,569
Total departmental resourcing 32,867 34,569
Total resourcing for Department of the Senate 32,867 34,569
2015-16 2016-17
Average staffing level (number) 155 162

Please note: All figures shown above are GST exclusive – these may not match figures in the cash flow statement.

  1. Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No.1) 2016-17.
  2. Estimated retained revenue receipts under section 74 of the PGPA Act.
  3. Please refer to Table 3.5 for further details. For accounting purposes, this amount has been designated as a 'contribution by owner'.

Table 1.1: Department of the Senate resource statement — Budget estimates for 2016-17 as at Budget May 2016 (cont.)

Third party payments from and on behalf of other entities

2015-16 Estimated actual
$'000
2016-17 Estimate
$'000
Payments made on behalf of another entity (as disclosed in the respective entity's resource statement)
Department of Finance
Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990 (s.11) 200 200
Parliamentary Superannuation Act 2004 (s.8) 2,075 2,157
Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1901 (s.66) 1,573 1,880
Australian Public Service Commission
Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 (s.7) 19,790 20,186
23,638 24,423

1.2 BUDGET MEASURES

Budget measures in Part 1 relating to the department are detailed in Budget Paper No. 2 and are summarised below.

Table 1.2: Entity 2016-17 Budget measures

Part 1: Measures announced since the 2015-16 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO)

Program 2015-16
$'000
2016-17
$'000
2017-18
$'000
2018-19
$'000
2019-20
$'000
Expense measures
Department of the Senate -
additional funding
1
Departmental expenses - 2,986 - - -
Total - 2,986 - - -
Total expense measures
Departmental - 2,986 - - -
Total - 2,986 - - -
Capital measures
Department of the Senate -
additional funding
1
Departmental capital - 375 375 - -
Total - 375 375 - -
Total capital measures
Departmental - 375 375 - -
Total - 375 375 - -

Prepared on a Government Finance Statistics (fiscal) basis. Figures displayed as a negative (-) represent a decrease in funds and a positive (+) represent an increase in funds.

Part 2: Other measures not previously reported in a portfolio statement
Program 2015-16
$'000
2016-17
$'000
2017-18
$'000
2018-19
$'000
2019-20
$'000
Expenses measures
Whole of government saving - superannuation 1
Departmental expenses - 71 68 65 62
Whole of government saving - PSSAP administration fees 1
Departmental expenses - (11) (11) (11) (11)
Total - 60 57 54 51
Total expense measures
Departmental - 60 57 54 51
Total - 60 57 54 51
Capital measures
International Trade Agreements - government procurement reforms 1
Departmental capital - 150 - - -
Total - 150 - - -
Total capital measures
Departmental - 150 - - -
Total - 150 - - -

Prepared on a Government Finance Statistics (fiscal) basis. Figures displayed as a negative (-) represent a decrease in funds and a positive (+) represent an increase in funds.

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