The actions/functions performed by agencies to deliver government policies.

Administered item

Appropriation that consists of funding managed on behalf of the Commonwealth. This funding is not at the discretion of the agency and any unspent appropriation is returned to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) at the end of the financial year. An administered item is a component of an administered program. It may be a measure but will not constitute a program in its own right.


An amount of public money parliament authorises for spending with funds to be withdrawn from the CRF. Parliament makes laws for appropriating money under the Annual Appropriation Acts and under Special Appropriations, with spending restricted to the purposes specified in the Appropriation Acts.

APS employee

A person engaged under section 22, or a person who is engaged as an APS employee under section 72, of the Public Service Act 1999.

Clear read principle

Under the Outcomes arrangements there is an essential clear link between the Appropriation Bills, the Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS), the Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements, and annual reports of agencies. Information should be consistent across these and other budget documents, and where possible, duplication of reporting within the PBS should be avoided. This is called the clear read between the different documents.

Under this principle the planned performance in the PBS is to be provided on the same basis as actual performance in the annual reports covering the same period, to permit a clear read across planning and actual performance reporting documents. Agencies should take this into account in designing their performance reporting arrangements.

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act)

The CAC Act sets out the financial management, accountability and audit obligations on Commonwealth statutory authorities and companies in which the Commonwealth has at least a direct controlling interest. A list of CAC Act bodies can be found at:

Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF)

The principal operating fund from which money is drawn to pay for the activities of the Government. Section 81 of the Australian Constitution provides that all revenue raised or monies received by the Executive Government forms one consolidated revenue fund from which appropriations are made for the purposes of the Australian Government.


A person engaged by an agency, usually on a temporary basis. Treated as an employee of the agency for the purposes of program performance reporting.

Corporate governance

The process by which agencies are directed and controlled. It is generally understood to encompass authority, accountability, stewardship, leadership, direction and control.

Departmental item

Resources (assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses) that agency Chief Executive Officers control directly. This includes outsourced activities funded and controlled by the agency. Examples of departmental items include agency running costs, accrued employee entitlements and net appropriations. A departmental item is a component of a departmental program.

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act)

The FMA Act sets out the financial management, accountability and audit obligations of agencies (including Departments) that are financially part of the Commonwealth (and form part of the General Government Sector). A list of FMA Act agencies can be found at:

Financial results

The results shown in the financial statements of an agency.


Commonwealth financial assistance as defined under Regulations 3A(1) and 3A(2) of the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997.


Takes into account the planned outcome and the relative significance of the resources consumed in contributing to the achievement of that outcome.

MidYear Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO)

The MYEFO provides an update of the government's budget estimates by examining expenses and revenues in the year to date, as well as provisions for new decisions that have been taken since the Budget. The report provides updated information to allow the assessment of the government's fiscal performance against the fiscal strategy set out in its current fiscal strategy statement.

Non-ongoing APS employee

A person engaged as an APS employee under subsection 22(2)(a) of the Public Service Act 1999.

Official Public Account (OPA)

The OPA is the Australian Government's central bank account held within the Reserve Bank of Australia. The OPA reflects the operations of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Ongoing APS employee

A person engaged as an ongoing APS employee under section 22(2)(a) of the Public Service Act 1999.


Functions, services and processes performed in pursuing the objectives or discharging the functions of an agency.


The results, impacts or consequence of actions by the Commonwealth on the Australian community. They should be consistent with those listed in agencies Portfolio Budget Statements.

Outcome statement

An outcome statement articulates the intended results, activities and target group of an Australian Government agency. An outcome statement serves three main purposes within the financial framework:

  • to explain and control the purposes for which annual appropriations are approved by the Parliament for use by agencies;
  • to provide a basis for annual budgeting, including (financial) reporting against the use of appropriated funds; and
  • to measure and assess agency and program (non-financial) performance in contributing to government policy objectives.

Performance information

Evidence about performance that is collected and used systematically which may relate to appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency and the extent to which an outcome can be attributed to an intervention. Performance information may be quantitative (numerical) or qualitative (descriptive), however, it should be verifiable.

Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS)

Budget related paper detailing budget initiatives and explanations of appropriations specified by outcome and program by each agency within a portfolio.


An activity or groups of activities that deliver benefits, services or transfer payments to individuals, industry/business or the community as a whole and are the primary vehicles for government agencies to achieve the intended results of their outcome statements.

Program support

The agency running costs allocated to a program. This is funded as part of the agency's departmental appropriations.

Purchaser/provider arrangements

Arrangements under which the services of one agency are purchased by another agency to contribute to outcomes. Purchaser/provider arrangements can occur between Commonwealth agencies or between Commonwealth agencies and State/Territory government or private sector bodies.

Service charters

It is government policy that departments which provide services directly to the public have service charters in place. A service charter is a public statement about the service that a department will provide and what customers can expect from the department. In particular the service charter advises what the department does, how to contact and communicate with the department, the standard of service that customers can expect, along with their basic rights and responsibilities, and how to provide feedback or make a complaint.

Senate Estimates Hearings

Senate Standing Committees hold hearings to scrutinise the appropriation bills and any explanatory documentation tabled to accompany them. Public Servants are called as witnesses to hearings.

Specific Purpose Payments (SPP)

Commonwealth payments to the States for specific purposes in order to pursue important national policy objectives in areas that may be administered by the States.