The Australian Government Budget process
The Budget process is designed to enable the Executive Government to formulate fiscal and policy priorities which are delivered through the Budget. The outcome of the Budget process is a set of decisions which, in order to implement, generally involve enabling Australian Government entities to spend money. It is through the Budget process that the Executive gains Parliament’s authority to spend public funds through the passing of annual appropriation Acts. The Executive Government then allocates this money to its departments of State and other Australian Government entities so they can undertake activities on behalf of the Executive Government.
The priority setting and Budget decision processes usually occur between September each year and the following May, while the spending and reporting activities are ongoing throughout the cycle. This aims to ensure that government decision-making is transparent and accountable, and based on sound financial and economic management principles.
How a Government entity spends money depends on what type of entity it is, how it obtains money in the first place and for what purpose, and how much money it will be spending.
The planned use of public money is documented through the Budget papers and agency Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS). The actual use of Commonwealth resources is reported through monthly financial statements during the Budget financial year, and at the end of the financial year through Consolidated Financial Statements (CFS), the Final Budget Outcome, and agency annual reports.