Chapter 1 - Overview

Chapter 1Overview

1.1The Senate Economics Legislation Committee (the committee) is responsible for examining the expenditure and outcomes of the Treasury Portfolio and the Industry, Science and Resources Portfolio (Industry Portfolio).

Documents referred

1.2On 7 February 2024, the Senate referred the following documents to the committee for examination and report in relation to the abovementioned portfolios:

Particulars of estimates proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2024 [Appropriation Bill (No.3) 2023–2024];

Particulars of certain proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2024 [Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2023-2024];

Particulars of proposed additional expenditure in relation to the parliamentary departments in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2024 [Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 2) 2023-2024]; and

Estimates of proposed additional expenditure for 2023–24—Portfolio additional estimates statements—Portfolios and executive departments.[1]

Additional estimates hearings

1.3To facilitate the examination, the Senate set 14–15 February 2024 as the dates for the committee to hold its 2023-24 Additional Estimates hearings, with the first and second day (until 12:30pm) set aside for the Treasury Portfolio, and the second day (from 12:30pm) for the Industry portfolio.

1.4The agencies that appeared before the committee are included in Chapter 2. Housing Australia, the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation, Productivity Commission, Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Accounting Standards Board & Auditing and Assurance Standards Board were scheduled to appear on 14 February 2024 but were released by the committee. Geoscience Australia was scheduled to appear on 15 February 2024 but was also released by the committee.

1.5Evidence was provided at the hearings by the following Ministers:

Senator the Hon Katy Gallagher, representing the Treasurer; and

Senator the Hon Tim Ayres, representing the Minister for Industry and Science, and representing the Minister for Resources.

1.6Evidence was also provided by senior executive officers of the Treasury Portfolio, led by the Secretary, Dr Steven Kennedy PSM as well as senior executive officers of the Industry Portfolio, led by Secretary, Ms Meghan Quinn PSM.

1.7At the invitation of the committee, Ms Michele Bullock, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia and Dr June Smith, Acting Chief Ombudsman and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority provided evidence at the second day hearing on Thursday, 15 February 2024.[2]

1.8The committee thanks the Ministers and officers who provided evidence and support for the committee’s estimates hearings.

1.9A verbatim record of the committee’s hearings was made by Hansard and is accessible on the committee’s estimates webpage.[3] References in this report are to the proof Committee Hansard.[4]

1.10A list of the documents tabled during the committee’s hearings is available at Appendix 1. Tabled documents are published on the committee’s estimates webpage.

Public interest immunity claims

1.11On 13 May 2009, the Senate passed an order relating to public interest immunity (PII) claims.[5] The order sets out the processes to be followed if a witness declines to answer a question. The full text of this order has previously been provided to departments and agencies and was incorporated in the Chair’s opening statement at the commencement of each hearing.

1.12The committee notes that no PII claims were made over the course of the two days.

Questions on notice

1.13In accordance with Standing Order 26(9)(a), the committee fixed 5 April 2024 as the date for receipt of answers to questions on notice (QoNs).

1.14Responses to QoNs and additional information provided to the committee are tabled in the Senate and uploaded to the committee's estimates webpage as they become available.

1.15As the committee is required to report to the Senate before responses to questions are due, this report has been prepared without reference to any answers to QoNs.

Report structure

1.16The Senate determined that the committee would report on its considerations of the 2023–24 Additional Estimates hearings on 19 March 2024.[6]

1.17This report is structured as follows:

Chapter 1 – provides an overview of the committee’s hearings;

Chapter 2 – reports on the key issues considered by the committee during the hearings; and

Appendix 1 – list the documents tabled during the committee’s hearings.

1.18This report does not seek to comprehensively analyse the evidence provided to the committee, rather the report is intended to inform the Senate of the key issues considered by the committee during the course of the hearings.


[1]Journals of the Senate, No. 96, 7 February 2024, pp. 2853 – 2854

[2]Proof Committee Hansard, 15 February 2024.

[3]Senate Economics Legislation Committee, Additional Estimates 2023-24, 8 March 2024).

[4]Proof Committee Hansard, 14 February 2024; Proof Committee Hansard, 15 February 2024.

[5]Journals of the Senate, No. 68, 13 May 2009, pp. 1941–1942.

[6]Journals of the Senate, No. 76, 19 October 2023, pp. 2170–2171