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Chapter Title - External Scrutiny
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Accounting Centre of Excellence (ACE)

Finance's Accounting Centre of Excellence draws (ACE) together accounting expertise and focuses on keeping Finance at the forefront of international governance, budgeting and accounting developments.


The accounting basis that brings items to account as they are earned or incurred (and not as cash received or paid) and includes them in financial statements in the related accounting period.


Department, executive agency (established under section 65 of the Public Service Act 1999) or statutory agency.

Agency head

Secretary of a Department, head of an executive agency or statutory agency.


Monies set aside by Parliament for a particular purpose.

Australian National Audit Office (ANAO)

Assists the Auditor-General by providing an integrated (ANAO) professional audit practice that produces audit-related products and services to its clients.

Australian Workplace Agreement (AWA)

Individual written agreement between an employer and (AWA) employee about terms and conditions of employment, made under the Workplace Relations Act 1996.


Tests functions, particularly efficiency and price of outputs, against a standardised function or set of achievements, to place it in the context of its peers.

Budget Consultative Committee

A high level committee which oversights Budget planning and processes. The Committee membership is: Secretary to the Treasury, General Manager-Budget (Finance) and Deputy Secretary-Economic (Prime Minister and Cabinet)

Business Group

Finance comprises eight Business Groups; General Managers oversee each Business Group and report to the Secretary of Finance.

Capital-use Charge

Is levied on agencies and authorities and is based on their net assets at the end of the reporting period. Funding for the Capital-use Charge is included in agencies and authorities Departmental outputs appropriations.

Certified Agreement (CA)

Collective agreements made directly between an employer and a group of employees, or between an employer and a union or unions representing employees.

Commonwealth Property Principles

Govern the ownership of property by the Government, and were endorsed by the Government in August 1996. The Principles state that the Commonwealth will only own property where the yield exceeds a set hurdle rate or where it is otherwise in the public interest to do so.

Competitive tendering and contracting (CTC)

Process of contracting out to other organisations the (CTC) delivery of Government activities previously performed by a Commonwealth agency. The activity is submitted to competitive tender, and the preferred provider is selected from bidders by evaluating offers against predetermined selection criteria.


Entity (individual, partnership or corporation) engaged to provide professional independent and expert advice or services. A consultancy contract typically defines the nature and purpose of the task to be performed but does not detail how the task is to be performed.


A party who agrees to provide supplies or services in accordance with a valid and legal contract.

Corporate governance

Process of directing and controlling agencies.


Payment by an organisation to its shareholders.


Residual interest in an entity's assets after deducting its liabilities.

Expenditure Review Committee (ERC)

This is the major ministerial committee responsible for examining all outlay proposals in light of the Government's overall fiscal strategy, advising Cabinet on Budget spending priorities and initiating reviews of outlays under individual ongoing programs. It usually includes the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Minister for Finance and Administration, and relevant Portfolio Ministers.

General government sector

The primary function of this sector is to provide public services which are mainly non-market in nature, are mainly for the collective consumption of the community, involve the transfer or redistribution of income or are financed mainly through taxes and other compulsory levies.

General Manager

General Managers oversee each of Finance's Business Groups and report to the Secretary.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Total net value added in an economy.

Management Board

Finance's peak decision-making body, establishes strategic directions and manages overall performance.

Material agencies

Those agencies that in aggregate make up at least 99 per cent of the General Government Sector's total assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses.

Net assets

Assets after deducting liabilities.

Non-ongoing employee

Employee engaged for a specified term or duration of a specified task, or for irregular or intermittent duties (in accordance with the Public Service Act 1999).


Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Ongoing employee

Employee engaged on an ongoing basis (in accordance with the Public Service Act 1999).


Outcome and output structures reflect an agency's business and enable sound performance reporting to Parliament. Outcomes reflect the Government's objectives and priorities and their community impact. Outputs contribute to outcomes, and are specified by price, quantity and quality.

Output Pricing Review

A process of evaluating the price of an agency's outputs, considered in the context of quality, quantity and timeliness issues.

Performance Indicator

Allows an agency's performance to be assessed. Targets are set in May and reported against at the end of the next financial year.

Private Financing

Refers to a form of Government procurement involving the use of private sector capital to wholly or partly fund an asset to deliver Commonwealth Government outcomes. Private financing is generally suitable for major asset and infrastructure procurements. Private financing is also often used to support, or in conjunction with, the delivery of related services.

Return on net assets

Earnings before interest and tax, assets minus liabilities.

Work and Home Life Balance

Allows staff to achieve high performance within a supportive, flexible and safe working environment, while maintaining a healthy balance between work and home.

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Appendices | Financials | Glossary
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