Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Additional Estimates 2015-16

1.1        On 4 February 2016 the Senate referred the following to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee (the committee) for examination and report:

Portfolio coverage

1.2        The committee has responsibility for examining the expenditure and outcomes of the following:

Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2015-16

1.3        The Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (PAES) 2015-16 for the PM&C Portfolio and the Finance Portfolio were tabled in the Senate on 4 February 2016.[3]

1.4        The PAES for the PM&C Portfolio contain additional estimates statements for the Department of the PM&C and the Digital Transformation Office,[4] advising that these are the only agencies in the portfolio affected by changes in resourcing since the publication of the Portfolio Budget Estimates 2015-16.[5]

1.5        The Finance Portfolio PAES advise that additional estimates and variations were being sought by the Department of Finance and the Australian Electoral Commission.[6]


1.6        The committee held public hearings on 8, 9, 12 and 22 February 2016. The parliamentary departments were examined on 8 February, the PM&C Portfolio (excluding Indigenous matters) was examined on 8 and 22 February, the Finance Portfolio was examined on 9 February, and the Cross Portfolio Indigenous Matters hearing was held on 12 February 2016.

1.7        The committee took evidence from the President of the Senate, Senator the Hon Stephen Parry, and the following Ministers accompanied by officers of relevant departments and agencies:

1.8        The committee expresses its appreciation for the assistance of the President, Ministers and the officers who appeared.

1.9        Over the course of the hearings, the committee took evidence from the following departments, agencies and statutory officers:

Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio
Finance Portfolio
Cross Portfolio Indigenous Matters

1.10      The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman was released without examination prior to its appearance time on 8 February 2016.

Questions on notice and Hansard transcripts

1.11      The committee has set 1 April 2016 as the date for the return of answers to questions on notice arising from the Additional Estimates 2015-16 hearings. This information, together with the Hansard transcripts of proceedings of hearings, are published on the committee's website at:

Note on references

1.12      References in this report to the estimates Hansard are to the proof Hansard; page numbers may vary between the proof and the official Hansard transcript.

Committee conclusion

1.13      The committee held an additional hearing for the first time in this Parliament. This additional hearing was required to complete examination of outstanding areas within the PM&C Portfolio. In accordance with procedural order of continuing effect No. 9A, this hearing could have been held on the Friday of the week in which the committee held its estimates hearings. However, the Cross Portfolio Indigenous hearing was scheduled for the Friday of the estimates week in accordance with the program for estimates hearings agreed by the Senate on 10 November 2015.[7] Given this constraint, the committee needed to schedule the additional hearing at a later date and 22 February 2016 was agreed.

1.14      As a result of these scheduling issues, the committee has agreed to examine opportunities to consolidate its estimates program.

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