In 2019–20, the department was appropriated $23.452m by the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Act (No.1) 2019–20. The department ended the financial year with an operating deficit of $0.055m (excluding depreciation and loss on disposal of assets). The department’s activity has been impacted by COVID-19 pandemic with some budgeted expenses not incurred or delayed; such as travel and facility hire costs associated with interstate committee activity. These savings have been offset by the continued high level of committee activity and required adjustments to the department’s leave balances as a result of changes in the government bond rate.
The department’s total operating expenses for 2019-20 was $23.817m (excluding depreciation). The department spends most of its budget on employee related expenses ($21.614m), travel ($0.506m), professional fees ($0.502m) and general office – membership fees ($0.451m). A further breakdown of the proportion of expenses is shown in the following figure:
Figure 20: Expense by type 2019–20
As at 30 June 2020, the department’s net equity was $7.599m, representing $15.951m of assets offset by $8.352m of liabilities. Most of these assets and liabilities are of a financial nature, with the largest balance being appropriation and other receivables ($12.478m). The majority of the department’s liabilities relate to employee provisions ($7.737m) and the remainder to short term payable ($0.561m) for accrued salaries and trade payables.
Entity resource statement
The entity resource statement provides additional information about the funding sources that the department had access to during the year. Appendix 1 details the resources available to the department during 2019–20 and sets out a summary of total expenses for Outcome 1.
The department’s financial performance for the last five years is demonstrated below:
Figure 21: Financial performance 2015–16 to 2019–20
The department incurred an operating loss despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly impacted costs associated with interstate committee activity. The establishment of a record number of select committees requiring secretariat support from the department has necessitated additional secretariats. The cost of these services cannot be accommodated within the current funding envelope. The department expects the unprecedented level of committee office activity to continue throughout the 2020–21 financial year.
In the short term, the department’s budget remains financially sustainable. However, should the elevated demands on the services continue, additional ongoing funding will be required.