Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Additional Estimates 2011–12

1.1        On 9 February 2011, the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee (the committee) was referred the following documents from the Senate:

Portfolio coverage

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

1.3        Appendix 1 lists the departments, agencies, authorities and companies under the portfolios mentioned above.

Variation of portfolios

1.4        There were a number of changes to the committee's portfolio oversight resulting from changes to the continuing order relating to the allocation of departments and agencies to committees and various changes to the Administrative Arrangements Orders.

1.5        As a result of the Administrative Arrangements Order on 14 December 2011, responsibility for the Arts and Sport was transferred to the new Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio.[2] On 8 February 2012, the allocation of departments and agencies to committees was amended by the Senate with the oversight of the Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio transferred to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee.[3]

Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements

Prime Minister and Cabinet

1.6        There were a number of significant changes to the outcomes and programs of the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio resulting from the Administrative Arrangements Orders on 19 October[4] and 7[5] and 14 December 2011.[6]

1.7        As was previously noted, responsibility for the Arts and Sport functions was transferred to the Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio. This resulted in the removal of outcomes 2 and 3 from the portfolio. The National Archives of Australia and Old Parliament House were also transferred to the Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio.

1.8        Other changes to the PM&C portfolio include:

1.9        In addition, the National Mental Health Commission was established as an executive agency within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio on 1 January 2012.

Finance and Deregulation

1.10      As was discussed in the committee's second report on annual reports for 2011, the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation was established when the Australian Reward Investment Alliance, the Military Superannuation and Benefits Board and the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Authority were merged to form a single trustee body under the Governance of Australian Government Superannuation Scheme Act 2011 with effect from 1 July 2011.

Hearings

1.11      The committee held public hearings on Monday, 13 and Tuesday, 14 February 2012. The committee took evidence from the President of the Senate, Senator the Hon John Hogg; Senator the Hon Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, representing the Prime Minister and Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Finance and Deregulation, together with officers of departments and agencies. The committee expresses its appreciation for the assistance of the President, Ministers, Departmental Secretaries and the officers who appeared before it.

1.12      The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the National Australia Day Council were released from the hearing without examination. The Office of National Assessments, Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation and the Australian River Company Ltd were dismissed prior to the hearings.

1.13      Copies of the Hansard transcripts are available on the internet at: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Senate_Estimates/fapactte/estimates/add1112/index

1.14      Further written information from departments and agencies will be tabled, as received, in the Senate. This information is available on the committee's website:
http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Senate_Estimates/fapactte/estimates/index

Programming

1.15      As in previous estimates rounds, the committee's programs including indicative timings for departments and agencies. The committee continues to find this helpful as it contributes to the smooth running of the hearing and enables senators to focus their questioning on matters within the program.

Note on references

1.16      References to the estimates Hansard are to the proof Hansard; page numbers may vary between the proof and the official Hansard transcript.

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