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A Guide to Appropriations - November 2013

How Parliamentary Authority is Provided

First Imprest Supply Act

  • The Imprest Supply (First for [financial year x]) Act provides the sole parliamentary financial authority (other than PLAs and MYAs already in force) from the start of a financial year on 1 July until the date the Appropriation ([financial year x] Estimates) Act comes into force (usually in August).
  • The Imprest Supply (First for [financial year x]) Bill is introduced on the same day in June as the second reading of the Appropriation ([financial year x-1] Supplementary Estimates) Bill is to take place, and the second readings of both Bills are debated together. All stages of an Imprest Supply Bill may be taken on the same day.

Appropriation (Estimates) Act and the Main Estimates

  • The Appropriation ([financial year x] Estimates) Bill is introduced on Budget day (and must be introduced by 31 July unless the House resolves otherwise). The Minister of Finance delivers the Budget statement in moving the second reading of this Bill, and the Budget debate is the second reading debate on this Bill.
  • The Estimates stand referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee and may be referred to other select committees, but Appropriation Bills themselves are not referred to select committee.
  • Select committees have 2 months from Budget day to report to the House on their examination of the Estimates. Standing Orders require the Estimates debate (the committee of the whole House stage of the Appropriation ([financial year x] Estimates) Bill) and the third reading debate on that Bill to be completed between 2 and 3 months after Budget day.

.......plus Second Imprest Supply Act

  • The third reading of the Appropriation ([financial year x] Estimates) Bill is customarily debated with the second reading of the Imprest Supply (Second for [financial year x]) Bill. The latter Bill provides parliamentary financial authority for expenses or capital expenditure approved by Cabinet or under authority from Cabinet since the Estimates were finalised.
  • From the date the Appropriation ([financial year x] Estimates) Act and the Imprest Supply (Second for [financial year x]) Act come into force, these 2 Acts between them provide parliamentary financial authority through to the end of the financial year.

Appropriation (Supplementary Estimates) Act and Supplementary Estimates

  • Expenses or capital expenditure that were not in the Estimates and thus not appropriated in the Appropriation ([financial year x] Estimates) Act and are incurred under imprest supply need to be included in the Supplementary Estimates for financial year x.
  • In recent years, the Appropriation ([financial year x] Supplementary Estimates) Bill has been introduced on Budget day. The Supplementary Estimates stand referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee which typically reports back to the House on them about mid-June to enable the Appropriation ([financial year x] Supplementary Estimates) Bill to be debated and passed before the end of the financial year.
  • From the date the Appropriation ([financial year x] Supplementary Estimates) Act comes into force, it alters the parliamentary financial authority provided by the Appropriation ([financial year x] Estimates) Act.
  • The Imprest Supply (Second for [financial year x]) Act remains in force until the end of financial year x to provide interim parliamentary authority for any expenses or capital expenditure approved for that financial year since the Supplementary Estimates were finalised.

Financial Review

  • After the financial statements of the government for financial year x have been published and presented to the House, an Appropriation ([financial year x] Financial Review) Bill is introduced.
  • The purpose of this Bill is to seek:
    • Parliamentary confirmation of any Orders in Council transferring resources between output expense appropriations made under s26A PFA 1989.
    • Parliamentary confirmation of any approvals to expenses or capital expenditure in excess of appropriation given by the Minister of Finance under s26B PFA 1989.
    • Parliamentary validation of any other unappropriated expenses or capital expenditure for financial year x or any previous financial year.
  • The only debate on the Appropriation ([financial year x] Financial Review) Bill is the financial review debate (the committee of the whole House stage of the Bill). The financial review debate considers:
    • the financial position as reflected in the report of the Finance and Expenditure Committee on the annual financial statements of the government for financial year x
    • the financial reviews by select committees of the performance in financial year x and the current operations of individual departments and Offices of Parliament, and
    • reviews of reports on non-departmental appropriations.
  • Standing Orders require the financial review debate to be held no later than 31 March.
  • Standing Orders also require the House each year to hold a separate debate on select committees' financial reviews of Crown entities, public organisations, and State enterprises.

The diagram below shows how the cycle of bills fit together.

How the cycle of bills fit together

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